Using the law. For a world free from torture, exploitation and fortressed borders.

ECCHR is an independent, non-profit legal and educational organization dedicated to enforcing civil and human rights worldwide. It was founded in 2007 by Wolfgang Kaleck and other international human rights lawyers to protect and enforce the rights guaranteed by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, as well as other human rights declarations and national constitutions, through legal means. Together with our global network, we enforce human rights and make injustice visible. In court and society.

Current cases

Spain in front of UN Committee Against Torture

February 6 marks the tenth anniversary of the deadly pushback at Tarajal in Ceuta. The victims and their families continue to search for justice. In January 2024, Ludovic N., survivor of the deadly pushback, submitted a complaint to the UN against Spain for multiple violations of the Convention Against Torture.

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Is Edeka deceiving consumers with its sustainability seal?

Despite environmental damage and human rights violations in palm oil cultivation in Guatemala, the German retail chain Edeka is advertising margarine and vegetable fat with the seal of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO). Foodwatch and ECCHR are therefore accusing Edeka of deceiving consumers and are calling on the retail chain to remove the sustainability seal from its products.

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[Translate to Englisch:] Afrin, Nordsyrien © Thomas Schmidinger

Crimes in Syria: The neglected atrocities of Afrin

In January 2018, the Turkish army and allied armed militias invaded the northern Syrian region of Afrin. Since then, the Kurdish population has been subjected to systematic atrocities, from displacement, sexual violence, torture and systematic looting to killings. ECCHR and STJ have filed a complaint with the Federal Public Prosecutor's Office calling for an investigation into the perpetrators.

More on the case Press Release

Focus Areas

Together with those affected and partners worldwide, ECCHR uses legal means to end impunity for those responsible for torture, war crimes, sexual and gender-based violence, corporate exploitation and fortressed borders.

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Institute for Legal Intervention

Critical Legal Training

At ECCHR, we look to a growing network to share and develop our motivation, knowledge and innovative approaches to conducting human rights work. With this in mind, ECCHR’s Critical Legal Training focuses on training, networking and collaborative learning. To ensure the future of progressive human rights work, we take part in an ongoing learning process together with young lawyers and our international colleagues.

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International Summer School on business and human rights practice

Together with the FAU and Tilburg Law School, ECCHR organizes an international summer school for human rights practitioners and advanced students on the topic of business and human rights practice. Participants will meet experts and discuss topics such as corporate liability, human rights due diligence or supply chain responsibility.

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Investigative Commons reinvents legal investigations

To expand the production of (forensic) evidence to actors beyond state-appointed experts and to use forums other than courts for accountability, we co-founded the Investigative Commons in 2020 together with long-time partner Forensic Architecture and their German sister agency Forensis.

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The Institute for Legal Intervention focuses on critical perspectives on the law, particularly concerning power and power dynamics. We aim to make a long-term contribution to societal, legal and political debates through exchange with universities and research institutions, through our training and co-learning activities, through collaboration with our partners worldwide as well as in dialogue with artists and activists.

ECCHR in the media

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Why climate justice is not just about reducing greenhouse gas emissions

Without a human rights approach, there can be no sustainable fight against the climate crisis. The struggle for climate justice must not be limited to reducing CO 2 emissions: it is about tackling the causes of the crisis itself.

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No Contracts, no Rights: How the Fashion Industry Avoids Paying Minimum Wages in Pakistan

New research findings show that German companies' supply chains often do not even pay the minimum wage. The report "No Contracts, no Rights: How the Fashion Industry Avoids Paying Minimum Wages in Pakistan" uncovers alarming labor rights violations in textile factories in Pakistan that have been going on for years.

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ECCHR Book Series

The ECCHR Book Series aims to examine the potentials and pitfalls of human rights work in a shifting political and legal landscape. Uniting diverse voices across disciplinary boundaries, each book explores overlapping political, economic, social and environmental challenges worldwide, as well as strategies to combat them.

In the first two books, ECCHR General Secretary Wolfgang Kaleck discusses the role of art in political and legal interventions with artist and activist Tomás Saraceno, and ECCHR Legal Director Miriam Saage-Maaß and GLAN Founding Director Gearóid Ó Cuinn explore new systemic approaches toward combating corporate power.

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In order to sustainably change the law, a transformation of social power relations is needed – and new laws have to be created. This is why ECCHR initiates and participates in legal and law-related policy debates, organizes public events and publishes on selected topics.

15 Jahre Engagement

The existence of human rights is not a foregone conclusion – rather, they must be defended and fought for again and again. The challenges of legal human rights work demand perseverance and have been our central focus since ECCHR’s foundation in 2007. Read our multimedia article “Fighting for 15 years to uphold human rights worldwide.”

ECCHR is active worldwide

The European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights stands for lived solidarity across geographical, social and cultural borders.

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