MENA Academics and Human Rights Defenders Trained on the Geneva-Based UN Human Rights Mechanisms

24 April 2023

From 27 to 31 March 2023, the Geneva Human Rights Platform (GHRP) and the Norwegian Center for Human Rights (NCHR) held in Geneva a training course on the work of United Nations (UN) human rights mechanisms for academics and human rights defenders from eight Middle East and North Africa (MENA) countries.

During five days, 11 participants learned about the functioning of the UN Human Rights Council (HRC), the Universal Periodic Review and UN treaty bodies (TBs) and had the opportunity to observe a session of the UN Committee on Migrant Workers at Palais Wilson and an HRC session at the Palais des Nations.

‘This training course represents an important milestone in our long-standing cooperation with the NCHR. While past training courses were geared exclusively towards participants from Asia, this first MENA-focused training course widens the geographical scope of our cooperation’ explains Felix Kirchmeier, Executive Director of the GHRP.

Brining the MENA Perspective

Via exchanges and inputs from highly qualified experts such as TB members, Special Rapporteurs or Chiefs from the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), participants gathered first-hand information on a wide range of UN instruments and mechanisms.

Alongside this overview of the functioning of the UN human rights mechanisms, they also exchanged around human rights implementation strategies in the MENA region, the link with Islamic law, as well as OHCHR MENA activities – putting these in the context of their respective countries

‘This training course provided us with a comprehensive understanding of the international legal frameworks, policies and procedures in place to protect and promote human rights at the national, regional and global levels’ underscores Outeiba Merhebi, Co-Founder and Director of the Spotlight Center for Law and Human Rights in Lebanon.

Following this course, participants will be able to share what they have learned with a wider audience at the local level and continue to share experiences and strategies with their counterparts, thus building a regional network and contributing to a constructive human rights discourse within the academic and public spheres.

‘The skills and knowledge they acquired during this week will also allow participants to increase their participation in international human rights monitoring mechanisms and to put international human rights standards into practice at the national level’ explains Felix Kirchmeier.

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