‘Observatory for Human Rights and Major Events’ (HaRM)

Early-mid 2021, Dr Mike Duignan will launch the new ‘Observatory for Human Rights and Major Events’ (HaRM) based at the School of Hospitality and Tourism Management, University of Surrey, UK.

HaRM is one of several internationally focused research, policy and industry groups set up to examine human rights issues in major events, but with a specific focus on three pillars as our contribution – as detailed below. We are proud to be part of a global network of advocates for advancing human rights in host countries and cities that stage major sporting events.

HaRM responds to an increasing shift toward human rights based agendas as part of the United Nation’s advocacy work toward inclusive and sustainable development. Global sports and cultural policy organisations increasingly recognise how the major events they own and/or organise intensify the violation of general human rights principles. The Institute for Human and Business Rights explicates eight distinct areas where these violations occur, how we can understand them, and most importantly, tackle them – whether we are in academia, policy or on the front line of delivery.

These areas can be found here (https://www.sporthumanrights.org/uploads/resources/The_MSE_Lifecycle_-_Embedding_Human_Rights_from_Vision_to_Legacy.pdf).

We are in the middle of launching the observatory on the University of Surrey’s website. However, for now, you can find details of the research group and its objectives below.

If you are interested to know more about the observatory and how you can be involved, email: Dr Mike Duignan (M.Duignan@surrey.ac.uk), Head of Department, Reader in Events and Director of the Observatory for Human Rights at Major Events (HaRM).

Three pillars

Pillar 1: Human exploitation and trafficking.

Researching how we can educate visitors to – and local workforces in – host cities, to raise awareness, spot the signs and tackle trafficking and exploitation in real-time during the live staging periods.

Pillar 2: Urban regeneration and development: Community disruption and displacement.
Researching the ways host communities are disrupted and both directly and indirectly displaced in the lead up, live staging, and legacy periods.

Pillar 3: Visitor economies and experiences: Organisational and behavioural barriers to community leveraging.
Researching the structural ways host communities can be excluded from accessing temporary event visitor economies, and how we can encourage greater interaction between hosts and guests particularly during the intense live staging periods.


We will update this section in March, 2021.

Honorary fellows: Our international expert advisory board

We are appointing x10 ‘Honorary Fellows’ to support the research, policy and industry work we will do at HaRM. These fellows will be among some of the key thought leaders in human rights and major events. We are currently finalising our honorary fellows and will publish these around March – April, 2021.

Resources related to each pillar

For those interested in one or more of the pillars, we will add related resources, publications and links to relevant material. We will update this section in March, 2021, and continually update. When these are published, if you have any suggestions for useful resources, please email M.Duignan@surrey.ac.uk.

Pillar 1 – human trafficking and exploitation

Pillar 2 – urban regeneration and development

Pillar 3 – visitor economy and experiences

Other organisations dedicated to human rights and major events

We will update this section in March, 2021.

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