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Foundation and Basis: Bilkent University Human Rights Studies Application and Research Center (the Center/the BHRC) was established in 2021. The Center operates under the Bilkent University Faculty of Law, as a unit affiliated with the Rectorate. The BHRC functions within the framework of the Regulation published in the Official Gazette dated 9 August 2021 and numbered 31563. [REGULATION] [YÖNETMELİK]

Objectives: The purposes of the BHRC set out in Article 5 of the Regulation are as follows: “to conduct theoretical and practical researches, to organize trainings and to carry out other relevant studies and projects in order to contribute to the recognition, protection, implementation, and development of human rights within the framework of the legal arrangements in the field of national, regional and international law in the light of scientific methods and by following an interdisciplinary approach”.

Vision and Mission: The BHRC conducts research activities to fulfill the aforementioned objectives and strives for its research activities to lead the practice. For this purpose, it aims to develop partnerships with civil society and public institutions to strengthen human rights. The BHRC has a primary focus on cooperation with both national and international peer centers and relevant institutions and organizations operating in this field.

The BHRC’s foundational philosophy is based on the understanding that the responsibility of protection and fulfillment of human rights principles and norms is primarily – and initially –assumed by the national authorities by ensuring the effective implementation of the Constitution and relevant laws including international commitments.  When human rights principles and norms are internalized by the national authorities, a standard of living coherently with human dignity will prevail within the society and the workload of the judiciary will decrease. In this context, the understanding that the corrective justice role of the judiciary is the last remedy (ultima ratio) is viewed as a reflection of this philosophy.

Based on the philosophy that human rights problems should primarily be resolved in domestic legal order in the light of regional and international human rights instruments as well as constitutional provisions, the BHRC has identified contributing to scientific research in the field of human rights as its main goal. Nevertheless, the BHRC assumes a scientific approach that oversees not only the rights of human beings but also advocates the rights of legal persons other than individuals within the perspective of indivisibility, interdependency, and inter-relatedness of rights. As required by its Regulation, the BHRC adopts working principles which oversee respect for gender equality in all its activities.