Call for applications – Training Program on International Human Rights Protection Mechanisms

Florence, Italy – September 29 to October 3, 2014

Apply By: August 15, 2014: fill in the form here

Universal recognition of human rights remains a major challenge in virtually all corners of the world. Civil society organizations play a crucial role in order to achieve a better level of protection of human rights for all.  Human rights protection mechanisms are strategic tools used every day to help these organizations to achieve their goals.

By bringing together activists and practitioners from all over the world, this program aims at strengthening their capacity to access and utilize regional and international human rights procedures, standards, and mechanisms. The confluence of rich, varying experiences from different protection mechanisms provides with a unique opportunity to share lessons learned, both in using international mechanisms and working for their improvement.

This year the training will focus on the issue of protection against Torture. Organizations working on this issue are encouraged to apply.

Part of the training will be dedicated to discussing the advantages and disadvantages of the different mechanisms with the objective of identifying best practices and exchanging experiences between participants in order to improve ways in which civil society supports the development of new systems and strengthen existing ones.

The training is open to practitioners using any human rights system: African, Asean, European, Inter-American, and/or the UN.

The organizers will strive for a balance in terms of gender, geographical regions, and level of expertise.

The Professors

The training sessions will be conducted by world-renowned professors, including:

Juan E. Mendez

UN Special Rapporteur against Torture.

Rafendi Djamin

Indonesian Representative (Commissioner) of ASEAN Inter Governmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR)

Santiago A. Canton

Director of RFK Partners for Human Rights at the Robert F. Kennedy Center. Professor of Law, Georgetown University Law Center.

Martin Scheinin

Professor at European University Institute. Former member of UN Human rights Committee.

Philip Leach

Prof. of HR Law at MiddlesexUniversity. Director of the European HR Advocacy Centre.

Chafi Bakari

Human Rights Officer
Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights – Africa Branch.

To learn more about them click here.

The Program

  • Introduction to international and regional mechanisms: This session will explore basic Human Rights principles, applicable to all systems and talk about supranational institutions, including all regional systems and the UN.
  • The International System: overview of the UN Human Rights System (charter based and treaty bodies) with special attention to the work of treaty bodies.
  • The International System in action: Presentation of a case.  Experiences and lessons learned.
  • The Inter-American System: overview of the Inter-American System, with special attention to the case system.
  • The Inter-American system in action: Presentation of a case.  Experiences and lessons learned.
  • The ASEAN System: Overview of the ASEAN System.
  • The ASEAN System in Action: Review of the Terms of Reference (ToR)
  • The African System: Overview of the African System, with special attention to the case system.
  • The African System in action: Presentation of a case.  Experiences and lessons learned.
  • The European System: Overview of the European system, with special attention to the case system
  • The European System in action: Presentation of a case.  Experiences and lessons learned.
  • Protection against Torture at each protection system through cases, urgent measures, and reporting.

The training will combine academic instruction, workshops, opportunities to exchange experiences and best practices, and meetings with key human rights NGOs present in Florence. Trainers will include high profile figures from the international and regional human rights arena including UN Special Rapporteurs, Members of Regional and International Human Rights Bodies, and representatives of international NGOs. This program will be an exceptional opportunity to strengthen and expand the network of participants at the regional and international level.

The course will be held entirely in English.

Participants must

  • have five or more years of experience in the regional or international human rights field
  • be working for a human rights, development, or humanitarian NGO, University, national human rights institution, or an international organization
  • work on issues pertaining Torture
  • be fluent in English

The organizers will consider all written applications and may schedule telephone interviews on the basis of the written applications and will offer positions to the most appropriate applicants. In the selection process, the Robert F. Kennedy Training Institute will strive for a balance in terms of gender, geographical regions, and level of expertise.

Application Process

The cost of the course is 630€. Airfare, visa, accommodation, and expenses are not included in this fee. Participants are responsible for obtaining their own funding to participate in the course. The Robert F. Kennedy Training Institute can provide information on possible sources of funding upon request. Limited accommodation at Robert F. Kennedy International House is available.

The RobertF.KennedyCenter may be able to offer a limited number of scholarships. If you will like to obtain a scholarship please indicate so in the form. In selecting recipients of scholarships, the organizers will consider, among other criteria, the efforts of the applicants to secure their own funding, as well as regional and gender balance.

The course will be held entirely in English.

To apply, please submit your completed application form, CV, one letter explaining why you would like to participate in this training, and a copy of your passport showing your personal data and validity by August 15, 2014. Incomplete applications will not be considered.

The application form can be accessed on this website. Only applications sent by email will be considered.


For further information you can contact Ms. Andrea Galindo, Director of the Robert F. Kennedy Training Institute at