Human Rights Principles

The Center for Human Rights & Humanitarian Law strives to operate according to the following human rights principles:

All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights

-The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 1

All of these principles interrelate and are interdependent:


Value the inherent dignity and equality of all people and interact with them as your equal. Recognize strength in diversity (including sex, ability, age, race, religion, education, sexual orientation, political opinion). Work to end all discrimination and discriminatory acts in your office and your community. Be patient, considerate, kind and on time. Be mindful and empathetic of where others are coming from. Keep private information private. Express appreciation for the work of others.  


Be a team player and be open to different roles.  Encourage broad participation and equal involvement in decision making.  Be open to everybody’s ideas and promote them equally.  Make accessibility and inclusion an everyday priority. Treat problem-solving as a collaborative undertaking.  Listen with empathy and ask others how you can help. Encourage new ideas and make empowering others an objective of your interactions. Celebrate success!


Constantly work to foster a creative work environment. Pursue creative approaches and innovative solutions.  Identify and work towards realizing personal learning goals.  Focus on purpose but push conceptual boundaries. Dare to disagree.


Consider new ideas and perspectives. Seize opportunities and take initiative.  Maintain openness to change. Take time to evaluate what has worked and change what can be improved. Create an environment which nurtures and sustains each person as an individual and the Center as a team. Have fun and appreciate each moment.


Support colleagues, students and partners to create a community of mutual support and solidarity, including a positive work environment. Foster a supportive and sustainable work and life culture.  Recognize environmental impact of your actions.  Reach outside of WCL to engage in community activism. Take action to help foster a culture of human rights within American University.

Honesty and Accountability

Be sincere, straightforward and truthful in all interactions. Take responsibility for your decisions and actions. Know your limits. Set realistic expectations and goals for yourself and others. Be respectful of diverse work styles.  Communicate clearly and directly. Know when to tune in and when to turn off.