Ms. Penny Parker (Brussels) chaired the 18th Assembly of Geneva for Human Rights – Global Training (GHR), which took place on Wednesday 26 June 2019.
The Assembly heard analytical comments sent by Prof. Theo Van Boven (Netherlands) and by Dr. Gustavo Gallon (Colombia) on GHR annual narrative report 2018, and reviewed GHR training programmes and projects. The Assembly approved the annual report and outlined the objectives for several ongoing projects of GHR to promote a better human rights implementation in the field (projects on indigenous peoples, enforced disappearance, freedom of religion or belief, on Botswana and on West Papua).
The Assembly deliberations focused on the ongoing trends in the UN human rights machinery. Members present raised concerns at the current attacks by member States on the special procedures (strong personal attacks on certain mandate-holders, cuts in the budgets), at the shrinking space for NGOs in the UN debates (including NGOs side-events interrupted by diplomats from hard-liner States), at the growing pressure on the UN treaty monitoring bodies. Some speakers highlighted that the UPR had become a top priority for all stakeholders, that there was apparently no financial constraints to UPR, and that many OHCHR staff were dealing with the reports, whilst Special Rapporteurs and treaty bodies have not enough staff support. Others noted that a growing number of States with negative human rights records succeeded in getting elected in the Human Rights Council.
The Assembly called upon GHR staff to follow closely these trends, and decided to initiate a brainstorming process on these developments. A first meeting with experts and NGOs took place on 19 August in the Ecumenical Centre, Geneva.
The Assembly also renewed the mandate to the members of GHR Executive Council, which is composed of: Alain Dick (Manila), Suhas Chakma (Delhi), Thomas Harris (Jersey), Jean-Pierre Huber (Treasurer, Geneva), Prof. Bertrand Ramcharan (Geneva / New York), Ms. Tiffany Pagès (Lausanne), Ms. Penny Parker (Brussels), Eric Revillet (Geneva), Mr. Nicolas Zoller (Geneva) and Mr. Adrien-Claude Zoller (Geneva, President).