Geneva Human Rights Platform Expands Training Hub with New Courses in 2023

18 September 2023

During the summer, the Geneva Human Rights Platform (GHRP) introduced two innovative courses to enhance its Training Hub offerings. These courses delve into the realm of international human rights standards and system – with a specific emphasis on strategies for monitoring and implementation at the national level –and into business and human rights. Participants could participate either in person in Geneva or online.

The development and structure of these courses were meticulously crafted, drawing from valuable feedback from previous courses’ participants and various stakeholders who expressed a keen interest in deepening their expertise in these subjects.

‘The Training Hub aims at enabling human rights stakeholders – government representatives, staff of NGOs, UN agencies, or other national or international organizations, but also representatives of academia or the business world – to meaningfully engage with all UN human rights mechanisms, and at equipping them with the necessary tools to address human rights challenges in their professional capacity’ says Felix Kirchmeier, Executive Director of the Geneva Human Rights Platform.

‘As such, we strive to diversify and expand our offer and to adapt to recent developments in the field’ he adds.

Exploring International Human Rights Standards and Systems: Strategies for Monitoring and Implementation

The International Human Rights Standards and System: Monitoring and Implementation Strategies at the National Level training course took place from 3 to 7 July 2023, and was hosted both at Villa Moynier and online. It attracted a diverse cohort of 19 participants hailing from 17 different countries with diverse professional backgrounds, including government representatives, staff of NGOs and national human rights institutions, and academics.

Designed as a complementary course to the regular Universal Periodic Review (UPR) course, it provided an in-depth exploration of the UN human rights system as a whole, examining its various mechanisms and how they complement each other to ensure state compliance and accountability.

Under the guidance of Miloon Kothari, the course featured sessions led by experts in the field, including members of the UN treaty bodies and special procedures, as well as other UN specialized agencies working in the area of human rights. Additionally, participants had the opportunity to observe the proceedings of the UN Human Rights Committee and UN Human Rights Council and then debrief on the work of these mechanisms.

‘This course's comprehensive and practical approach, featuring experts from the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), UN agencies, civil society, National Human Rights Institutions, and UN treaty bodies provided a well-rounded view of the international human rights system. Moreover, the training included hands-on exercises that allowed us to apply our knowledge in practical scenarios. In summary, this training is essential for human rights professionals seeking a deeper understanding of international human rights standards and their real-world application’ explains Ahmed Badr, Human Rights Adviser at the Danish Institute for Human Rights.

A second edition of this course will take place from 8 to 12 July 2024. Applications will open soon.

In-Depth Exploration of Business and Human Rights

From 4 to 8 September 2023, the Business and Human Rights training course attracted 14 participants from the governmental, civil society and business sectors who attended either in Geneva or online. Over the course of a week, they delved into the critical issue of business and human rights and how to use the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights to advance the concept of business respect for human rights throughout the UN system.

Led by two renowned experts in this field – Anita Ramasastry and Tara van Ho – the course also featured interventions by experts from OHCHR, UN special procedures, UN treaty bodies, the International Labour Organisation, business and human rights multi-stakeholder initiatives, human-rights related agencies and civil society. Practical exercises allowed participants to put into practice the knowledge and insights gained during the week.

‘We are deliberately keeping our courses to small numbers of participants to ensure the excellence of teaching with attention to each and every participant. This also allows us to organize meaningful exchanges with Geneva-based experts and practitioners’ explains Stefania Di Stefano, Project Officer at the GHRP.

‘As a sustainability professional, I have thoroughly enjoyed the course. It was exactly that immersion and grounding into international law that I expected. Outstanding teaching by course instructors was paired with an impressive lineup of guest speakers from all over the international human rights institutions. Completing the course will help me be regarded as a skilful professional in business and human rights when engaging with policy-makers and multilateral organizations’ says Margarita Lysenkova, Senior Manager of International Policy at the Global Reporting Initiative.

A second edition of this course will take place in 2024.

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