Geneva Courses for French speaking defenders
GHR also wants to train French speaking defenders from the regions in the Geneva Course. GHR trainers teach in French, English and Spanish. But the participation of a group of French speaking trainees in the normal (English-speaking) Geneva Courses is expensive (need to rent a room with technical facilities and to hire interpreters for 2 weeks).
This is why GHR prefers to conduct once a year a specific Geneva Course in French. GHR is looking for specific donors to realize such this Course in June 2015. GHR shall confirm the Course as soon as it receives funding for the Course or confirmation of scholarships for a minimum of 8 French-speaking trainees.
Anyhow, 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 3 to 5 days Course during a session of the HR-Council.
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. GHR Executive Council created this Fund, used only for 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. More fellowships are requested for 2017 and 2018 in order to invite victims to a special Expert Seminar on Business and Human Rights.
GHR Courses and Briefings for 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. For 2015 and 2016, two Courses are under preparation:
In 2017, GHR gave lectures and briefings during conferences and for specific partners.
Course for Burmese trainees, (GCSP, Geneva, 10 April 2017)
From 25 March to 14 April 2017, the Geneva Center for Security Policy (GCSP) and the Centre for Security, Development and the Rule of Law (DCAF) conducted a Course for participants from Myanmar on International Relations and Human Security. Adrien-Claude Zoller presented two courses on Monday 10 April, respectively on Peacebuilding and social rights, and on Cultural rights (languages). The 29 were from the Government, the Army, political parties, non States actors and civil society.
Course to National Institutions , (Geneva, Palais Wilson, 3 May 2017)
As in previous years, GHR contributed to the annual Course on the international human rights system, for staff members of national institutions, convened by the Ebert Foundation, OHCHR and the Secretariat of the national institutions (GAHNRI) (Geneva, 2-6 May). Theme of GHR Course was the overview of the three pillars of the UN (peace, development, human rights), and the mechanisms of the HR-Council.
The 17 trainees came from Egypt, South Africa, Tanzania, India, Indonesia, Mongolia, Nepal, Philippines, Costa Rica, Argentina, Georgia, Ukraine and United Kingdom.
Course to UN Indigenous Fellows, (OHCHR, Geneva, 27 June 2017)
Every year, OHCHR receives in Geneva a group of indigenous representatives from all the regions to offer them a training and the opportunity to participate in the session of the EMRIP. GHR contributed again to the 2017 OHCHR Indigenous Fellowship (19 June – 14 July). On 27 June, Adrien-Claude Zoller gave GHR Course on the UN and indigenous peoples. 33 indigenous representatives attended. They came from Burundi, Chad, Congo, Kenya, Morocco, South-Africa, India, Indonesia, Pakistan, Tuvalu, Australia, Canada, USA, Russian Federation (10), Ukraine, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Guatemala (2), Ecuador, Mexico, Nicaragua, Venezuela.
GHR team preparing the Expert Seminar on Indigenous Peoples further met with several indigenous trainees to help them drafting their oral communication at the EMRIP.
Expert Meeting on the strengthening of UN treaty bodies, (Geneva, 23 & 24 May 2017)
GHR participated in the Expert meeting organized by the International Service for Human Rights (ISHR). Penny Parker presented a communication on the previous strengthening processes of the treaty monitoring bodies.
Course to students from the University of Padova, (Geneva, 19 September 2017)
Edward Flynn and Adrien-Claude Zoller gave a Course to a group of students from the University of Padova on the UN human rights programme and on the strategies of advocacy (19 September).
Webinar for the World Council of Churches, (October – November 2017)
In 2016, following a request of several members of the Churches’ Commission on International Affairs of the WCC, a first Webinar of the WCC was animated by GHR on UN human rights mechanisms and procedures. In 2017, Adrien-Claude Zoller realized four thematic Webinars, prepared and animated jointly with two staff members from the WCC, Ms. Jennifer Philpot-Nissen and Ms. Clementine Gaspar. Themes were:
- racial justice (23 October),
- religious freedom (3 November),
- women’s rights (7 November),
- children’s rights (10 November).
The summary of the Courses were sent in advance by E-mail to the participants. A video recording of the Webinar has been made and sent to the participants, so that each of them could use it in briefings to be organized locally.
Course on Minority Protection, (OHCHR, Geneva, 16 November 2017)
GHR annual Course to the minority fellows of OHCHR took place on 16 November 2017. Adrien-Claude Zoller presented a Course on the minorities in the international system since the foundation of the League of Nations. He also explained the main UN mechanisms and procedures to be used to better protect minorities.
Other briefings for stakeholders in 2017:
- Briefing to 13 students of the School of Journalism from Neuchatel Adrien-Claude Zoller on the decision-making process in the UN (21 March). GHR invited three defenders from the regions to also present their lobby experience in the UN: Ana Maria Rodriguez (Colombian Commission of Jurists), Iniyan Ilango (Forum Asia) and Wensislaus Fatubun (Papuan lobbyist).
- Tiffany Pagès, Maréva Roduit and Adrien-Claude Zoller animated the Course at the University of Geneva on the UN and human rights for 12 students of the University of California was animated by (11 April).
- On the International Day for the Victims of Torture (26 June), Adrien-Claude Zoller presented a Course on the UN action in the field of torture in a conference of NGOs held in the Geneva Welcoming Centre (CAGI).
In 2016, GHR gave lectures and briefings during conferences and for specific partners.
Course to National Institutions
(Geneva, Palais Wilson, 4 May 2016)
GHR contributed again to the annual Course on the international human rights system, of the Ebert Foundation, OHCHR and the Secretariat of the national institutions (GAHNRI) for staff of national institutions (Geneva, 2-6 May). Adrien-Claude Zoller presented the Course on the Human Rights Council and its mechanisms. Participants came from national institutions from Bolivia, Colombia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Morocco, South Africa, Uganda, Malaysia, Palestine, Timor Leste, Germany, United Kingdom, Latvia and Ukraine.
Course to students from the University of Padova
(Geneva, 9 & 10 May 2016)
As in previous years, members of GHR Senior Management Team (Isabelle Gallino, Thomas Harris and Federica Parisoli) were involved in the study trip to Geneva of a group of 30 students from the University of Padova. Adrien-Claude Zoller gave them two Courses, on 9 May (on the political trends in the HR-Council) and on 10 May (on the main thematic challenges in the HR-Council).
Human Rights Working Group of the World Council of Churches
(Geneva, 27 May 2016)
Peter Prove, Director of the Commission of the Churches on International Affairs (CCIA) of the World Council of Churches (WCC), has set-up a human rights working group composed of staff of the WCC on the strategic engagement with the UN human rights mechanisms. Hosted in the Ecumenical Centre, GHR was invited to contribute.
Prepared by Bruschweiler Patricia and Asfaw Semegnish, a first meeting with WCC staff took place on 27 May. Adrien-Claude Zoller gave an overview of the UN mechanisms. A discussion followed on the working priorities of the participants: women’s rights, rights of the child, country files, in particular Palestine, statelessness, freedom of religion, shadow reports to treaty bodies and UPR, and relations between Geneva and Brussels.
International Expert Meeting on the Human Rights Council
(Berlin, 10-11 October 2016)
The annual Expert meeting on the HR-Council, convened by the Ebert Foundation, the German Institute for Human Rights and Forum Menschenrechte took place on 10-11 October in Berlin. Theme this year was the 10th Anniversary of the HR-Council. Adrien-Claude Zoller chaired the Working groups on the migration crisis and on the role of the civil society. He also spoke at the public conference of the Monday evening devoted to the assessment of the achievement of the HR-Council.
Webinar for the World Council of Churches
(27 October 2016)
Following a request of several members of the CCIA, a first Webinar on UN human rights mechanisms and procedures was organized. The Webinar took place on 27 October 2016. It was prepared and animated by Asfaw Semegnish. The Course was given by GHR. It had four parts of 15 minutes: on the UN structure and the human rights standards; on the treaty bodies; on the Special procedures; and on the Universal Periodic Review. Each section of the Course was followed by questions and answer of the trainer.
The summary of the Course was sent in advance by E-mail to the participants. A video recording of the Webinar has been made and sent to CCIA members, so that each of them could use it in briefings to be organized locally.
Paris Colloquy on the UN system of human rights protection
(Paris, Université Paris II, Centre Panthéon, 7-8 November 2016)
On the occasion of the 50th Anniversary of the two UN Covenants, the Research Centre on Human Rights and Humanitarian Law (CRDH) and the University Panthéon-Assas (Paris II) organized on 7-8 November their 11th International Colloquy under the theme: ‘the UN system of human rights protection: assessment and future’. Many UN Rapporteurs, academics and diplomats attended this conference on the strengthening of the UN system.
During the conference, Adrien-Claude Zoller participated in the round-table on the future of the special procedures. He introduced his communication entitled: ‘The UN special procedures, origins and challenges’, describing the creation of these country and thematic procedures, the negotiations during the Vienna World Conference, the institution building of the HR-Council and the challenges for the coming years.
Course on Minority Protection
(OHCHR, Geneva, 11 & 25 November 2016)
As in previous years, GHR participated in the Course organized by OHCHR, as part of its Minorities Fellowship Programme (7-25 November). On 11 November, Adrien-Claude Zoller gave a Course on The international community and minority protection. He spoke of the historical development of minority rights: the League of Nations, the standard-setting process in the UN, the Durban processes, the 20th Anniversary of the UN Declaration of Minorities. Together with Michèle Buteau (Head Indigenous and Minority Section of OHCHR), he gave a second briefing on the concepts of indigenous peoples and of minorities (25 November).
The 12 Minority Fellows came from: India (Christian religious minority), Pakistan (Hindu religious minority), Iraq (Yezidi ethnic minority), Egypt (Christian religious minority), Bosnia Herzegovina (Polish national minority), Cameroon (Anglophone linguistic minority), Colombia (Afrodescent), Japan (Korean ethnic minority), Moldova (Roma national minority), Moldova (Russian linguistic minority), Kyrgyzstan (Uzbek ethnic minority), and Ukraine (Polish ethnic minority). At the end of the Course, they spoke at the UN Minority Forum.
Course for diplomats from Guinea
(GCSP, Geneva, 13 December 2016)
From 12 to 21 December, the Geneva Center for Security Policy (GCSP) conducted in Geneva a Course on State building for 10 diplomats from Guinea. Adrien-Claude Zoller animated the session devoted to the UN human rights mechanisms. He spoke on the usefulness for the States of the special procedures, the treaty bodies and the UPR. The discussion focused on the preparation of States reports, the role of the civil society and the public policies to follow-up on the recommendations, often with the UN support.
Other briefings for stakeholders in 2016
- Public lecture in the cycle of conferences ‘Witness’ of the Parish St.-Pie X, Geneva, on ‘Human rights, justice, resistance, challenges: vision of a defender’ (8 March).
- Briefing to a dozen students of the School of Journalism from Neuchatel by Ana Maria Rodriguez (Colombian Commission of Jurists) on her lobby experience in the UN and Adrien-Claude Zoller on the decision-making process in the UN (22 March).
- At the invitation of the Ebert Foundation, several Geneva-based NGOs, including GHR, had a brainstorming with six Syrian lawyers based in Syria and members of the Syrian League for Citizenship, visiting Geneva (6 April).
- Vittorio Mainetti and Adrien-Claude Zoller animated the Course at the University of Geneva on the UN and human rights for 20 students of the University of California was animated by (8 April).
- On 24 June, GHR gave a briefing to 7 young professionals from Ukraine on the UN human rights bodies and mechanisms. The group was on a study visit to Geneva and Switzerland (19-25 June) with the support of the Bohdan Hawrylyshyn Foundation.
In 2015, GHR gave a series of lectures and briefings during international conferences and for specific partners, in particular:
FES – OHCHR Course for NHRI staff
(Geneva, 4 May 2015)
During the Annual Course of the NHRI-ICC and the F. Ebert Foundation for the National Human Rights Institutions (NHRI), Adrien-Claude Zoller gave a Course on the treaty bodies system (Geneva, 4 May).
Courses for students of the University of Padova
(Geneva, 19 May & 21 September 2015)
In 2015, GHR conducted two courses to students from the University of Padova:
- A briefing to students from Padova on the UN human rights institutions, in particular the Office of the High Commissioner (Geneva, 19 May);
- A Course to twenty students of the University of Padova during their one-week study trip in Geneva, on the international system and the developments in the OHCHR (Geneva, 21 September). The Course focused on the international context of the decision-making in the HR-Council, the diplomatic significance of the UPR mechanism, the new role of the OHCHR, the challenges for NGOs, and the need to better listen to victims in order to prioritize implementation.
German partners’ Conference on the HR-Council
(Geneva, Palais des Nations, 5 – 6 October 2015)
GHR participated in the (annual) International Conference of the Ebert Foundation, the Forum Human Rights and the German Institute for Human Rights. Theme was: ‘Blind spots of the Human Rights Council Agenda: ways to move forward’. This expert meeting analyzed not only the HR-Council’s efficiency and effectiveness, and it focused on several challenges like climate and environment issues. Adrien-Claude Zoller chaired two panels and presented the concluding remarks of the expert meeting.
IBAHRI Course for Burmese lawyers
(Geneva, 7 October 2015)
During the training Course for Burmese lawyers conducted by the Human Rights Institute of the International Bar Association, Adrien-Claude Zoller gave a Course on the international system and on the UN human rights procedures (Graduate Institute, Geneva, 7 October).
GHR Course for the Spiritans’ JPIC
(Le Bouveret, 9 October 2015)
Edward Flynn and Adrien-Claude Zoller animated the Course of GHR on the international human rights mechanisms for the Commissions Justice, Peace and Integrity of the Creation (JPIC) of the Spiritans. The Course took place in Bouveret, Switzerland, on 9 October. Participants were JPIC Secretaries from Belgium, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.
Training on Minorities for OHCHR
(Geneva, 17 – 18 November 2015)
Adrien-Claude Zoller conducted GHR annual Course to OHCHR staff and Minority Fellows on: ‘Minority rights in the international system’.
During Day-1, he reviewed the different strategies followed by the international community to protect minorities, in the League of Nations and then in the UN. Day-2 was devoted to the current system of minority protection, in particular the Special Rapporteur, the Minority Forum, treaty bodies (especially the CERD) and the OHCHR.
The eight Fellows were from the following minorities: Uzbek (from Kyrgyzstan), Christian (Pakistan), Madeshi (Nepal), Assyrian (Iraq), Tamil (Sri Lanka), Afro-American (Colombia), Itsekiri (Nigeria), and Roma (Albania).
Other Courses and briefings for partners in 2015
- Course to Students of the University of Paris-2 (15 January 2015, CAGI, Geneva).
- Briefing to Advisors of the Dutch Parliament (16 January 2015, Geneva).
- Chairing the side-event on Tibet (16 March).
- Course for Students of the Lund University (UN Library, 25 March 2015).
- Briefing on the UN human rights institutions for the School of Journalists of Neuchâtel (Palais des Nations, 27 March).
- Lecture for religious congregations (Nijmegen, 14 July). Lecture at the University of Nijmegen to 22 members of religious congregations.
- Brainstorming on the future strategy of Forum Asia (19 November 2015).
- Conference on the advocacy strategy on the situation in Laos for the Alliance for Democracy in Laos (Swiss Press Club, 3 December 2015, 120 participants).