The participants represented governmental departments, courts, independent state institutions such as the ombudsman, civil society and academia.
The course gave a basic introduction to human rights standards, as well as the roles and functions of the institutions in place to ensure compliance with these standards at global, regional and national level.
The course aimed at providing knowledge about:
- Firstly, the normative scope of rights guaranteed under international law. Post-doctoral researcher Matthew Saul gave a legal introduction to the theme. Some rights received special attention, such as the right to freedom of religion or belief and the right to freedom of expression, both addressed by professor and former UN Special rapporteur on the Right to Freedom of Religion or Belief Heiner Bielefeldt. Professor Maya Janmyr held a session on the human rights of refugees, internally displaced and stateless people. The issue of discrimination was addressed by Senior Advisor Kjersti Skarstad from the SOR Foundation, and Economic, Social and Cultural Rights by professor Malcolm Langford.
- Secondly, the institutions in place to ensure compliance with human rights standards. River Hustad led a session focused on UN human rights mechanisms. PhD-researcher Natalia Torres Zuniga held a session focused on regional human rights courts; the European, Inter-American and African human rights courts. By the end of the course there was a “moot court” exercise, set in a regional human rights court setting. In order to learn about national human rights mechanisms function, the course included a visit to the National Institution for Human Rights, with a lecture from its acting director Adele Matheson Mestad. The course also included a visit to the Norwegian parliament, where member of parliament Grunde Almeland (Liberal Party) spoke about how human rights impacts on the work of the parliament. PhD-researcher Ludovica Chiussi held a lecture on Business and Human Rights, which covered various mechanisms to protect against corporate human rights abuse.
In addition, the course also addressed the history, relevance, and practical applicability of human rights. Professor Bård Anders Andreassen gave a historical introduction to human rights, that also focused very much on the various academic ways to approach the issue of human rights. NCHR Program manager Gisle Kvanvig addressed the issue of human rights under the Sustainable Development Goals Agenda. Researcher and Police Superintendent Asbjørn Rachlew’s lecture focused on how to apply human rights in practice. Being a pioneer for reform within the Norwegian Police, his case was how to effectively get information through a non-coercive method, “investigative interviewing”, and the work towards establishing global standards for police investigation and interviewing.
The course is an annual event. The next NCHR intensive course in human rights will be held the second week of September 2019. We welcome applications from all professionals that will benefit from basic human rights knowledge in their daily work. Applicants will be subject to a selection process. A limited amount of travel grants will be available to participants representing organisations with limited financial resources from low or middle-income countries. Applicants are expected to prepare for the course and relevant human rights literature will be distributed in advance of the training.
More information on how to apply for the 2019 course will be announced on the NCHR website.