Reflections from the Intensive Course on Human Rights 2021

For a second time, the annual intensive course on human rights, organized by the Norwegian Centre for Human Rights, was held digitally. Due to the ongoing pandemic, participants joined each day on Zoom for a week to learn and discuss human rights.

Zoom screenshot of participants

Screenshot from the final day of the digital intensive course 2021. Photo: Victoria Skeie

A longstanding tradition

The annual intensive course on human rights has been a cornerstone of the NCHR’s activities for over a decade. Each year we receive over 100 applications from every part of the world to join this rigorous human rights training. Due to the popular demand and positive feedback from earlier participants, this course has now become a longstanding tradition of the centre.

Withstanding pandemic restraints

The intensive course on human rights usually invites about 20 individuals to Oslo to learn about human rights, but to adapt to the pandemic; the course has had a digital format for the past two years. Despite missing the natural conversations that arise between similar minded individuals, the NCHR is proud to have been able to offer a digital platform for people everywhere working on issues related to human rights.

The course remains as a weeklong course, but to adapt to a digital format we combine core time and flexi-time since participants are joining from different time zones. Flexi-time included group work among participants, reading, online lectures and preparation for the Moot Court competition. Whereas core-time was reserved for lectures and presentation of group work assignments.

The class of 2021

By holding the course digitally, we were able to admit a larger group. This year’s group had participants from Brazil, Tunisia, Indonesia, Italy, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Thailand, Philippines, Ghana, Japan, India, Nigeria, Norway, Jordan, and Vietnam. One of the unique aspects about the intensive course is that it brings together people from all over the world who are then able to learn from each other. By discussing and sharing personal experiences, human rights issues in new contexts and different ways to interpret things, the group is able to learn just as much from each other as from lectures. One participant from this year’s course said the following:

“The NCHR Intensive Course stands out for its commitment to bringing together people from all ways of life and countries in order to understand how to best defend human rights from growing pressure. Through the teaching and group work I was so lucky to be involved in, I am now more confident in applying legal and policy concepts to practical cases. I am sure that in the near future I will use all of the course's tools in my advocacy and analysis of pressing issues.”

One of the aims for the course is also to expand the network of the participants by creating for them new connections and encouraging them to stay in touch, collaborate and to work towards a world where human rights are respected everywhere.

The 2021 programme

The intensive course programme aims to provide a multidisciplinary approach to the human rights field. Important subjects include an introduction to civil and political rights, economic, social and cultural rights and business and human rights. We admit individuals from backgrounds such as national authorities, international organizations, NGOs and academia. We prioritize participants working on subjects related to human rights, but who lack a formal human rights education. In this way, the course can provide added value to their work.

For those interested in the intensive course on human rights, there will be a call for applications in the spring of 2022.

The full programme from 2021 is available here.

Published Oct. 5, 2021 10:29 AM - Last modified Oct. 15, 2021 10:20 AM