Institute for Human Rights, Department of Law, Åbo Akademi University
The Institute for Human Rights at Åbo Akademi University was founded in 1985 as the first academic human rights institute in Finland. The Institute has 15 staff members and is located within the Department of Law. Its main tasks are to promote research, provide education and disseminate information on the protection of human rights. The Institute coordinates the Finnish Graduate School in Human Rights Research, which provides doctoral training in the field of human rights in cooperation with three other universities in Finland and four Nordic human rights institutes/centres. The Institute offers a two-year Master’s Degree Programme in International Human Rights Law as well as short courses for human rights professionals. In addition, the Institute is involved in exchange programmes with African universities, including the Centre for Human Rights at University of Pretoria. The Institute has, as a partner to the FP7 project on Detection Technologies, Terrorism, Ethics and Human Rights (FP7-SEC-2007-1), been in charge of a WP on Legal Norms: counterterrorism, detection technologies, and pre-entry screening in immigration controls. From 2005 to 2011 the Institute provided support to the UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights while countering terrorism. This was made possible through financial support from the foreign ministries in Finland, Norway, the Netherlands, Germany and Switzerland. In addition, research conducted at the Institute has been funded by a number of agencies, including the EU Fundamental Rights Agency, European Commission, International Labor Organization, the Finnish NGO Foundation for Human Rights, Finnish Ministry for Foreign Affairs and Ministry for Social Affairs and Health, Council of Europe and Academy of Finland.
Professor Elina Pirjatanniemi holds the Chair in Constitutional and International Law. She is specialised in criminal and environmental law and human rights. She is Director of the Åbo Akademi University Institute for Human Rights, Head of the Department of Law and Director of the Finnish Graduate School in Human Rights Research. She is a member of several research networks, including COST Action ISO702, ‘The Role of the EU in UN Human Rights Reform’ and the ESF networks ‘Beyond Territoriality: Globalisation and Transnational Human Rights Obligations’ and ‘Rights to a Green Future, Uncertainty, Intergenerational Human Rights and Pathways to Realisation’.
Dr. Viljam Engström is specialised in international institutional law. His 2009 Ph.D. thesis ‘Understanding Powers of International Organisations’ includes a case study of the UN Human Rights Committee. He is active in COST Action IS1003 International Law Between Constitutionalization and Fragmentation within the framework of which he has done research on the issue of human rights expertise. His recent publications cover issues of international institutional law, constitutionalism and EU law.
Ms. Katarina Frostell is project manager at the Åbo Akademi University Institute for Human Rights. She takes care of the financial planning and administrative matters of the FRAME programme at the Institute for Human Rights.
Dr Mikaela Heikkilä is specialized in international criminal law and victim participation in criminal trials. Her research interests also involve legal sources and witness protection. She has recently finalized her doctoral thesis ?Coping with International Atrocities through Criminal Law: A Study into the Typical Features of International Criminality and the Reflection of these Traits in International Criminal Law? (2013).
Ms. Maija Mustaniemi-Laakso is completing her doctoral dissertation on extraterritorial human rights obligations. She has also done research on trafficking in children for the EU Fundamental Rights Agency. She is a member of the expert network that in 2011 adopted the Maastricht Principles on the Extraterritorial Obligations of States in the area of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.
Ms. Eleonora Del Gaudio has a law degree from University La Sapienza of Rome and a Master’s Degree in international human rights law from the Åbo Akademi University. She completed the master programme with a thesis on detention of minors within the EU common asylum law framework. She has previously worked as regional project coordinator with NGOs operating in Sudan and Ethiopia. Her research interests include child rights protection, refugee law, EU law, migration law and the right to health.