Training Courses around the World
Wednesday, 02 January 2013 17:20


ISHR provides training workshops for human rights defenders working at the regional and national levels, in Africa, the Middle East and Asia. In cooperation with local partners, ISHR works to equip defenders and representatives of NHRIs with the necessary knowledge and skills to effectively promote their issues at the UN or through their relevant regional human rights system, such as the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights. There is also a focus on increasing civil society’s knowledge of protection mechanisms and how to use them.


Many of ISHR’s capacity building activities around the world also include consultations between human rights defenders and key representatives from the UN or regional human rights systems, such as special rapporteurs and State representatives. Consultations offer a sometimes rare opportunity for civil society to interact directly with important actors of the human rights community – to have their concerns heard and to build working relationships. They also permit these actors to stay connected with the needs of human rights defenders, with the added convenience of meeting with numerous defenders representing a variety of human rights issues, in one place, at one time.


In Africa

ISHR’s training courses and consultations in Africa focus on both the international human rights system (the United Nations) and the African human rights system (the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights). We work at the sub-regional (e.g. West, East, Central and North Africa) and national levels, providing workshops and ‘train-the-trainer’ courses, together with local partners, to enhance defenders’ understanding of the main developments, debates and initiatives in human rights law and practice of these systems. We also support sustainable sub-regional human rights networks in their engagement with the UN and African Commission. 


ISHR’s capacity building activities in Africa are complemented by our work advocating for the strengthening of UN and African Commission special rapporteurs on human rights defenders, and support of their work in Africa.


In the Middle East

ISHR's involvement in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) includes training workshops and consultations for Arabic-speaking audiences. We collaborate with local partners, such as the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies, to provide these programmes, which enable human rights defenders to better understand the functioning of the UN human rights system and the African Commission. The training enables civil society groups to better use these systems for the advancement of human rights in their countries. Consultations between human rights defenders and UN and African human rights experts, such as special rapporteurs, enable important face-to-face communication and relationship building.


This capacity- and relationship-building support is greatly needed. The UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights has reported a significant under-representation of civil society submissions on human rights in the MENA region, which reflects an under-utilisation of the UN system by MENA defenders. ISHR’s work in the region is also necessary given the significant transition many countries are currently undergoing, and a growth in new civil-society groups that are currently unfamiliar with international and regional human rights mechanisms. In addition to providing courses and being involved in partners’ training courses in the region, ISHR also trains numerous Middle-Eastern and North-African defenders in Geneva.


In Asia Pacific

In the absence of a regional human rights body, ISHR views NHRIs and their regional association, the Asia Pacific Forum of National Human Rights Institutions as having a particular role and responsibility in ensuring the protection of human rights defenders. As such, ISHR focuses its work in the Asia Pacific region on capacity building activities for national human rights institutions and on strengthening access to the Asia Pacific Forum and its Advisory Council of Jurists. Workshops also focus on improving collaboration between human rights defenders and NHRIs in order put pressure on States to implement recommendations made by the UN’s human rights bodies.


Selection of Participants

The selection of participants for ISHR training courses is based on their current human rights work and their future plans and potential to engage with international human rights mechanisms. ISHR often works with partner organisations to identify those human rights defenders who will be able to most effectively apply what they learn to their work.


For further information on our training courses in the regions, please contact This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Last Updated on Thursday, 03 January 2013 10:06
© by The International Service for Human Rights (ISHR) 2019