News

Training on the Due Diligence Framework to End Violence Against Women in the Age of the Digital Media

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From November 10-13, the Robert F. Kennedy Training Institute and the Due Diligence Project co-organized a four-day workshop on the Due Diligence Framework to End Violence Against Women in the Digital Era. The Due Diligence Project is a global multi-year initiative to examine the Due Diligence Framework on State obligation to end violence against women. It involves a large number of countries and takes into account the different contexts in which stakeholders operate.

The event gathered women human rights defenders from some of the pilot countries implementing the project. Among them were Indonesia, Chad, India, Malaysia, USA, South Africa, Zimbabwe and Egypt. The training provided its participants with a better comprehension of the Due Diligence Principle and Framework, and the opportunity to discuss the instrumentalization and application of the process in the context of digital security. Sessions focused on integrating the Due Diligence Framework into new and existing strategies designed to eliminate violence committed against women. During the course, participants were also asked to work together to help facilitate and foster cooperation among national-level stakeholders pursing the same goal.

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About the Robert F. Kennedy Training Institute

Inspired by Robert F. Kennedy’s belief that every individual can make a difference, the RFK Training Institute (RFK TI) in Florence, Italy, was established to provide a secure space where human rights defenders can further develop their skills, exchange information and best practices, and establish new partnerships to confront pressing human rights challenges around the world. RFK TI organizes trainings for human rights defenders covering diverse issues, including social media strategies, digital security, human rights protections mechanisms, immigration, freedom of expression, and the rights of women, LGBTI people, and indigenous communities.

UN Special Rapporteur on Torture Juan E. Mendez Inaugurates Second Training Program on Human Rights Protection Mechanisms

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(Florence, Italy | September 29th) The United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture, Juan E. Mendez, inaugurates today the second Training Program on Human Rights Protection Mechanisms, organized by the Robert F. Kennedy Training Institute in collaboration with American University Washington College of Law (AU-WCL). The course will be held at the Robert F. Kennedy International House of Human Rights in Florence from September 29 to October 3, 2014.

“I am grateful for this exciting opportunity to discuss human rights protection with very experienced practitioners in the frontlines of the struggle against torture and for human rights everywhere,” Mr. Mendez said.

Throughout the week, experienced practitioners will share their knowledge of the African, Inter-American, European, ASEAN, and UN human rights protection mechanisms and address the issue of torture through case studies, urgent measures, and reporting. The main goal of this training is to share best practices that can be replicated in other systems to achieve better human rights protection worldwide. Participants from Haiti, the United States, El Salvador, Egypt, Western Sahara, Ghana, Hungary, Denmark, Nepal, Pakistan, and Italy will have the unique opportunity to learn from renowned experts with experienced in each of the major protection systems who will share their experiences on the advantages and disadvantages of the different mechanisms.

“The RFK Training Institute convenes the human rights defenders who are changing our world by working on the front lines of the struggle for justice,” said Kerry Kennedy, President of the RFK Center. “This training program is unparalleled opportunity for defenders to exchange their ideas on best practices for the protection of human rights, making them even more effective advocates for peace and justice in their home countries.”

High-profile trainers from the human rights arena include Martin Scheinin, Professor of International Law and Human Rights at the European University Institute and former UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights while countering terrorism; Rafendi Djamin, Indonesian Commissioner of ASEAN Inter Governmental Commission on Human Rights; Santiago A. Canton, Executive Director of RFK Partners for Human Rights and former Executive Secretary of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights; Philip Leach, Professor of Human Rights Law at Middlesex University and Director of the European HR Advocacy Centre; and Chafi Bakari, from the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and former Senior Legal Officer of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights.

The training will be complemented with follow-up and support from the RFK Center’s International Strategic Litigation Unit, which will provide ongoing technical assistance to participants, partnering with them to bring selected cases before the different human rights mechanisms.

“By having a deep knowledge of the culture, traditions, and legal systems, the regional mechanisms for the protection of human rights are very well positioned to protect and defend the human rights of millions of people throughout the world,” said Santiago A. Canton, Execuitve Director of RFK Partners for Human Rights.

Inspired by Robert F. Kennedy’s belief that every individual can make a difference, the RFK Training Institute in Florence, Italy, was established to provide a secure space where human rights defenders can develop their skills, exchange information and best practices, and establish new partnerships to confront the world’s pressing human rights challenges. A program of RFK Partners for Human Rights (PHR), the Training Institute organizes trainings for human rights defenders covering a wide range of issues including social media strategies, digital security, human rights protections mechanisms, immigration, freedom of expression, and the rights of women, LGBTI people, and indigenous communities.

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

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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.

PLEASE SEND THE APPLICATION WITH ALL REQUIRED DOCUMENTS BY EMAIL ONLY. APPLICATIONS SUBMITTED PARTIALLY OR FULLY BY OTHER MEANS WILL NOT BE CONSIDERED.

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

Human Rights Affairs: Social Media & Human Rights for International Organizations

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On 15 April 2014, the RFK Training Institute inaugurated “Human Rights Affairs” with a discussion on the impact of social media on the protection of human rights, how international organization are utilizing this relatively new technology, and the possible danger connected to activists. Maria Isabel Rivero, the Press Director of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, discussed how the IACHR uses social media to engage with citizens that the Commission would have never been able to reach without this “extension of the social sphere”. The IACHR realized through their social media outreach that their social media pages are the greatest source of information since people visit their Facebook, Twitter, etc. pages rather than the website. As the case with the IACHR, Maya Derouaz, the Social Media Manager of the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights’ Regional Office for the Pacific, explained that social media allowed the OHCHR to have a presence in areas that there is no field presence. Derouaz maintained that people will be interested in human rights if they are given the opportunity to engage, and social media provides an opportunity for a conversation.

In addition, Santiago A. Canton, the Director of RFK Partners for Human Rights, asserted that one of the greatest advances in human rights was the visibility provided through social media, but issues such as the influx of comments and the risks for human rights defenders come attached. Ali Ravi, a Senior Consultant for Digital Strategy, Security, and Capacity, further discussed the possible risks for human rights defenders due to their involvement on  social media. While social media carries many advantages, Ravi asserted that information of internet activity is “aggregated for us, against us” and can implicate individuals and their communities. There is a need for human rights defenders to safeguard their information. To help protect human rights defenders, Ravi recommended using tools that increase social media security, such as Me & My Shadow. It only requires simple actions to protect oneself on social media.

The first Human Rights Affairs ended with a question from Twitter: “How can we engage press to social media activism?” Maria Isabel Rivero, who formerly worked as journalist, claimed that there are two reasons stories are not covered―lack of information or a company decision not to run a story. If lack of knowledge is the case, then, the best strategy is to reach out to journalists who cover that specific topic and inform them of the situation.

RFK Center Hosts Training for Women Human Rights Defenders from Russia

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(April 18, 2014 | Florence, Italy) The Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights (RFK Center) announced the conclusion of an RFK Training Institute course for women human rights defenders from Russia held at the RFK International House at Via Ghibellina 12A. The course ran from 9:00AM to 5:00PM daily from April 14 to 18, 2014, and was co-organized with the Civil Rights Defenders, a Swedish non-governmental organization and long-time partner of the RFK Center.

The objective of the course was to empower women human rights defenders and their organizations working towards the recognition of universal human rights. Over the course of a week, they received capacity-building training in Russian and English to bolster their skills in researching, documenting, and analyzing human rights issues. During the week, they also attended events organized at the RFK Training Institute in Florence, particularly on social media and human rights. Trainers from Civil Rights Defenders and the RFK Training Institute presented the program.

“The RFK Training Institute brings together human rights defenders who are changing our world, and doing so with few resources beyond their own determination,” said Kerry Kennedy, President of the RFK Center. “This training provides an opportunity for defenders to learn new tools and leverage their impact as forces for peace and justice in our shared world.”

“With new technologies and an increasingly interconnected world, the role of civil society is becoming more and more crucial to defending human rights and strengthening the rule of law,” said Santiago A. Canton, director RFK Partners for Human Rights. “However, at the same time, governments are restricting the ability of civil society activists to operate. These trainings provide our modern-day defenders with the tools needed to navigate these challenges and create change.”

About the RFK Training Institute
Inspired by Robert F. Kennedy’s belief that every individual can make a difference, the RFK Training Institute (RFK TI) in Florence, Italy, was established to provide a secure space where human rights defenders can further develop their skills, exchange information and best practices, and establish new partnerships to confront pressing human rights challenges around the world. RFK TI organizes trainings for human rights defenders covering diverse issues, including social media strategies, digital security, human rights protections mechanisms, immigration, freedom of expression, and the rights of women, LGBTI people, and indigenous communities.

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The Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice & Human Rights (RFK Center) was founded in 1968 by Robert Kennedy’s family and friends as a living memorial to carry forward his vision of a more just and peaceful world. RFK Partners for Human Rights engages in strategic long-term partnerships with RFK Human Rights Award Laureates, augmenting the effectiveness of grassroots leaders to support sustainable social justice movements.

Contact:
Meaghan Baron
Director of Communications, RFK Center
Office: (917) 284-6352 | Email: Baron@rfkcenter.org