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The Bonavero Institute seeks to enrich the human rights experience of Oxford students, and to assist them to develop careers in the broad field of human rights. Its “Gateways to Human Rights Research and Practice” initiative aims to deepen student engagement with the institute’s research projects and to provide insights into human rights practice. Several programmes form part of this initiative: Non-credit Courses on Human Rights Strategy, Research Training Programmes, various opportunities for Human Rights Mooting, the Collaborative Legal Aid Clinic at HMP Huntercombe and our Summer Fellowship Programme.

Programme Summary

This research training programme provides students with training on research and analysis on use of force legislation and jurisprudence. An introductory seminar will give an introduction to international standards on the use of force; and guidance on research methods and report writing. Under academic guidance by Stuart Maslen, Thomas Probert, Liora Lazarus and Annelen Micus, each student is expected to prepare a case study on one jurisdiction to be submitted by the end of the programme. 

Context of the project

The protection of the right to life and the rights to security of the person and freedom from torture are often at risk when law enforcement officials resort to the use of force. Effective protection of the rights to life and security of the person thus requires appropriate frameworks to be adopted and implemented in every jurisdiction.

The Bonavero Institute of Human Rights in collaboration with the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, seeks to support a database containing the laws, jurisprudence, and other relevant legal materials that relate to the use of force by law enforcement officials in a wide range of countries: www.policinglaw.info. It is hoped that the database will play a significant role in identifying and publishing domestic standards to enable oversight by civil society, as well as by national and international human rights agencies, including treaty bodies. It is also hoped that the project will assist in the identification of model national frameworks as well as frameworks that exhibit shortcomings, whether in drafting or implementation. The case studies prepared by the participants of this research training programme will be helpful in establishing the database.

Profile of participants

Research skills: Graduate and undergraduate law students; graduate students of other disciplines with a law degree or demonstrated experience in legal human rights research.Language skills: We are especially looking for participants who are able to work in two or more of the UN languages, being Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian, and Spanish, as well as any other language. Applicants should identify languages in which they are fluent.Availability: Several hours per week (approx. 12 hours in total) for training, research and analysis on relevant use of force legislation and jurisprudence. Participants must attend the following three events in the Gilly Leventis Meeting Room at the Bonavero Institute:

  • 31 January, 5 to 6.30pm: Introductory seminar outlining the project; introduction to international standards on the use of force; and guidance on research methods and report writing by Stuart Maslen and Liora Lazarus.
  • 14 February, 5 to 6.30pm: A session to discuss first drafts with project leaders to assist with research questions as well as report revision and finalisation.
  • 28 February, 5 to 6.30pm : A session to discuss final drafts and feedback

The first draft of the case study must be complete by 12 February, and the final draft submitted by 26 February.


Please send a letter setting out why you would like to participate in this programme, together with a CV to BonaveroIHR@law.ox.ac.uk.

Undergraduate students need to have a written dispensation from their tutors.

Applications closed on Thursday, 24 January 2019, at 12 noon