The Ludwig Boltzmann Institute of Human Rights (BIM) is an independent human rights research and training institution and acts as a human rights think-tank. The institute was founded in 1992 under the umbrella of the Ludwig Boltzmann Gesellschaft and is currently co-directed by Hannes Tretter and Manfred Nowak, with Fiona Steinert and Patricia Hladschik in charge of management and strategic development.
The institute’s work is focused on human rights research on the national, European and the international level and aims at contributing to a just global society, in which every person can enjoy civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights. Founded on the concepts of freedom and equality, the principles of universality, indivisibility and interdependency of rights, of empowerment of right holders and accountability of duty bearers build the cornerstones for a human rights based approach in research.
As a consequence we actively pursue multidimensional and interdisciplinary pathways towards human rights issues and promote human rights research also at the university.
In light of the inseparable relation between standards and their implementation, it is the BIM’s objective to offer a link between academic research and practitioners by following a translational research concept. Drawing on inputs and experiences of different groups of rightsholders as well as duty bearers we aim at developing action steps to enhance human wellbeing. Therefore, our work is devoted to both basic research (e.g. on methodological questions) and applied research (in thematic areas ranging from torture prevention in custody to setting-up of anti-discrimination structures). In addition, the BIM strives to reach out and provide its human rights expertise through academic publications and teaching, training and education, the latter in particular via “polis – the Austrian Centre for Citizenship Education in Schools”.
To this end we have established longstanding cooperation with international, European and national institutions, such as the United Nations, the Council of Europe, the European Union (including the Fundamental Rights Agency), the OSCE, various State institutions as well as other human rights research institutes and non-governmental organisations. The BIM is member to national and international research networks, such as the Association of Human Rights Institutes (AHRI), the European Inter-University Centre for Human Rights and Democratisation (EIUC) or the Fostering Human Rights Among European Policies (FRAME) research consortium. In its self-understanding as an impact- and change-oriented research institution, the BIM considers itself as part of civil society and acts as a critical observer towards human rights duty-bearers, governments and the private sector alike, while at the same time offering its expertise e.g. through capacity building and consultancies to overcome human rights challenges.
The institute as an employer is committed to apply the same standards in relation to its staff as it does in its research. As such, principles of equality, diversity and non-discrimination, participatory decision-making, fair working conditions and human resource development lie at the core of our employment policy.
The BIM’s work is non-profit oriented, and to a very large extent our finances are based on project funding. Consequently, securing a sustainable, non-project related funding basis remains amongst the key challenges for the future.
The expansive dynamic within the international human rights community has a significant impact on our work. As the leading and largest Austrian research institution devoted to human rights, the BIM seeks to analyse and influence national, European and international developments as an active and constructive agent for change to further protect and promote “all human rights for all”.