Global Training

Briefing Session with trainees of the Geneva Course during HR Council, in the NGO Room, Palais des Nations, UNOG, Geneva

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

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).

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.

2.  GENEVA SPECIFIC SEMINARS DURING THE UPR

The Universal Periodic Review (UPR) is an important additional tool to implement human rights inside countries. GHR elaborated a specific training scheme, covering all the stages of UPR process: contribution to the State’s report; preparation of the stakeholders’ reports; review of the country in the Working group; adoption of the report by the Group, and then by the HR-Council; follow-up in each country. GHR also actively supported the creation of UPR-Info, a documentation and communication tool for the stakeholders.

In its Courses, GHR explains the potential NGO contribution. It teaches the long-term perspectives, the cooperation with the States, the use of the recommendations of the special procedures, treaty bodies and UPR, to implement all rights in each country. Obviously, each UPR Course on has to address the specificity of the situation in each country.

As many NGO coalitions come to Geneva to attend the review of their country, GHR offers briefings and orientation at each UPR session.

3. TRAINING FELLOWSHIP FUND FOR DEFENDERS FROM THE REGIONS

Since 2006, GHR has a special Training Fellowship Fund for Defenders from the Regions to offer fellowships to be trained in the Geneva Courses. A fellowship for a defender from the regions covers the registration fees for the Geneva Course, the travel expenses to and from Geneva, and the cost of living in Geneva. GHR Executive Council and its Bureau award the scholarships following the recommendations of GHR advisors and partners. In 2016, the Ebert Foundation (Geneva), UEM (Wuppertal), Misereor (Aachen), and the European Human Rights Advocacy Centre (EHRAC) contributed to the Fund. Five fellowships were awarded to trainees from Angola, Ethiopia, Congo-DRC, Argentina, and Ukraine.

4. PERMANENT REPRESENTATION IN GENEVA OR NGO’S FROM THE REGIONS

The HR-Council meets practically in permanently in Geneva, with every year three ordinary sessions, three UPR sessions, special sessions, working groups on major issues. NGOs and defenders cannot each time undertake the expensive trip to Geneva. Thus, their effective participation in the work of the Council necessitates a permanent presence in Geneva.

5. IN-COUNTRY AND IN-REGION COURSES

Because of lack of funding, the only training activities conducted in the regions in 2016 were Forum Asia’s Anniversary in Bangkok and the Congress of the Dominicans in Salamanca.

Program No. 2     Implementation Now ! (INP)

GHR has a special programme to promote the implementation of human rights in specific countries through training, mediation, advisory services and teaching strategies. GHR has launched three new projects have been launched in 2016.

GHR Mexico project: learning from our experience

At the request of the Mexican Ministry of Interior, with the support of the Swiss Ministry of Foreign Affairs (FDFA), GHR contributed to the elaboration and to the implementation of the first stages of Mexico’s national Programme for human rights (2004-2008). As Mexico joined the OECD, development funds were no longer available. The FDFA phased-down its Mexico Programme (2007) and the Swiss Federal Council stressed the importance of GHR work:

Switzerland will be withdrawing from its commitment in Mexico at the end of 2007. The process described above has made a significant contribution towards the urgently required implementation of a uniform national plan for the promotion of human rights. The fact that a Swiss human rights organisation has successfully acted as mediator between civil society and government and supported the Mexican Ministry of the Interior through the provision of expertise represents a good example for implementing similar projects in other countries’.

(FDFA, ‘Peace and human rights in Switzerland’s foreign policy – Report 2006’

approved by the Swiss Federal Council on 15 June 2007, p. 18)

Our Mexico project was evaluated (2007) to learn from this experience and elaborate similar projects in other countries. GHR launched activities in Colombia, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Timor Leste, (West) Papua, Burundi, Tunisia, Botswana and Morocco. Our Geneva Courses offer a unique opportunity for defenders from the regions to elaborate implementation strategies, in which all the UN recommendations, of UPR, special procedures, treaty bodies, are critical.

GHR new study project on implementation

 On the proposal of Prof. Bertrand Ramcharan, GHR General Assembly of 15 March 2016 discussed the weak implementation of the UN human rights programme. The Assembly decided to launch a study project on the contribution of UN institutions, mechanisms and procedures to the strengthening of the domestic human rights protection mechanisms.

Our staff members Isabelle Galino and Thomas Harris drafted the outline and a questionnaire, sent to GHR partners and former trainees to assess the impact in their country of UN human rights programme, and the interaction between Government and civil society. The questionnaire is short. The study covers the period 2000 – 2015. Priority countries were selected, where GHR partners and former trainees are involved in human rights work:

  • Latin America: Colombia, Guatemala, Mexico;
  • Africa: Angola, Tanzania, Mozambique, Tunisia, Morocco;
  • Asia: Sri Lanka, India, Pakistan, West Papua (Indonesia), Kazakhstan;
  • Europe: Hungary, Romania, Armenia; and Switzerland, Germany.

GHR project on (West) Papua

As a training organisation, GHR trained many human rights defenders from Papua in its Geneva Courses. It also conducted training courses within Papua on how to document human rights abuses and to make use of UN human rights mechanisms and procedures. Our trainees prepare reports on cases of violations, following which we advise them and their organisations on the best way to submit their communications to UN bodies. In 2016, three defenders from Papua participated in the Geneva Course of September 2016.

GHR has been shocked by the massive human rights violations occurring in the Papua province since its integration into Indonesia in 1949. Since 2002, together with dozens of human rights organisations and church institutions from Europe and Australia, GHR participates in the International Coalition for Papua (ICP), which issues human rights reports and advocates for peaceful improvement of the situation. In 2016, GHR participated in the two Coordination Board meetings of the Coalition, in The Hague (23-24 May) and Wuppertal (21-22 November). In 2016, in view of the rapidly deteriorating situation there, GHR has launched a special project on Papua to promote a stronger campaign in the UN bodies.

GHR project on enforced disappearance

 For GHR, the crime of enforced disappearances has always been a priority. Several GHR members were actively involved in the creation in 1980 of the first UN mechanism on this crime, the Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances (WGEID) and in the drafting of the Declaration on the Protection of all Persons from Enforced Disappearances (adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1992).

GHR also participated in the negotiations on the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance (ICED), which was adopted by the General Assembly on 20 December 2006.

With the Convention entering into force on 23 December 2010, the Committee on Enforced Disappearances (CED) became the most recent treaty monitoring body. GHR monitored all the eleven sessions of the CED and realized in 2012, 2013 and 2014 three Experts Meetings with both the CED and the WGEID.

Program No. 3      Training Specific Stakeholders (TSS)

In 2016, GHR gave lectures and briefings during conferences and for specific partners.