About Us

Origin story

The Human Rights Collective (HRC) emerged out of a partnership with the Scholars at Risk (SAR) Network, originally focusing on projects that supported SAR’s learning and advocacy goals. This complemented the protection of academic freedom work carried out under the VP International. Led by Dr. Jenny Peterson, the experiential human rights research project started as the PURE-Funded project (2019-2022) and we are now working to consolidate and expand our programming in ways that support and engage with other human rights focused learning opportunities at UBC. 

This Collective was made possible by various student alumni, whose work, vision, and values shaped us. Here are some of the student alumni: 

Mission statement

The Human Rights Collective is a welcoming community collective for scholars including students and faculty at all academic levels, community, organizations and institutions across disciplines committed to examine, collaborate and act towards the advancement of human rights. The Collective is part of the Office of Regional and International Community Engagement (UBC ORICE) and partners with organizations such as the Scholars at Risk Network, and the Dallaire Centre of Excellence (DCOE).

Building upon a foundational understanding of the role that academic freedom plays in the work that we engage in as a collective, we commit to holding an accessible, critical, caring and reflexive space of engagement. Our work acknowledges power and positionality and we act in solidarity regarding human rights abuses.

The goals of the collective aim to develop, support and secure resources for a community of praxis of engaged scholars, who lead and participate in teaching and learning, research, solidarity and community engaged action towards the advancement of global human rights. We support faculty in teaching initiatives and through partnerships with local and international organizations working in the field of human rights within our network.

Values of the Collective 

  • Academic Freedom: It is broadly defined as the freedom to teach, learn and carry out research within an academic institution or environment without undue interference or restriction from the state, the institution, its members or the public. This value is foundational to our ability to engage in human rights activism within an academic institution.
  • Solidarity & Advocacy: We engage in activism in solidarity with community partners. Through applying principles of ethical community-engaged practice, we collaborate with community partners and center their needs.
  • Caring Community: Recognizing the emotional labour and trauma inherent in this work, we aim to foster a caring community. We want to ensure that we care for all members of the Collective and create a supportive environment in which we prioritize everyone’s holistic (physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual) health. Community care includes approaching each other with empathy, respect, and kindness. Instead of individualizing and promoting “self-care”, community care asks us how we can help support the people in our community and in return how we can receive support. 
  • Deep Learning & Collaboration: Deep learning includes a commitment to fostering reflexivity in and on action, whereby learners are supported to engage in cycles of learning, action, and reflection as well as analysis about the purpose, process and impact of the Collective’s work. We value interdisciplinary collaboration with and amongst students, faculty, staff and community organizations.
  • Reflexivity: Practicing awareness of power dynamics and positionality is necessary for our Collective. We apply an anti-oppressive framework and an intersectional lens to understand inequities and reflect on our individual and collective positions within society and the academic institution.