Human Rights & Democracy

An array of international treaties and institutions exists to protect human rights. Yet, for millions around the world, they remain a faint promise. Without democracy, human rights can never be fully realized. But democracies, too, are not immune to dismantling human rights achievements. Today, illiberal politicians as well as increasingly self-assertive authoritarian powers attack both democracy and human rights. They experiment with new forms of repression – online and offline. Authoritarian influence can be traced across borders. At GPPi, we seek to understand and help counter threats to democracy, political participation, physical integrity, and academic freedom. 


Free Universities: Putting the Academic Freedom Index Into Action

A new index compares the state of academic freedom worldwide. Here is how policymakers, universities and others can put it to use.


Hong Kong: What’s Next and How Should Europe Respond?

The crisis in Hong Kong is spiraling out of control. Europe should issue a clear warning that the territory’s special status must be respected.

By Katrin Kinzelbach, Eva Pils
Working paper

Do UN Communications Make a Difference for Human Rights Defenders?

UN attention can protect defenders at risk, but that is less likely for high profile activists or when transnational businesses are involved.


The State of Human Rights in Brazil

Maria Laura Canineu talks to Thorsten Benner about police violence, the prison system and human rights in Bolsonaro’s Brazil. 

The Academic Freedom Index is Out

Our new dataset on academic freedom worldwide is now available online. The dataset includes more than 110,000 observation points, eight indicators and an aggregate index on academic freedom. It is the result of a collaboration between experts at GPPi, FAU Erlangen-Nürnberg, the Scholars at Risk Network, and the V‑Dem Institute. The index data is available on the V‑Dem website.

Read our report on the Academic Freedom Index and learn more about the project.


Thorsten Benner


Julian Lehmann

Project Manager

Ilyas Saliba

Research Associate

Katrin Kinzelbach

Non-Resident Fellow

Alicja Polakiewicz

Circle of Friends

Janika Spannagel

Research Fellow

Funding & Contact

For longer-term research projects, we benefited from funding by the Volkswagen Foundation and the German Academic Scholarship Foundation. Other funders and clients include the Stiftung Mercator, Fritz Thyssen Foundation, the Open Society Foundations, and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development.

For inquiries, please contact Janika Spannagel.