GHR’s ‘Geneva Course 2020’ – Training During The HR Council

From Monday 24 February to Friday 6 March 2020, Geneva for Human Rights – Global Training (GHR) conducts its 46th Geneva Course for defenders from the regions. The Course takes place during the 43rd session of the UN Human Rights Council (24 February – 20 March 2020).


GHR is an international training organization. To contribute to human rights implementation in the countries, GHR trains human rights NGOs, defenders, and all those involved in human rights at national level. Aim is to empower them in the use of domestic, regional and international human rights procedures, as well as to elaborate and realize implementation strategies.

                                                                                                                                                              Since the creation of the UN Human Rights Council (‘HR-Council’) in 2006, GHR conducted its Geneva Course during most of the ordinary sessions of the HR-Council. In recent years, GHR also organized with its partners in the field dozens of (3-4 days) in-Country Courses for defenders in Colombia, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Russia, Botswana, Kenya, Bangladesh, Indonesia (Papua), Pakistan, Nepal, India, and Sri-Lanka.

                                                                                                                                                              GHR also gives Geneva briefings (especially for national NGOs coalitions) during sessions of the treaty bodies and of the Working group on the Universal Periodic Review (UPR). It convenes Experts Seminars on the main issues on the agenda of the HR-Council.


The Geneva Course is an interactive and intensive training taking place during the ordinary session of the HR-Council. Trainees acquire basic knowledge in international human rights, humanitarian and criminal laws; transitional justice; inter-governmental organisations (IGOs); the UN, its structure, its reform and the role of its main organs; the trends in international relations; the functioning of the HR-Council and its mechanisms; the human rights standard setting process; and human rights treaty bodies.

                                                                                                                                                              With the wide training experience of its trainers in Geneva, GHR Geneva Courses are unique. They combine the theory, the exchanges on the experience of the participants (field situations) and the exposure to the multilateral reality, which the trainees monitor. Composed of its researchers and interns from different universities, GHR Department of Human Rights Policy Studies (HPS) assists the trainees during the HR-Council’s session.


The Geneva Courses are part of GHR Programme ‘Participation of the Regions in the Human Rights Council’, promoting a full and effective participation of defenders from the regions in the work of the HR-Council. This is essential for the quality of the HR-Council deliberations. Priority in the selection is given to defenders and NGOs from the regions. GHR also welcomes members of national and regional NGOs delegations already based in Geneva to attend the HR-Council’s session, and trainees from regional and international human rights organisations having their seat or representation at the UN Office in Geneva.


The Course takes place in Geneva during the 43rd HR-Council’s session. It has two parts: the General Course (Week-1) on the international system; and the Course on the proceedings of the Council (Week-2) with daily morning classes to discuss the debates in the HR-Council (which the trainees monitor), to learn drafting communications to the UN special procedures, and to analyze the reports submitted by the Experts and the Office of the High Commissioner (OHCHR), whose summaries will be presented by the trainers.


General Course focuses on the following themes: an overview of international human rights law, humanitarian and criminal law; justice in periods of transition; international relations; the UN mechanisms and procedures; the work of the HR-Council and of the OHCHR; the use of the Special Procedures, treaty bodies and UPR; and the strategies to foster human rights implementation inside the countries. Specific Courses will also be given on transitional justice, women’s and indigenous peoples’ rights, and the protection of human rights defenders. This part of the Course includes a full-day Course on Tuesday 25 February.


During the morning classes, the trainers will introduce and analyze most of the thematic reports submitted to the 43rd session of the HR-Council by OHCHR and the Special Rapporteurs (such as freedom of religion or belief; human rights and counter-terrorism; torture; environment and human rights; adequate housing; human rights defenders; minority issues; sales of children; cultural rights, foreign debt), as well as themes of High-Level Panels and country reports (such as those on Iran, North Korea, Myanmar, Palestine and Syria, Central African Republic, and Mali).

The Geneva Course will end with GHR Course on human rights implementation in the countries (MDG’s, national plans, technical assistance, NGOs strategies inside the countries), the assessment and follow-up, and the general recapitulation of the Course.

To obtain the Course’s certificate, trainees have to comply with several tasks: reading reports submitted to the HR-Council, drafting a country paper, reporting on the HR-Council debates, and a communication to the UN thematic procedures; there are two written tests.


  1. Deadline for applications is Friday 7 February 2020. GHR wishes to train trainers. It therefore requests a recommendation from the NGO and/or network of the applicant. Please note that obtaining a Schengen visa takes time, make sure to apply for your visa in advance.
  • Participants should arrive in Geneva on Sunday 23 February 2020. They will leave Geneva on Saturday 7 March 2020.
  • Tuition fees for the Course is 1’200.- Swiss francs, CHF. Applicants from the regions having no sponsor may request a reduction for the registration fees (500.- CHF).
  • It is a 2-week Course. Accommodation and living expenses in Geneva often constitutes an obstacle for defenders from the regions to attend the entire session of the Council. For two weeks in Geneva, expenses are estimated 1’590.00 CHF.

documents to download

GHR GTP GSC 46-1_Geneva Course 2020-02_24-03-06-during HRC 34th-Presentation

GHR GTP GSC 46-2_Geneva Course 2020-02_24-03-06-during HRC 34th-Program

GHR GTP GSC 46-3_Geneva Course 2020-02_24-03-06-during HRC 34th-Application Form

GHR GTP GSC 46-4_Geneva Course 2020-02_24-03-06-during HRC 34th-Estimated Expenses