The Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Human Rights

Felix Ermacora, Manfred Nowak, and Hannes Tretter founded the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Human Rights in 1992. In the two years after its creation it quickly became one of the most important organizations in Austria for human rights. The Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Human Rights covers a broad spectrum of human rights’ issues. In June 1993 they helped to coordinate the UN World Conference on Human Rights, which hosted over 1,500 NGOs. They have lobbied vigorously for the acceptance of international human rights treaties in Austria. In 1995 at the time of their award nomination they were trying to raise awareness of the “ethnic cleansing” that was taking place in Bosnia, primarily that in the city of Zvornik. They conducted interviews of hundreds of people who were affected. Until 1998 they continued to focus their efforts on the conflict in Bosnia-Herzegovina, and worked with the refugees from this crisis. The Boltzmann Institute tried to find ways to integrate the refugees into Western Europe, in addition to searching for missing persons in the region. Since then they have worked on teaching human rights to children in Austrian schools as well as having begun work elsewhere.
In 1997 they founded the Service Center for Human Rights Education to help teachers promote human rights in Austrian schools. The Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Human Rights has since published many educational guides themselves, as well as supported the creation of research institutions for human rights. In 1999, for instance, they produced “The “Handbook on the UN Convention of the Rights of Children” alongside UNICEF.
Most recently the organization has been occupied with “Twinning Projects” throughout Europe. The European Commission requested that the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute take charge of ten different human rights initiatives in Europe, as well as support other institutions’ efforts in four other endeavors. Some of these projects include working for anti-discrimination legislation in Poland, Slovenia, and Hungary, and protecting trial data in Latvia, Lithuania and the Czech Republic.