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23 January - 1 February 2019
Application start 8 August 2018
Application end 23 January 2019
Fee: 1150 Swiss Francs

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Optimizing the Human Rights Council: At the Interplay Between Law and Politics

General view of the room XX and delegates during of the High Level Segment of the 31st Session at the Human Rights Council, Geneva, Switzerland, February 29, 2016 General view of the room XX and delegates during of the High Level Segment of the 31st Session at the Human Rights Council, Geneva, Switzerland, February 29, 2016

Context

This course focuses on the functioning and the mechanisms of the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Council, as well as on the dynamics at play in this major human rights body.

An interactive way of teaching empowers participants – both those who already know the HRC from inside and those who are not familiar with this multilateral world of negotiations and politics – to better understand the HRC.

Skills for Personal Effectiveness

Preparing for intense and high-level engagement during the HRC requires a deep understanding of its rules, functioning and practice. The ability to negotiate, advocate, lobby and push for issues in such a complex environment also requires a sound knowledge of the different actors and dynamics at play, as well as strong communication skills.

This course, ahead of the main HRC session, allows participants to develop their network and acquire the necessary skills to lead and perform effectively in this major forum for human rights diplomacy. It also allows them to grasp the main issues and challenges at stake.

Programme

The programme follows a strong logic of sequence and ends up with a huge Q&A session, led by a special guest. It is structured around four main themes:

1. The Functioning of the HRC

  • The functioning, rules and practice of HRC
  • The various HRC mechanisms (e.g. special sessions, commissions of inquiry, special procedures, universal periodical review)
  • The dynamics at play
  • The role and influence of individuals
  • The role, functions and influence of other actors: who does what? How does this play out in concrete terms?
  • The role of ‘satellite’ factors, such as unexpected political situations or external pressures

2. The Phenomenon of Working within and Across ‘Groupings’

  • HRC regional groups and their dynamics
  • Coalitions
  • Serving in one or more groupings
  • Tensions between bilateral/multilateral policies and HRC diplomacy, and the challenges of ensuring cohesion between these
  • Best practices and tools for juggling a complex agenda

3. Leadership in the HRC

  • Who leads what and when?
  • Is there a place for a personal leadership or group dynamics takes it all?
  • What role states, NGOs and representatives of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights play?

4. The HRC Positioning in the Overall UN Architecture

  • What position does the HRC occupy in the organigram of UN political bodies such as the General Assembly and Security Council?
  • What are the pros and cons of this position?

Optional pre-session reading materials, including links to key Geneva Academy's events on the HRC, are made available two weeks prior to the training, for background, context and introduction of key concepts.

Benefits

This course allows participants to acquire:

  • A deeper understanding of the functioning, rules and practice of the HRC
  • Key leadership skills in human rights negotiations, advocacy and lobbying
  • First-hand insights into HRC dynamics, in an informal and non-partisan environment
  • Enhanced knowledge of the various actors intervening in the HRC and its different mechanisms (e.g. special sessions, commissions of inquiry, special procedures, universal periodical review)

Lecturers

Lecturers include Geneva Academy experts, renowned academic scholars, as well as senior professionals from international organizations, NGOs and governments.

Methodology

The course is composed of interactive lessons, using case studies of real situations in the HRC from the last three sessions. These help participants to acquire the required knowledge, take part in discussion forums and engage with practical examples and case studies. The various sessions are designed to address cross-cutting issues and build participant skills through simulation exercises, small group breakouts and role-playing.

Throughout the course, participants interact with their peers, key HRC actors, as well as academics and experienced practitioners.

Audience

This short course forms part of the Executive Master in International Law in Armed Conflict. It is designed for professionals who already have some experience with the HRC: diplomats and experts from diplomatic missions and foreign ministries; staff from international and regional organizations working in the field of human rights; employees of governmental and non-governmental organizations, journalists or representatives of National Human Rights Institutions.

Schedule

  • Wednesday 23 January 2019, 15:30-21:00
  • Thursday 24 January 2019, 13:15-15:15
  • Friday 25 January 2019, 13:15-15:15
  • Wednesday 30 January 2019, 15:30-17:30
  • Thursday 31 January 2019, 15:30-17:30
  • Friday 1 February 2019, 13:15-15:15

Certificate

Participants obtain a certificate at the end of the course (no ECTS credits are gained) during a certifying small ceremony at the end. A minimum of 80 percent of presence is required to obtain the certificate.

Accommodation

Participants can request on-campus accommodation via the online application form. Due to the limited places available, accommodation is not guaranteed. Participants seeking on-campus accommodation are encouraged to request it as soon as possible.

How to Apply

Applications for this short course must be submitted via the online form. If you encounter problems with your application, do not hesitate to contact us.

Your application will need to include:

  • A short motivation letter (no more than one page)
  • Your curriculum vitae
  • Proof of your competence in English (a certificate or statement highlighting your solid background in English)
  • A valid copy of your visa or residence permit (only applicants who require a visa to enter the Schengen area)

Once admitted to the course, external participants receive instructions on how to pay. Proof of payment is required before you begin the course.

Professors and Lecturers

Picture of Kamelia Kemileva

Kamelia Kemileva

Special Projects Manager

Kamelia Kemileva is Special Projects Manager and Co-Coordinator of the Treaty Body Review 2020.

Picture of Thomas Unger

Thomas Unger

Co-Director of the Master in Transitional Justice, Human Rights and the Rule of Law

Thomas Unger has more than 15 year of expertise in the field of transitional justice, notably as the former Senior Adviser to the UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion of truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-recurrence.

Picture of Marc Limon

Marc Limon

Executive Director, Universal Rights Group (URG)

Picture of Christan Strohal

Christian Strohal

Ambassador, Former Vice-President of the UN Human Rights Council

Location

Villa Moynier, 120B Rue de Lausanne, Geneva

Access

Public Transport

Tram 15, tram stop Butini

Bus 1 or 25, bus stop Sécheron

Parking

Parking space is available at the Perle du Lac.

Access for People with Disabilities

Villa Moynier is accessible to people with disabilities. If you have a disability or any additional needs and require assistance in order to participate fully, please email info[at]geneva-academy.ch

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