About Centre


In 1973 the Institute of Law Studies of the Polish Academy of Sciences decided to establish the Poznań Department for Research on Legal Institutions, composed of two research centres – the Poznań Human Rights Centre and the Poznań Family Law and the Rights of a Child Centre.
The Poznań Human Rights Centre began under the leadership of Prof. Dr. Hab. Adam Łopatka, who also served as the Director of the Institute of Law Studies of the Polish Academy of Sciences. Afterwards, Prof. Dr Hab. Zdzisław Kędzia served as the Centre’s Director, followed in the 1990s by Prof. Dr Hab. Leszek Wiśniewski and, up until 2018, Prof. Dr Hab. Roman Wieruszewski.
The Centre’s staff included Prof. Dr Hab. Lesław Kański, Prof. Dr Hab. Marek Piechowiak, Prof. Dr Hab. Hanna Suchocka, Dr Renata Hliwa, and Dr Jelena Kondratiewa-Bryzik.

Since its inception, the research focus of the Poznań Human Rights Centre was on how to adapt the Polish legal system to international human rights law. The Centre’s researchers were involved in, inter alia, the process of drafting the Constitution of the Republic of Poland which was adopted in 1997. They also served as legislative consultants, associates at international organizations – notably the United Nations – and at numerous non-governmental organizations and think tanks, and lectured at universities in Poland and abroad.

International cooperation

The Poznań Human Rights Centre (PHRC) cooperates with internationally renowned academic centres, research institutions, and international organizations. PHRC researchers take an active part in international projects and scientific events. In previous years, the PHRC worked closely with, inter alia, the Directorate General of Human Rights and the Rule of Law of the Council of Europe in Strasbourg; the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva; the Institute of Human Rights at the Abo Academy in Turku (Finland); the Dutch Institute for Human Rights (SIM) in Utrecht; the Raoul Wallenberg Institute in Lund (Sweden); the EU-China Human Rights Network; and the Hague Process in the field of Refugees and Migration.

The most important international projects and initiatives that the Centre is currently participating in include:

Association of Human Rights Institutes – (AHRI)

AHRI is the largest European association of research and academic institutions dealing with human rights. The main role of AHRI is to promote research, education, and discussion on mechanisms for the protection of human rights.

European Inter-University Centre for Human Rights & Democratisation – (EUIC)

EUIC is an international academic initiative that conducts educational, training and research activities in the field of human rights and democratization, with a particular focus on European policy in this area.

European Master’s Degree in Human Rights & Democratisation – (E.MA)

E.MA is a unique, intensive one-year, advanced master’s program in the field of human rights and democratization, during which students from different countries have the opportunity to learn about human rights in theory and in practice through studies in Venice and at 39 universities representing all Member States of the European Union, as well as during field missions. The program is interdisciplinary and offers the opportunity to learn about human rights, democratic processes, and international relations from the perspective of law, political science, history, anthropology and philosophy.

Memory Laws in European and Comparative Perspectives – (MELA)

MELA is an international research consortium, consisting of researchers from Poland, Great Britain, the Netherlands and Italy which, as part of a grant awarded by Humanities in the European Research Area (HERA), is carrying out a research project on memory laws.

In the memory of Lena

Dr. Lena Kondratiewa-Bryzik was an exceptional person, endowed with many attributes such as wisdom, diligence and empathy. She was distinguished by her outstanding scientific achievements, inexhaustible energy, and her involvement in activities for various non-governmental organizations. On March 3, 2012, Dr Kondratiewa-Bryzik died in a railway disaster near Szczekociny, returning from the scientific seminar she led at the Faculty of Law of Jagiellonian University.

Lena graduated from the Faculty of Law of Voronezh State University. She obtained a doctorate in law at the Institute of Law Studies of the Polish Academy of Sciences. From 2009 on, she was one of the pillars of the Poznań Center for Human Rights.

Her doctoral thesis on the beginnings of legal protection of human life was granted an award in the “Państwo i Prawo” journal’s competition and published as a monograph. She was the author of numerous articles, expert opinions, papers at scientific conferences, and also a valued academic lecturer. The importance of her scientific achievements has been confirmed by, among others, the grant to her from the Foundation for Polish Science of a prestigious scholarship for young scientists START 2011.

In her research work, within the broadly understood field of international human rights protection, Lena dealt with, inter alia, issues concerning the protection of women’s rights, protection against discrimination and counteracting violence against women, as well as with bioethical dilemmas.

The annual lectures held to commemorate her, initiated in 2013, are a forum of scientific discussion on the issues that Lena dealt with in her scientific and social work.

So far, the following scientific meetings have been held as part of the cycle of Lectures in Memory of Dr. Kondratiewej-Bryzik:

2013 Promoting women’s rights in Poland and Russia – a Polish-Russian Seminar in memory of Lena Kondratiewa-Bryzik
2014 On the relevance of the catchword “human rights are women’s rights”, open lecture by Mrs. Barbara Limanowska
2015 The right to die and the ethics of dying, open lecture by Prof. Zbigniew Szawarski
2016 The concept of sexual autonomy in criminal law, lecture by Prof. Monika Płatek at the “Women in Law” conference
2017 Treating Article 18 seriously, open lecture by Prof. Ewa Łętowska
2018 Human rights in legal practice, open lecture by adv. Katarzyna Gajowniczek-Pruszyńska


The Foundation for the Promotion of Human Rights through Research and Teaching (Promocja Praw Człowieka – Badania i Nauczanie) was established in 1990. Its core objectives include supporting scientific research and human rights education. The Foundation co-organizes open lectures, seminar series, conferences, and the highly regarded annual Summer Court on International Protection of Human Rights.

The Poznań Centre for Human Rights cooperates with the Foundation on a regular basis.


The Library at the Poznań Human Rights Centre for many years served as the Council of Europe’s deposits library. Its collection encompasses Polish and international publications in the area of human rights and family law and the rights of a child. It also provides access to journals and legal information databases.

The collection is open to the general public. Persons who wish to use the resources of the Library should contact the Library staff at phrc@man.poznan.pl.