Sur’s Objective


The objective of the Sur International Journal on Human Rights, published by Conectas, is to influence the global human rights agenda by producing, fostering and disseminating innovative research and ideas, primarily from the Global South, on human rights practice.

Sur is an open access journal, and has an online and print readership of over 6,000 people in more than 100 countries.

First published 11 years ago in order to deepen and strengthen ties between academics and activists from the Global South and to increase their participation in the global debate, Sur Journal has continuously evolved.


In 2014, to mark its 10th anniversary, the Journal published a landmark 20th issue – bringing together more than 50 leading scholars and activists from 18 countries – to reflect on the new direction of the international human rights movement.

For Conectas, the 20th issue of Sur Journal served not only as an opportunity to rethink the pillars of the movement that we are part of, but specifically it allowed us to reconsider the role of Sur Journal in the coming years.

Sur Journal would not have been possible without the initial support and the material contributions of the United Nations Foundation and the Ford Foundation. We would also like to thank Fundação Carlos Chagas for its generous support until the 19th issue of the Journal. Currently, Sur Journal is generously supported by the Ford Foundation, Open Society Foundations, Oak Foundation, Sigrid Rausing Trust, International Development Research Centre (IDRC) and Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA).

Sur’s Editorial Policy

The Sur Journal, first, serves as a channel for sharing primarily Global South perspectives on the world’s human rights agenda. The Journal will serve as a space where the role of the Global South in shaping human rights discourse – including, its institutions, priorities and impact – will be debated. Preference is given to voices on the ground or those directly involved with the issue. The Journal aims to feature contributions that discuss what Global South countries and human rights practitioners have done or can do to influence human rights practice worldwide.

Second, the Journal’s editorial policy recognises that its readership is hybrid – it is composed of activists, academics and policy-makers and those in between those groups – generally referred to as “human rights practitioners.” What binds these groups together is their ambition to find solutions to the difficult questions that exist in the field of human rights, thereby strengthening the movement as a whole.

Third, the Journal’s editorial policy strikes a fine balance between in-depth analyses and straightforward content. While recognising the difficulty of this task, the Sur Journal team welcomes entries that offer critical insights, preferably based on empirical research or first-hand experience, in a clear and concise manner. Such approach reflects the Journal’s hybrid audience: its readers and authors operate in different, yet overlapping circles, and thus they benefit from a practice-focused piece, which is also critical and theoretically sound. The Journal’s format and selection process, including limited length, reader-friendly website design, accessible language, quality-focused blind review, seek to strike this balance.

Fourth, Sur Journal is not only an online and offline publication but also a space – including via in-person debates – for sharing innovative ideas on human rights practice with a unique network of human rights practitioners. Born as a collective of leading human rights professors – many of them active and valuable members of our Editorial and Advisory Boards – the Journal combines this background with the wide network of human rights practitioners that its host institution, Conectas Human Rights, and its partners offer. In practical terms, each issue of the Journal features a guest editor – a leading human rights practitioner – which enable the Journal’s team to reach out to those involved directly with the human rights practices it seeks to address. Furthermore, each Journal’s issue is followed by a series of in-person debates, in more than one region in the world, which seeks to give voice to the Journal’s authors and interviewees.

Sur’s History

Sur Journal was created in 2004 as a vehicle to deepen and strengthen bonds between academics and activists from the Global South dedicated to human rights. The journal aimed to magnify the voices and the participation of these actors within international organisations and universities.

Since then, more than 220 articles have been published from 50 countries. 63% of the authors are from the Global South. The articles have discussed issues as diverse as health and access to treatment, transitional justice, regional mechanisms and the right to information, to name just a few.

Increasingly, Sur Journal has become a practical tool for its readers’ work, informing individuals and organisations working to defend human rights by offering valuable research, meaningful reflections and relevant case studies that combine both academic rigor and practical interest.

For access to the Journal’s previous issues, click here.