Keep the dates !
1. The Geneva Courses 2016 (GSC):
The two-week ‘Training Courses on the Human Rights Council, international human rights and humanitarian law, international procedures and diplomacy’ (hereafter ‘Geneva Courses‘) are conducted by GHR at each ordinary session of the HR-Council.
Providing intensive and interactive training, the Geneva Courses are unique. 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, GHR HPS Department assists the trainees in the HR-Council.
GSC-38: 27 February – 11 March 2016 (31st session of the HR-Council);
GSC-39: 13 – 24 June 2016 (32nd session of the HR-Council);
GSC-40: 12 – 23 September 2016 (33rd session of the HR-Council).
The Courses are in English and intended for 25 participants. The budget for each Course includes the expenses for five defenders from the regions (human rights organizations and national institutions). In principle, their travel expenses have to be covered by their own organization and/or sponsor. GHR welcomes other trainees from the regions whose sponsors cover all their expenses. Depending on the number of selected trainees, the Geneva Courses are also open to member of NGO delegations, attending the HR-Council.
Geneva Course for French speaking defenders
GHR also wants to train French speaking defenders in the Geneva Course. However, to welcome French speaking trainees in the English-speaking Course would be expensive as we would have to hire interpreters for 2 weeks and to rent a room with interpretation facilities.
This is why GHR prefers to conduct a special Geneva Course in French. GHR is looking for donors to realize such a Course. The Course shall be confirmed as soon as it receives funding for the Course or confirmation of scholarships for a minimum of 8 trainees. The expected expenses for such a Course are not included in GHR project.
Still, as in previous years, GHR remains available to conduct an additional On-Demand-Course for French-speaking defenders, including for a group from the same country, preferably a three to five days Course during a session of the HR-Council.
Annual Geneva Course on International Humanitarian Law
Each Geneva Course already contains a class on International Humanitarian Law (IHL) standards and implementation. GHR also realized two Expert Seminars on IHL.
After the 32nd Conference of the Red Cross, and in view of the massive breaches of IHL in many internal and regional conflicts, it remains necessary to inform and sensitize those attending human rights sessions in Geneva. GHR receives many requests on IHL, and it decided to conduct an annual 2-days Course on IHL (December 2016).
2. GHR Courses and briefings during UPR (GSS-UPR)
Created by the founding resolution of the HR-Council (2006), the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) is a unique and additional tool for human rights implementation, at least in those States genuinely cooperating (even partially) with the mechanism. The UPR is a review of States by States. The OHCHR summarizes NGOs reports in an official document for the debate on each country. In addition, NGOs have to participate in the critical follow-up: implementation inside the country of the recommendations accepted by the State.
GHR was actively involved in the creation of a specialized NGO, ‘UPR.Info’. It has a specific Course on UPR. In the Geneva Courses and in many In-Country Courses, GHR explains the possible civil society contributions in all the stages of the UPR process, as well as the strategies to ensure that UPR recommendations are implemented.
WG UPR – 24th session (January 2016)
(Namibia, Niger, Mozambique, Estonia, Paraguay, Belgium, Denmark, Palau, Somalia, Seychelles, Solomon Islands, Latvia, Sierra Leone, Singapore).
WG UPR – 25th session (May 2016)
(Suriname, Greece, Samoa, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Sudan, Hungary, Papua New Guinea, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Antigua and Barbuda, Swaziland, Trinidad and Tobago, Thailand, Ireland).
WG UPR – 26th session (October – November 2016)
(Togo, Syria, Venezuela, Iceland, Zimbabwe, Lithuania, Uganda, Timor Leste, Moldova, Haiti, South Sudan).
3. Training Fellowship Fund for Defenders from the Regions (TFD
Since 2006, GHR has a special Fund entitled ‘Training Fellowship Fund for Defenders from the Regions’ (TFD) to provide fellowships to defenders from the regions to be trained in the Geneva Courses. A fellowship covers the expenses related to the participation in the 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 recommendations of GHR partners. The objective for 2016 is to obtain 9 fellowships.
4. Training diplomats
GHR has experience in training diplomats. From 2003 to 2006, it actively participated in seven Courses organized by the International Seminar for Diplomats (ISD) of the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva. More recently, GHR provided diplomats from several African and Pacific countries with briefings.
New diplomats posted in Geneva face a series of problems. One the one hand, there is no institutional memory in the UN, and briefings about past studies and decisions are critical for them, to resist attempts of certain States to challenge UN achievements. On the other hand, the complexity of the rules of procedures increased with the creation of the HR-Council, and hard-liners States have developed an expertise in the use of these procedures. In 2016 and 2017, GHR would like to conduct two Courses:
a Course for Small Islands States and LDCs. The UN General Assembly created a fund for training diplomats from these nations. The UN received the first contributions at the end of 2013. Therefore, the project is further discussed with OHCHR.
a Course for diplomats from the European Union, other European States and (several) Latin American States, with the aim to contribute to the strengthening of their negotiating capacity in the HR-Council.
5 Implementation – Action Plan 2016
(a) In-Country Courses
First step in the strategy of GHR at the country level is to conduct In-Country Courses. They are organized jointly with a partner, and conducted by one GHR trainer. Other trainers are local experts, often former GHR trainees in the Geneva Courses. Local partners select the participants. To reduce the costs and to reach defenders outside the capitals, GHR often gives two consecutive Courses in the country, or sometimes in two neighboring countries. With its partners, GHR is currently preparing the following Courses for 2016:
Action Plan – In-Country and In-Region Courses 2016
• Course in Nepal on the protection of defenders;
• Course in Tanzania on the use of UN mechanisms;
• Course in Namibia on international procedures;
• Courses in Guatemala and Colombia (with the Colombian Commission of Jurists).
• Annual regional Course for Asian indigenous representatives (with ‘Asian Center for Human Rights’, ACHR, Delhi, November).
(b) Implementation Programme
Colombia, Mexico, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Burundi, Papua, Botswana and Morocco remain our priorities for 2016. To make a difference in these countries, GHR needs additional resources to ensure regular training activities, as it has been the case for the Mexico Programme from 2004 to 2008. In the absence of such a (substantial) funding, GHR shall continue to prioritize these countries in the selection of the trainees for our Geneva Courses and in the organization of In-Country Courses.
Action Plan – In-Country and In-Region Courses 2016