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, and physical integrity. 


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

Forbidden Knowledge: Measuring Academic Freedom

Academic freedom and political repression in the university sector can be measured. This is how.

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. 


Thorsten Benner


Julian Lehmann

Project Manager

Ilyas Saliba

Research Associate

Katrin Kinzelbach

Non-Resident Fellow

Alicja Polakiewicz

Research Assistant

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.

Assessing Academic Freedom Worldwide

Academic freedom infringements range from indirect incentives to brutal force against scholars and academic institutions. Such violations undermine academic values and integrity, yet systematic knowledge about the issue is scarce. GPPi is developing a global database and case study methodology to compare academic freedom across the world.

More about this project