As an International Association under Swiss law (in conformity with articles 60 et al. of the Swiss Civil Code), GHR obtained tax exemption status from the State of Geneva as from the financial year 2005 onwards. On 10 November 2010, the State of Geneva renewed this status for a period of 10 years. On 27 July 2009, GHR obtained Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations (ECOSOC).
GHR GENERAL ASSEMBLY
On 31 December 2015, the Association was composed of 47 individual members and 4 observers .
Twenty-one are trainers or teachers. Many participate pro bono in GHR training activities. Recently appointed members include Prof. Theo Van Boven (Netherlands, former Special Rapporteur on Torture, former member CERD); Thomas McCarthy (Ireland, former advisor OHCHR); Prof. Paolo de Stefani (Italy, Human Rights Institute and Faculty of Political Science of the University of Padova; and Félix Kirchmeier (Germany, Geneva Academy for Humanitarian Law and Human Rights).
GHR General Assembly holds its ordinary session once a year. The most recent Assemblies took place on 12 January 2006, 29 March 2007, 13 March 2008, 6 March 2009, 19 March 2010, 19 September 2010, 10 March 2011, 8 March 2012, 7 March 2013. 6 March 2014 and 5 March 2015.
Ms. Penny Parker chaired GHR 14th General Assembly of 5 March 2015. The Assembly examined and approved GHR Narrative Report 2014, the Action Plan for 2015, the Financial Report 2014 audited by the auditing firm Comtesas + Gerficom, and the budget for 2015 and 2016. The mandate of the Executive Council members was extended.
In 2015, the Executive Council was composed of the following members:
- Suhas Chakma (India)
- Alain Dick (France, member Bureau)
- Jean-Pierre Huber (Switzerland, Treasurer)
- Guillermo Kerber Mas (Uruguay)
- Ms. Penny Parker (United States of America)
- Prof. Bertrand Ramcharan (Guyana)
- Eric Revillet (Switzerland, member Bureau)
- Adrien-Claude Zoller (Switzerland, President).
In its 5 March meeting, the Council adopted the financial measures prepared by its Bureau and the annual reports and draft for action plan, which were submitted to the Assembly on the same day.
Review of GHR programmes
The Council also held a retreat in the house of Alain Dick (Divonne-les-Bains) on 29 and 30 May 2015 to review GHR training programmes. As a main trainer of GHR, Edward Flynn was invited to this meeting, as well as the staff members and Guillermo Kerber, who was co-opted in the Executive Council.
The Council insisted on strengthening the institutional identity of GHR, which is linked to training. The talks highlighted that:
- GHR cannot be separated from its training programmes;
- GHR is a bank of knowledge, a knowledge-based organisation;
- GHR is a school for human rights training;
- the perspectives of the victims is key (their needs and priorities; and teaching together with listening to them);
- The Geneva Courses remain GHR core activity;
- The follow-up activities are critical, and GHR is better in implementation;
- GHR should make a better use of modern technologies.
The Council decided that, as from 2016 the implementation programme (INP) and In-Country Courses will be merged; the new programme will be based upon the need for implementation of all the UN, international and regional recommendations (Special procedures, treaty bodies, UPR, UN programmes); models will be elaborated for public policies and national plans of action.
GHR Secretariat has three Departments: the Global Training Department (GTP), the Department of Human Rights Policy Studies (HPS) and the Technical Department. Since 2010, the bookkeeping is entrusted to an external accountant, Mr. Cesar Mercado.
The employment of the two paid employees, Ms. Danica Finger (full-time) and Nicolas Zoller (part-time) ended at the end of the first Semester. Since then, GHR Secretariat continued to work with volunteers only.
At the end of June 2015, Danica Finger took a position in the Justice Rapid Response (JRR), an inter-governmental initiative in Geneva to bolster the implementation of criminal law. Danica Finger is available on her field of expertise: she became a member of GHR.
And Nicolas Zoller announced his decision to continue working ‘pro bono’ for GHR Secretariat (planning, organization, informatics).
Senior Management Team
Since 2008, GHR Secretariat is directed under the authority of the Bureau by the Senior Management Team (SMT), which meets once a week. The SMT is composed of the Head of the Departments and a few long-term interns. During the first Semester 2015, the permanent SMT members were Adrien-Claude Zoller (Coordinator GTP), Danica Finger (Secretariat Coordinator) and Nicolas Zoller (Coordinator Technical Department).
For the 2nd Semester, our main challenge was to ensure GHR training activities without our paid staff. This was done by involving more interns in our SMT: for the July-August period: Ms. Melanie Chaves (Portugal), Eivind Digranes (Norway), and Quentin Fayet (Switzerland); for the August-September period: Ms. Andreea Uluceanu (Romania) and Ms. Noémi Pénzes (Hungary); and for the October-December period Ms. Ruth Moore (Ireland).
To further reduce the expenses of the Administration, on 17 December 2015 GHR Secretariat moved to the Ecumenical Centre in Geneva.