Launch of the first training course for National Human Rights Institutions on the International Human Rights System

5 – 9 May 2014, Geneva(Switzerland) –UNITAR is contributing to the implementation of a five-day training course on international Human Rights Mechanisms. The training course – developed by the Friedrich Ebert Foundation (FES), the International Coordination Committee of National Human Rights Institutions (ICC NHRIs) and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), with the support of UNITAR – is addressed to staff of the NHRIs from all regions of the worldandaimed at increasing NHRIs’ awareness of, and participation in, the United Nations Human Rights Mechanisms.

National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs) are independent institutions of the state with a constitutional or legislative mandate to protect and promote human rights in accordance with the Paris Principles. These institutions have a significant and unique role to play– now widely recognized by the international community –  in bridging the gap between international and national human rights mechanisms hence strengthening Human Rights on the ground. Nowadays over 100 National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs), encompassing around 5000 human rights experts, operate around the world.

This recognition increased the opportunities for NHRIs to contribute to the promotion and protection of Human Rights at the international level, playing a role in the discussions held at the level of the UN General Assembly, the UN Human Rights Council and its processes and of the UN treaty bodies.

To maximize the outcomes of this participation and contribution, the training strengthens NHRIs’ capacity to effectively engage with United Nations Human Rights mechanisms at all stages including reporting, participation in meetings and follow up in the respective country. With these objectives in mind, the training course has been designed, in collaboration with UNITAR,  to expand NHRI's staff knowledge on the functioning of UN Human Rights mechanisms; identify concrete opportunities for NHRIs’ effective engagement, also via the participation to sessions of UN Human Rights mechanisms; engaging discussions with colleagues from other countries, with the OHCHR and NGOs as well as with states; and share and exchange experiences and best practices with peer NHRIs participating in the training.

NHRIs representatives from 16 different countries – from Colombia to the Philippines – are taking part in the training and will be able, at the end of it, to: outline the functioning of UN Human Rights mechanisms; identify concrete opportunities for NHRIs’ effective engagement; illustrate practical ways of effective engagement with the UN mechanisms, such as reporting and follow up; and discuss experiences and best practices with peer NHRIs participating the training.

UNITAR, FES and ICC NHRIs are currently exploring possibilities to further strengthen this fruitful training partnership.