Date: 5-6 June 2012
Venue: United Nations Headquarters, New York                      
In adopting the United Nations Charter in the aftermath of the Second World War, the founders of the United Nations reaffirmed their “faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, [and] in the equal rights of men and women”. While much progress has been made in terms of international governance on human rights (through, for example, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the creation of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights), human rights violations continue to occur in different pockets of the world.  In this context, it is imperative that diplomats understand relevant international institutions and legal frameworks at work to prevent and protect against human rights abuses.
Learning Objective                                                                                                    
At the end of this orientation programme, participants will be able to
  • Describe and distinguish the core institutions and mechanisms of the international human rights protection regime;
  • Analyse the human rights dimension of various negotiation areas, including development, climate change, etc.;
  • Actively participate in human-rights related negotiations at United Nations Headquarters.
Content and Structure
Taking place over two full days, the orientation programme will examine:
  • Concept of human rights and its normative framework;
  • United Nations policies on human rights;
  • Mandates and functions of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR);
  • Mandates and functions of the Human Rights Council, including the Universal Periodic Review;
  • Human rights treaty bodies, or committees of independent experts that monitor implementation of the core international human rights treaties.
As an informative face-to-face event facilitated jointly by UNITAR and OHCHR, this orientation programme features human rights lawyers from OHCHR, other international organizations and civil society. Following their presentations, participants have an opportunity to engage in in-depth discussions with the speakers. Participants also receive study materials to enhance their holistic understanding of the topic.

All participants who successfully complete the orientation programme will receive a OHCHR/UNITAR Certificate of Participation.

Targeted Audience
The orientation programme is open to members of Permanent Missions to the United Nations and other diplomats, in particular those in charge of the human rights file and who follow the work of the Human Rights Council and other relevant organs.
Working Language
The orientation programme will be conducted in english and interpretation into French will be provided to the extend possible.