RFK Center Announces Launch of Training Program on International Human Rights Protection Mechanisms


Florence, September 9, 2013 – The Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights (RFKCenter) announces the first annual training course on human rights protection mechanisms at the RFK International House of Florence, Italy. The new initiative is organized in collaboration with American University Washington College of Law (AU-WCL).

The objective of the course is to empower human rights defenders and their organizations to play a key role in defining, strengthening and using international mechanisms for the protection of human rights. Over the course of a week, participants from the Americas, Europe, Africa and Asia will have the unique opportunity to learn from renowned experts with experience within each protection system, who will share their experiences on the advantages and disadvantages of the different mechanisms. The training provides know-how to increase the activists’ capacity to access and use regional and international human rights procedures, standards and instruments.

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

High profile trainers from the international and regional human rights arena include Martin Scheinin, Professor of International Law and Human Rights of the European University Institute and former UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights while countering terrorism; Frank La Rue, UN Special Rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of the Right to Freedom of Opinion and Expression; Santiago A. Canton, Director of RFK Partners for Human Rights and former Executive Secretary and Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights; Dragana Korljan, Coordinator of the Justice, Protection and Social Rights Unit, Special Procedures Branch, at the Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights; and Valerie Couillard, Expert Member of the Working Group on Environment, Extractive Industries and Human Rights Violations in Africa of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights.

The program has been developed by Santiago A. Canton and Claudio Grossman, Dean of AU-WCL and President of the UN Committee against Torture.

“The RFK International House for Human Rights has consistently brought together human rights defenders who are changing our world by using international mechanisms to achieve change at the local level,” said Kerry Kennedy, President of the RFKCenter. “This training program provides an unparalleled opportunity for defenders to exchange their ideas on best practices within mechanisms for the protection of human rights. Together, they can provide the expertise and tools that will help realize Robert Kennedy’s dream of a more just and peaceful world.”

Participants are experienced activists working in regional and international organizations in the Unites States, Argentina, Moldova, Brazil, Uganda, Indonesia, Russia, Romania, Kosovo, Italy, Zimbabwe, the Philippines and the Ukraine.


The Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights (www.rfkcenter.org) 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. The Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights is a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit charitable organization


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