The Bonavero Institute of Human Rights is a dedicated institute within the Faculty of Law at the University of Oxford. Since October 2017, the Institute has been housed in a new building at Mansfield College. Here it will undertake worldclass research in the field of human rights law and foster public engagement in human rights issues beyond the academy. As part of its mission, the Institute will establish a vibrant community of graduate students, host outstanding scholars of law and other disciplines, and collaborate with practitioners engaged in the most pressing contemporary human rights issues around the world.

The Institute has been named after one of its principal donors, the Bonavero family. Yves and Anne Bonavero founded the AB Charitable Trust to defend and promote the cause of human dignity more than twenty years ago. The Trust has provided the Institute with an endowment in perpetuity to cover the employment of core staff.

“Under its aegis, the new Institute will produce, and deploy in the field, academic research of such calibre that the lives of men, women and children worldwide will be improved.” - Yves Bonavero 

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Programmes and Partners

  • The Bonavero Institute of Human Rights Student Fellowship Programme provides access to a number of internship opportunities, offered by a wealth of organisations within the UK and across the world. These include senior appellate courts, world-leading NGOs, and research institutions, giving students the chance to explore a variety of professional options.
  • By organising extra-curricular courses in collaboration with human rights organisations and academic partners within the University and beyond, the Institute will provide students with important insights into contemporary human rights issues and foster their understanding of human rights law in practice as well as research.
  • The Institute hosts collaborative seminars on a range of human rights topics with partners from across the University and a number of international external speakers invited to Oxford. Partners include The Oxford Institute for Ethics, Law and Armed Conflict (ELAC), The Oxford Human Rights Hub (OxHRH) and the Fiction and Human Rights Network
  • In convening a series of judicial conversations, the Institute hopes to initiate robust and open conversations about one of the most important questions for constitutional and human rights lawyers everywhere. The series seeks to deepen understanding of variations in the role of the judiciary across the world, bringing fresh perspectives to debates on the separation of powers.


Kate O'Regan

Professor Kate O’Regan commenced her term as Director of the Institute in October 2016. Kate has had a distinguished career as a scholar, practitioner and judge, including a fifteen-year term as a judge of the Constitutional Court of South Africa, appointed by Nelson Mandela in 1994.

Helena Kennedy 

Baroness Helena Kennedy QC is Principal of Mansfield College and the driving force behind the establishment of the Institute. Helena is one of Britain's most distinguished lawyers and active public figures. She has spent her professional life giving voice to those who have least power within the system, championing civil liberties and promoting human rights.