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Public International Law (International and European Law)
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‘The law courses provided a space to think critically, argue soundly and research effectively’

Ruben Brouwer started working at the Women's Rights and Gender Section of the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in Geneva after his Master's. ‘Thematically, my work has a particular focus on sexual and reproductive rights, women human rights defenders and movements, and gender and migration.’

Ruben Brouwer, graduate PIL

‘I am a Dutch national and former student of Public International Law at the University of Amsterdam. I currently work in the Women's Rights and Gender Section of the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva. Thematically, my work has a particular focus on sexual and reproductive rights, women human rights defenders and movements, and gender and migration.

Practically, this work involves, among others: conducting research, dialogues and outreach to support the advancement of human rights norms and standards. But also engaging in advocacy at the international and country levels, and conducting specific campaigns and developing positive narratives; providing legal and policy analyses on reports, strategies, law reforms, policies and programming, and monitoring, documentation and reporting of human rights violations and situations. It also includes the gender-specificities in particular contexts; building relationships and partnerships with key actors and stakeholders, and supporting networks of women human rights defenders; participating and/or organising events and convening’s with experts and other actors; participating and supporting processes at intergovernmental fora, and supporting the work of UN human rights mechanisms. I began this work 4½ years ago, starting as a Junior Professional Officer/Associate Expert, which is a program generously supported by the Government of the Netherlands. 

My time at the University of Amsterdam was instrumental in sharpening my skills and knowledge in public international law, driving my passion for human rights, and laying down foundations for the work I am able to do today. The law courses provided a space to think critically, argue soundly and research effectively, and also helped me identify my interests and strengths. The teaching staff inspired me to question, debate and reflect on critical public international law issues, and helped me believe in my abilities, pushing me to fulfil my academic potential. The unique opportunity I had to support various professors and researchers as an academic research assistant on fascinating research projects was simply the icing on the cake. 

During my degree and with the support of my professors and teachers, I also gained invaluable professional experience with the Netherlands Permanent Mission to the UN and Human Rights Watch in New York. These were also experiences which contributed directly towards my Master’s thesis and indirectly to my current work. 

Following my degree, I studied International Security at the Paris School of International Affairs, which also involved 6 months working in Tanzania for a peacebuilding organisation called Search for Common Ground. I have also worked as a human rights consultant for the German Development Cooperation in Ghana and managed a peace campaign for Peace One Day in the African Great Lakes region, based in the UK and the Democratic Republic of Congo, before joining OHCHR.’