During HRC sessions – Geneva Courses

OUR GLOBAL TRAINING DEPARTMENT

Defenders in the regions find it difficult to follow the UN negotiations and the trends in the HR-Council, the special procedures, the treaty bodies, and the action of OHCHR. Our Courses have to bridge these information gaps, to meet the needs and priorities of these defenders, and to enable them to adapt their work to these new realities. Our Global Training Department has three Programmes: on the Human Rights Council (PRE), on Implementation in the Countries (INP) and for Specific Stakeholders (TSS).

The 3-week Training Courses on the Human Rights Council, international human rights and humanitarian law, international procedures and diplomacy’ (‘Geneva Courses‘) are conducted by GHR at each ordinary session of the Human Rights Council.

What are the Geneva Courses ?

 The Geneva Courses are unique. Providing intensive and interactive training, they combine theory, working field experiences of the participants and the exposure to international human rights diplomacy. With its researchers, fellows and interns from a variety of universities, our Department of Human Rights Policy Studies (HPS) assists the trainees during the HR-Council’s session. 

Adrien-Claude Zoller has presented these Courses with different organisations since 1985. The outline and main objectives (needs from the regions; General Course and daily classes) were defined during the 1986 Course, organized with the OMCT. Since 2003 the Geneva Courses are conducted by GHR. With the creation of the HR-Council (2006), GHR elaborated specific teaching methods taking into consideration the new UN realities.

The strategic objective of the Geneva Courses is to empower NGOs, defenders, coalitions and networks from the regions to participate fully in the HR-Council’s deliberations. Geneva Courses are advanced Courses to train trainers and therefore based on the realities in the field. The programme of each Course is tailored to the thematic needs and priorities of the participants. Moreover, to close the information gap of defenders in the regions, the Geneva Courses teach the new UN orientations (UN Reform process, dialogue and cooperation with the States, OHCHR priorities).

 The Courses start with a 3-4 days General Course during the first week of the UN session to teach the basic elements of international law, the UN structure, mechanisms and procedures, and international relations.

 Then, during the entire session of the HR-Council, trainees participate in daily morning classes, to receive briefings on the main reports examined in the HR-Council and to analyze the debates and the main human rights issues. For each Course, HPS prepares a Documentation Kit for the trainees with all the relevant documents.

 Each trainee receives a list of assignments, which includes drafting a communication to a thematic procedure, writing several summaries of the debates in the HR-Council and summaries of the morning classes, and submitting a brief note with the main patterns of human rights abuses in their country. Most of the summaries and draft letters to the Special Rapporteurs are read out and discussed during the morning classes. 

 During the Course, there are also weekly tests on the teaching of the previous week. This enables the trainers to monitor the progress made by the trainees. The trainers correct and mark the tests. Those with a negative mark in the second test receive additional briefings.

WE ARE A TRAINING ORGANISATION

Our Objectives

 Geneva for Human Rights – Global Training (GHR) is a training organization. Through training, study and protection, we aim to bridge the gaps between the international decisions and recommendations and the realities. We want to empower all those involved in human rights promotion and protection. Our Global Training Department (GTP) conducts each year dozens of Courses and Seminars in Geneva and in the regions. Our Department of Human Rights Policy Studies (HPS) supports these training activities by monitoring and analyzing UN human rights meetings.

Themes of GHR Courses

In all its Courses and Seminars, in Geneva and in the regions, GHR trains defenders on:

  • the fundaments of international law, international human rights law, humanitarian law and criminal law, including the tools of transitional justice;
  • the trends in international relations;
  • the  inter-governmental organisations (IGOs);
  • the UN structure and its main bodies (incl. ECOSOC’s thematic Commissions);
  • the Human Rights Council (‘HR-Council’) and its mechanisms;
  • the Universal Periodic Review (UPR), and the contribution of the civil society;
  • the Special procedures and the drafting and submission of communications;
  • the treaty monitoring bodies and the preparation of shadow reports;
  • the Office of the High Commissioner (OHCHR), its priorities and field operations;
  • the preventative measures and strategies to protect human rights defenders;
  • the strategies to raise issues and situations at regional and international level;
  • the national implementation strategies: implementing all the UN decisions and recommendations (resolutions, Special procedures, UPR, concluding observations of treaty bodies); elaborating and realizing public policies and national plans of action and in the field of human rights; the national institutions.

What we achieved in 2017

  • GENEVA COURSE GSC-40 (25 FEBRUARY – 10 MARCH 2017)
  • GENEVA COURSE GSC-41 (11 – 22 SEPTEMBER 2017)
  • 5TH GHR EXPERT SEMINAR ON ENFORCED DISAPPEARANCES  – STRENGTHENING PREVENTION AND PROTECTION –  15 MARCH 2017
  • EXPERT SEMINAR ON INDIGENOUS PEOPLES – IMPLEMENTING THE UN DECLARATION – 11 JULY 2017
  • COURSE AND BRIEFINGS IN DEHLI FOR INDIAN NGOS (FOLLOW-UP TO UPR)
  • CONFERENCE AND COURSE IN DHARAMSALA (TIBET)
  • COURSE AND BRIEFINGS IN NEPAL
  • LECTURES FOR OUR PARTNERS, IN PARTICULAR UNIVERSITIES AND THE OHCHR

Program No. 1 –  Participation of the Regions in the Human Rights Council’

Entitled: ‘Participation of the Regions in the Human Rights Council(PRE), the Programme aims at full participation of defenders from the regions in the work of the HR-Council and it mechanisms, and at the effective use of human rights special procedures. It has a variety of Courses and Seminars in Geneva and in the regions. In 2016, GHR received financial support from several foundations and from the Government of Liechtenstein.

1. THE GENEVA COURSES OF GHR

In 2016, GHR conducted two Geneva Courses during the ordinary sessions of the HR-Council  and one Introduction Course to the Council.

 Profile of the Geneva Courses

  • The Geneva Courses for defenders from the regions are advanced Courses to train trainers. They are a unique intensive and interactive training, combining the theory, the exchanges of experience between participants (field situations) and the exposure to the multilateral reality (in the HR-Council), which the trainees monitor. Since its creation, GHR has realized this Course at each session of the Commission on Human Rights and its Sub-Commission, at sessions of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), and at each ordinary session of the HR-Council.
  • Each Geneva Course has two parts:
  • the General Course (Week-1) to introduce the international system (international law; international relations; UN bodies; HR-Council and its mechanisms, including the UPR; special procedures; treaty bodies);
  • the daily morning classes (Week-2), every day, to introduce the themes of the day on the agenda of the HR-Council and the reports of OHCHR’ and Special Rapporteurs submitted to the HR-Council; and to analyze the debates in the HR-Council; every afternoon, the trainees attend the session of the HR-Council. 

Conditions for the certificate

  • To obtain the Course’s certificate, trainees have to submit a note on the main patterns of rights abuses in their country; several summaries of the debates in the HR-Council and of the morning classes; and a draft communication to a UN thematic procedure on a case of human rights abuses. All these papers are read out, discussed and improved during the morning classes.
  • The trainees also stand weekly tests on the teaching of the previous week. This helps the trainers to ensure that their teaching is well understood, and to monitor the level of each trainee. It incites participants to review the Course and read several reports. Those getting an insufficient mark in the first test receive additional (separate) briefings from the trainers.

38th Geneva Course (GSC-38)

(27 February to 11 March 2016)

17 defenders attended GHR 38th Geneva Course  conducted during the 31st session of the HR-Council

Nine participants were defenders from the regions, from Ethiopia, Nigeria (2), Angola, Nicaragua, China, Armenia, Poland, Philippines-Switzerland. The other trainees were GHR members and students from India, Italy (3), Switzerland, England and the USA (2).

Trainers were Edward Flynn (Ireland), René Kosirnik (on International Humanitarian Law, Switzerland), and Adrien-Claude Zoller (Switzerland). A staff member of Huridocs also presented the HRC Analyzer project of her organisation.

The General Course took place from 27 February to 5 March, with the full-day class on Saturday 27 February on the international system, the UN bodies, the UN reform, human rights standards and the human rights mechanisms and procedures. It also included specific Courses on the UN and human rights; the mechanisms of the HR-Council, the Special procedures (and how to write to thematic mandate holders); women’s rights; religious freedom; the international human rights standards; the UPR; and treaty bodies.

The morning classes of the second week were devoted to the reports submitted to the Council, the debates in the Council, and the papers of the participants. Additional Courses were given on human rights defenders; International Humanitarian, and Criminal Laws; transitional justice; and economic, social, and cultural rights. GHR trainers met individually the trainees from Ethiopia, Nigeria and Nicaragua to discuss their specific follow-up.

The recapitulation of the course and GHR course on implementation in the countries were presented during the last class on Friday 13 March. The farewell dinner with the certificates took place on Friday Evening 13 March16 trainees received a certificate.

39th Geneva Course (GSC-39)

(12 – 23 September 2016)

19 defenders attended GHR 39th Geneva Course  conducted during the 33rd session of the HR-Council

 14 defenders came from the regions: Ukraine, Belarus, Congo-DRC (3). Niger, Argentina, Colombia, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, India (Manipur), Papua (Indonesia (3).

The other participants were GHR members and interns from India, France (Réunion), Italy (2), Spain. Trainer was Adrien-Claude Zoller. A former trainee from the Philippines, Ron de Vera, participated in one morning class.

The General Course took place from 12 to 16 September, with the full-day course on Monday 12. The special courses concerned enforced disappearances; indigenous peoples, the OHCHR; the use of the special procedures; UPR and transitional justice. Additional Courses were given during the second week on the women’s rights; justice in transition; the UN and indigenous peoples; country situations in the HR-Council; Sri Lanka;  International Humanitarian Law; International Criminal Law; and treaty bodies.

Private follow-up meetings were held with the trainees from Ukraine, DRC, Sri-Lanka, Argentina, Manipur, and Papua. 17 trainees obtained their certificate.

Introduction Course to the HR-Council

(Geneva, Uni-Mail, 1 June)

Together with Vittorio Mainetti, Head of the International Relations Office of the University of Geneva, GHR conducted a one-day Introduction Course to the 32nd session of the Human Rights Council. Intended for students, interns, fellows and NGO workers going to monitor the deliberations in the Council’s session, and to advocate on specific issues, the training took place in ‘UniMailon Wednesday 1 June 2016, from 09:00 to 18:30. 

Vittorio Mainetti welcomed the 23 interns and NGO representatives present. Isabelle Gallino, Thomas Harris and Adrien-Claude Zoller introduced the five segments of the Course: the UN and human rights; the HR-Council and its mechanisms; the first ten years of the HR-Council; the tools to monitor the HR-Council (annotated agenda, programme of work, panels, interactive dialogues); and using UN mechanisms and procedures (Special procedures, treaty bodies, UPR).

Documents for the next Geneva Course

documents available GSC-42-3(Application form GSC-42 Feb.-March 2018)

42ND TRAINING COURSE FOR DEFENDERS FROM THE REGIONS
‘Course on the Human Rights Council, international human rights
and humanitarian law, international procedures and diplomacy’
(Geneva, 24 February – 10 March 2018)
p1

 

42ND TRAINING COURSE FOR DEFENDERS FROM THE REGIONS
‘Course on the Human Rights Council, international human rights
and humanitarian law, international procedures and diplomacy’
(Geneva, 24 February – 10 March 2018)
p2

43RD TRAINING COURSE FOR DEFENDERS FROM THE REGIONS
‘Course on the Human Rights Council, international human rights
and humanitarian law, international procedures and diplomacy’
(Geneva, 10-21 September 2018)

 

43RD TRAINING COURSE FOR DEFENDERS FROM THE REGIONS
‘Course on the Human Rights Council, international human rights
and humanitarian law, international procedures and diplomacy’
(Geneva, 10-21 September 2018)
p1
43RD TRAINING COURSE FOR DEFENDERS FROM THE REGIONS
‘Course on the Human Rights Council, international human rights
and humanitarian law, international procedures and diplomacy’
(Geneva, 10-21 September 2018)
p2

 

35th Geneva Course (GSC-35)

2 – 13 March 2015

17 defenders attended GHR 35th Geneva Course

conducted during the 28th session of the HR-Council

There were eleven defenders from the regions: from Cambodia (2), Taiwan, Philippines, West Papua, Nigeria, South Africa, Zambia, Brazil, Guatemala, Uruguay. The other trainees were students from Australia , Finland, Italy, Switzerland, and the USA (2).

The General Course took place from 2 to 7 March, with the full-day class on Saturday 7 March. Special Courses were given on the work of the HR-Council; the Special procedures (and how to write to thematic mandate holders); women’s rights; religious freedom; the international human rights standards; the UPR; and treaty bodies.

During the second week, after the analysis of the reports submitted to the Council and of the Council’s debates, the trainers gave additional courses during the daily morning classes on human rights defenders and civil society; International Humanitarian Law; International Criminal Law; Transitional Justice; and economic, social, and cultural rights.

The recapitulation of the course and GHR course on implementation in the countries were presented during the last class on Friday 13 March. The farewell dinner with the certificates took place on Friday Evening 13 March. All 17 trainees received a certificate.

During the Course, GHR trainers met individually with the trainees from Cambodia, Guatemala, the Netherlands, and Uruguay to discuss their specific follow-up initiatives. The participant from Uruguay attended several meeting on human rights and environment, and the one from Guatemala met with assistant of Special Rapporteur on transitional justice.

36th Geneva Course (GSC-36)

12 – 26 June 2015

17 defenders attended GHR 36th Geneva Course

during the 29th session of the HR-Council

The 17 participants included 4 defenders from the regions: Myanmar, India (2) and Sri Lanka. Other participants were students, nationals from Spain, Italy-Morocco, Italy, France (2), Norway (2), Switzerland-Korea, Switzerland-Portugal, Switzerland (2), and the USA.

The General Course started on Friday 12 June with an introduction to human rights standards. It continued on Monday 15 June with the opening of the 29th session of the HR-Council and the course on the tools of the Council. During this first week, the trainers gave special courses on the UN and Human Rights; the use of Special Procedures; the right to freedom of expression; the UN and Freedom of Religion and Belief; the UN and Women’s Rights; the UPR; and the OHCHR.

Additional Courses during Week-2 were given on business and human rights; International Humanitarian Law; country situations and strategies; transitional justice; and implementation inside countries.

All the trainees also participated in GHR Expert Seminar on religions and gender (18 June). The trainers had individual meetings with the trainees from Burma, Sri Lanka and India. All the trainees obtained the Course’s certificate.

37th Geneva Course (GSC-37)

14 – 25 September 2015

17 defenders attended GHR 37th Geneva Course

conducted during the 30th session of the HR-Council

Thirteen defenders came from the regions: from Bosnia Herzegoniva, Namibia, Tanzania (2), Mali, Philippines (2), West Papua, Armenia (2), Nicaragua, Guatemala, Colombia. The other participants were students and members from partner organisations from Austria, Ireland, Romania, and Hungary.

The General Course took place from 14 to 18 September, with the full-day course on Tuesday 15. The special courses concerned enforced or involuntary disappearances; the OHCHR; the use of the special procedures; and the UN and women’s rights.

Additional Courses were given during the second week on the UPR; transitional justice; the UN and indigenous peoples; country situations in the HR-Council; Sri Lanka (Commissions of inquiry and OHCHR); International Humanitarian Law; International Criminal Law; and Human Rights Treaty Bodies.

 

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