15 October 2020, 09:00-18:00
GHRP Annual Conference
Olivier Chamard/Geneva Academy
The Conference panels are organised in partnership with:
Building on the 2019 Annual Conference which explored the connectivity of human rights mechanisms within the United Nations (UN) human rights system, the 2020 Annual Conference of the Geneva Human Rights Platform will focus on the connectivity between regional and global human rights mechanisms. It will also discuss relevant links with national systems and the overall effectiveness of these interactions in a number of specific policy areas like climate change, the fight against corruption or the COVID-19 pandemic.
The conference will bring together a large number of human rights actors from Geneva and beyond and will offer a platform for exchange, notably on co-organized panels in the afternoon and via a ‘meeting space’ during the lunch break.
The modern human rights protection system is comprised of an intricate and disparate web of UN and regional treaties and oversight mechanisms. The last half-century has seen the promulgation of a large number of international and regional human rights instruments, including numerous multilateral UN human rights treaties and the various conventions and protocols of the regional human rights systems.
The plurality of instruments, institutions and actors, which constitute the fabric of the modern human rights ‘system’, and the rich development of human rights standards and oversight mechanisms since the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, raise important challenges to the functioning of the system as a cohesive ‘whole’. In fact, while human rights are conceived by definition as universal, the proliferation of human rights norms and mechanisms at the global and regional levels raises not only significant potential for substantive complementarity and overlap, hence reinforcing mutual efforts, but also a danger of incoherence and redundancy of effort, confusion and fatigue. As such, it is important to address a number of key questions:
To explore these issues, the programme will highlight different aspects of connectivity, focusing on the question of how the mechanisms deal with them and in which ways they are and could contribute to ongoing debates.
The conference is organized around three plenary panels and four simultaneous working groups.
Parallel sessions in four working groups will explore how regional and global human rights mechanisms address particular concrete policy areas:
The concluding plenary will focus on lessons learned and outlook on how connectivity between global and regional human rights mechanisms can be strengthened in concrete areas.
Due to restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic, the conference will follow a hybrid format.
The morning plenary sessions can be followed in Geneva or online, while the afternoon's working groups and the concluding plenary will be exclusively online.
Those participating online will be able to interact with panelists and ask questions during the discussions.
Registration deadline extended to 11 October 2020, due tu continued demand, via this Google Form to attend the various sessions of the conference – plenaries and working groups – and indicate, for each session, whether you wish to follow it in Geneva or online.
Please note that, due to sanitary measures related to COVID-19 pandemic, places in Geneva are limited and will be allocated on a ‘first come first served’ basis.
Registered participants will be informed ahead of the conference whether they will be able to follow it online or in Geneva.
The Geneva Human Rights Platform (GHRP) provides a neutral and dynamic forum of interaction in Geneva for all stakeholders in the field of human rights to debate topical issues and challenges related to the functioning of the Geneva-based human rights system. Relying on academic research and findings, it works to enable various actors to be better connected, break silos, and, hence, advance human rights.
As a ‘Mechanisms Lab’, the GHRP supports the international community to engineer solutions to ensure the sustainable functioning of the Geneva-based human rights mechanisms and bodies, allowing them to address human rights challenges effectively.
Welcome and introductory remarks at the 2020 Annual Conference of the Geneva Human Rights Platform by Marie-Laure Salles, Director of the Graduate Institute; Jürg Lauber, Ambassador, Permanent Mission of Switzerland to the UN Office and other International Organizations in Geneva; Gloria Gaggioli, Director of the Geneva Academy; Felix Kirchmeier, Executive Director of the Geneva Human Rights Platform.
In plenary panels experts, practitioners, diplomats, civil society representatives, members of global and regional human rights mechanisms, as well as the staff of international organizations – notably discussed the overall effectiveness of these interactions, including in a number of specific policy areas like climate change, the fight against corruption or the COVID-19 pandemic.
During an online expert meeting hosted by the Geneva Human Rights Platform, more than 20 UN Special Rapporteurs and members of UN working groups, as well as OHCHR staff, civil society representatives and lawyers explored how the impact of UN Special Procedures’ visits, recommendations and inquiries can be effectively measured and evaluated.
Two years have passed since the adoption of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Peasants and Other People Working in Rural Areas. On this occasion, we are launching, together with the International Land Coalition, an easy-to-use manual that looks into how this historical declaration can be used to protect the right to land.
UN Photo / Jean-Marc Ferré
This online event – co-organized with the Polish Institute of International Affairs (PISM) and the Embassy of Switzerland in Poland – will discuss the Council’s membership and internal dynamics, as well as selected mechanisms.
This short course, which can be followed in Geneva or online, analyses the main international and regional norms governing the international protection of refugees. It notably examines the sources of international refugee law, including the 1951 Geneva Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, and their interaction with human rights law and international humanitarian law.
This short course, which can be followed in Geneva or online, focuses on the specific issues that arise in times of armed conflict regarding the respect, protection and fulfilment of human rights. It addresses key issues like the applicability of human rights in times of armed conflict; the possibilities of restricting human rights under systems of limitations and derogations; and the extraterritorial application of human rights law.
We are a partner of the Human Rights, Big Data and Technology Project, housed at the University of Essex’s Human Rights Centre, which aims to map and analyse the human rights challenges and opportunities presented by the use of big data and associated technologies. It notably examines whether fundamental human rights concepts and approaches need to be updated and adapted to meet the new realities of the digital age.
The Geneva Human Rights Platform collaborates with a series of actors to reflect on the implementation of international human rights norms at the local level and propose solutions to improve uptake of recommendations and decisions taken by Geneva-based human rights bodies at the local level.