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

(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.