Annual Toogdag

Sixth Annual NNHRR Conference
Toogdag 2023
Looking to the Future: New (Human) Rights 

                                  © Jean Ruiter, The Paradox of Chaos and Order, Wool Threads #3


Thursday 29 June and Friday 30 June 2023

Venue: University of Groningen

 Organized by the Netherlands Network for Human Rights Research, the University of Groningen and Maastricht University with the support of the Asser Institute for International and European Law 

About the event

The adoption by the United Nations of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) on 10 December 1948 marked the beginning of the modern system of protection of human rights at the international level. Since then, so much has happened in the field of human rights. The UDHR is based on the powerful underlying premise that we are all “born free and equal in dignity and rights”. December 2023 marks the 75th anniversary of the UDHR, and it will mark 35 years since the UDHR workshop that was jointly organised by Maastricht University and Utrecht University. That workshop was held from 8 to 10 December 1988 on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the UDHR, leading to the publication of a booklet entitled “The Universal Declaration of Human Rights: Its Significance in 1988”. Against this background, the member universities of the Netherlands Network for Human Rights Research (NNHRR) are joining forces to organise a follow-up event on the 29th and 30th of June 2023, that will reflect on the past, present and future of the UDHR. Reflecting on the past entails, among others, reflecting on the aspirations of the Declaration and their validity today. Reflecting on the present involves looking at the achievements and challenges in realizing those aspirations today. Looking to the future entails discussing the challenges that lie ahead before the Declaration reaches its 100th anniversary, as well as mapping out the opportunities for developing new human rights to complement the Declaration.

Call for papers

In order to guide the structure of the discussions surrounding the third aspect of the Annual Research Day (Toogdag) of the NNHRR (looking to the future of the UDHR and the development of new human rights), the organizers are calling out for presentations and/or papers for the third plenary session of the Annual Research Day entitled Looking to the Future: New Human Rights, which will be held on the 30th of June. We encourage proposals for contributions and/or papers from NNHRR PhD candidates, but also others who may be interested, in relation (but not exclusively) to the themes listed hereunder:
• AI and human rights
• Non-state actors
• Sustainability and access to energy services
• Fight against corruption
• Rights of future generations

Other suggestions for topics related to new human rights are welcome. Interested NNHRR PhD candidates and others are kindly invited to submit their abstracts to both Dr. Antenor Hallo de Wolf ( and Mr. Medes Malaihollo, LL.M ( before 5 May 2023. Abstracts should be no longer than 400 words. Based on the submitted abstracts, the organizers will select the presentations/papers which can be presented at the Annual Research Day and will inform the interested authors by email by 19 May 2023, at the latest. Selected presentations and papers will be published in a short edited volume based on the Annual Research Day’s proceedings and/or in the NNHRR’s blog, Human Rights Here.

To register for the event, please click here

Draft Programme

Thursday 29 June 2023

11:00 – 12:00: PhD defense by Natalie Abrokwa (optional event)
In the morning, Natalie Abrokwa, member of the NNHRR, will defend her PhD entitled “The right to mental health: A human rights approach”, which will be published by Intersentia as volume nr. 100 in the Intersentia Human Rights Research Series connected to the research output of the Netherlands Network for Human Rights Research. Venue: Aula of the University of Groningen (Broerstraat 5)

12:30 – 13:00: Arrival of participants and registration

13:00 – 14:00: Welcome Lunch

14:00 – 14:10: Opening of the NNHRR’s Annual Research Day (Toogdag)

14:10 – 15:00: Plenary session 1: Looking back
Roundtable discussion involving those who participated in the 1988 Maastricht conference and publication. This session will offer the opportunity to reflect on the UDHR’s role and impact in the last 75 years.

15:00 – 15:30: Discussion/questions from the audience

15:30 – 15:45 Coffee break

15:45 – 17:30 Session 2: The Present Impact of the UDHR and Challenges in Realising its
Aspirations in Today’s World (Parallel sessions)

• Panel Working Group Business & Human Rights
• Panel Working Group Human Rights in the Digital Age
• Panel Working Group Migration and Human Rights
• Panel on Human Rights as related to Health, the Environment & Sustainability

These panels will separately discuss the impact of the UDHR on the current developments towards clarifying the content, interpretation and application of existing or emerging human rights norms regulating the conduct of business corporations, technological and digital advances, the (free) movement of persons and refugees, as well as protection of public health the environment and sustainable development. Ideally the panels should reflect how the UDHRs has contributed, if at all, to the development of interdependent human rights in their respective areas, as well as how current and emerging (legal) norms derive inspiration from the UDHR, or are hampered by it.

17:30 – 18:00: Closing remarks

18:30 – 20:00: Special PhD Toogdag event: Getting up close and personal with…
During this special PhD event, NNHRR PhD candidates will have the possibility of talking to, and sharing experiences with special guests, who are willing to share their career trajectory and practical knowledge in the field of human rights academia and practice.

Friday 30 June 2023

10:00 – 10:30 Coffee and opening

10:30 – 12:30 Session 3: Looking to the Future: New Human Rights (plenary session)

This plenary session involving a number of presentations from PhD members of the Netherlands Network for Human Rights Research that reflect the future direction of human rights. To this end, the presentations will focus on new human rights and their development in the coming years. We will look beyond the horizon of what the UDHR offers and navigate the opportunities and challenges related to the development of new human rights. A call for presentations and papers will be issued with the potential of future publication.
Potential topics*:
• AI and human rights
• Non-state actors
• Sustainability and access to energy services
• Fight against corruption
• Rights of future generations
*Other suggestions are welcome

12:30 – 14:00 Lunch

14:00 – 14:45 Session 4: Roundtable discussion involving speakers from all of the three
previous sessions, who will together reflect on the future of the UDHR

14:45 –15:15 Interventions from the audience

15:15 –15:45 Closing keynote: Theresia Degener, former chairperson of the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

16:00 – 17:30 Closing drinks and snacks

The Toogdag 2023 is hosted by:



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