May 5, 2016
Presentation of the book "Memorie Nomadi - Dolore e Resistenza in Sahara Occidentale" - "Nomadic Memories - Pain and resistance in Western Sahara"
On Thursday 5th of May at 6 PM, the region Toscana hosted the presentation of the book "Memorie Nomadi - Dolore e Resistenza in Sahara Occidentale" (Nomadic Memories - Pain and resistance in Western Sahara) written by Carlos Beristain, Alonso Gil and Federico Guzman. The book captured 40 years of personal memories of Saharawi people, including stories of the war with Morocco, forced exodus to refugee camps in the Sahara desert, disappearances and torture, and the ongoing Moroccan occupation of Sahrawi territory.
The Robert F. Kennedy Training Institute intervened during the presentation together with Carlos Beristain, the author of the book, as well as other human rights associations and representatives of the Polisario Front, the regional Council and the Municipality of Florence.
“Training on International Human Rights Law”
On April 2nd and 3rd the Robert F. Kennedy Training Institute delivered an intensive training course for college students at Bennington USA, on International Human Rights Law. The course examined the main concepts of international human rights law, its sources, as well as the general protection mechanisms that exist to safeguard these guarantees. . Throughout the course the students gained an in-depth insight of the development of the substantive law of human rights and discussed about open challenges and ethical problems in international human rights law. The course reached 28 students, providing them with a comprehensive understanding of the International Human Rights Law and its importance.
A field visit to Myanmar
From 22-26 February 2016, Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights staff together with other partners organizations made a field visit in Myanmar in order to start the process of trainings on human rights that will take place in Myanmar and in Florence. These courses intend to foster a community of individuals who have a detailed understanding and appreciation for human right and democratic governance principles in order to employ this knowledge in their own communities.
“Lecture on Human Right for Syracuse University students”
17 FEBRUARY 2016
Place: Robert F. Kennedy International House
On February 17th, staff of the Robert F. Kennedy Training Institute provided a lecture on human rights for University Students. The lecture is the beginning of a series of lectures that the Robert F. Kennedy and the University would like to hold for students through the year. The Director of the Syracuse University with headquarters in Italy is very enthusiastic with the idea to promoting among her students, much more possibilities on the education program they are taking and in opening them a window of “knowledge” concerning the world of human rights.
5 February 2016
The municipality of Florence together with the municipality of Impruneta in Italy, have organized a meeting to discuss the situation of the Saharawi population after 40 years of exile. For this, the Robert F. Kennedy Training Institute has lead the roundtable discussion on what is the current situation of Human Rights of this population and what are the possible means to stop the violations of those. The meeting intends also to reflect that after 40 years, none resolution has been achieved at the international level and that the population is still waiting for changes.
The roundtable discussion has been followed by the presentation of the book “The dessert around” of Giulio di Meo and a photo exhibition of Silvana Grippi.
“Arab spring and 40 years of exile of the Saharawi People” What has been changed….
10 February 2016
Place: Campi Bisenzio
The municipality of Campi Bisenzio in Tuscany together with an association of Human Rights in the same municipality, have organized a cultural event on the Arab Spring and the 40 years of exile of the Popolo Saharawi. Robert F. Kennedy Italy explained the activities of Speak Truth to Power in the territory and Robert F. Kennedy Training Institute explained the work of the organization in regards to Western Sahara and the progress on human rights for the population. The meeting intended to debate on what have been the real changes for a population that lives in a territory occupied by the Moroccan authorities and some other in refugee camps in Algeria.2015
Consultation with the Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association Mr. Maina Kiai
On December 10 & 11 (Florence), The Robert F. Kennedy Training Institute in coordination with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and the organization World Movement for Democracy held a consultation with the UN Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association. The consultation has gathered 25 Directors of non-governmental organizations and the main objective achieved was to develop part of the report that will go to the General Assembly mid 2016 regarding the rights of association. The Expert consultation was conducted in English.
Roundtable on Human Rights Defenders under counter-terrorism measures: Consequences on freedom of expression, association and assembly
December 11 (2016). The Robert F. Kennedy Training Institute together with the European University Institute organized a roundtable discussion commemorating the Universal Day of Human Rights. Students and practitioners of international law and other branches participated actively in the discussion.
Human Rights Training for Journalists
November 6, 7, 8 (Montenegro). The Robert F. Kennedy Training Institute implemented course for 10 journalists, under the OSCE Mission to Montenegro.
The aim of this training was to strengthen the capacities on Human Rights to journalist issues related to human rights in general, freedom of expression in particular, access to information, internet and right to privacy at the international level.
Consultation with Human Rights Defenders Working in highly repressive States
On October29 & 30 (Florence) In partnership with the International Service for Human Rights (ISHR), a renowned human rights organization based in Geneva, this consultation brought together human rights defenders working, or with experience of working, in highly repressive States, including those operating from exile. The consultation aimed to identify, document and further develop strategies, tactics and lessons learned to ensure the relevance, resilience and effectiveness of movements operating in such contexts, and it was conducted in English.
How can they organize? How can they remain connected and responsive? What activities can they undertake? What assistance do they receive from international NGOs and funders and what further forms of support do they need to be more effective? HRDs selected for this group included those currently working in, or in relation to, highly repressive environments (e.g., Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bahrain, China, Iran, Russia, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, Eritrea, etc.), together with those who have emerged or are emerging from such environments and have lessons to share (e.g., Burma, Sri Lanka, South Africa, Zimbabwe, East Timor, etc.). After this meeting a report will be produced.
Training Course on the Inter-American Human Rights Protection System for civil society
From 14-23 October (Washington D.C.). Together with the Inter American Commission of Human Rights (IACHR), American University Washington College of Law (AU WCL) and the Inter-American Institute of Human Rights (IIDH), the Robert F. Kennedy Training Institute delivered an 8 day program on the Inter-American and International Systems for the Protection of Human Rights that run in parallel to the 156th regular session of the Commission. This training was conducted in Spanish.
The course aims at building capacity for the effective use of the human rights protection system by the civil society and at deepening the knowledge of the procedure, standards and mechanisms of the Inter-American Commission and Court of Human Rights. In addition, this course presents the opportunity to the civil society to exchange experiences and best practices and reinforce communication with the IACHR commissioners.
The training is targeted to NGO organizations working in human rights issues, that are looking forward to acquire practical experience to submit cases before the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights and the UN System. This year we had 18 participants from countries from the Americas, including: Colombia, Venezuela, Brazil, Honduras, Argentina, El Salvador, Chile, México, Nicaragua, United States, Guatemala and Cuba.
Expert meeting on Accountably of State and non-state actors on tech-based violence against women
October 15 & 16 (Florence). This activity was a follow up of a workshop we organized in 2014 with the Due Diligence Project (DDP), called Due Diligence Framework to end Violence against Women in the Age of Digital Media. As a result of that workshop, a new initiative is taking place. The project aims to explore the notion of Accountability (State and non-State) regarding Tech-Based Violence against Women (VAW). That is, what is the State obligation over non-State actors (e.g. internet intermediaries, perpetrators and secondary transmitters) re Tech Based VAW and what if any is the direct accountability of these the internet intermediaries (e.g. Facebook, Twitter).
This expert meeting was organized for 20 experts with the goal of developing Accountability Principles, of State and non-State actors, related to tech based VAW.
Training on International Human Rights Protection Mechanisms
From September 28 to October 2 (Florence), together with American University Washington College of Law (AU WCL), the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Training Institute congregated for the third year, a group of practitioners from all over the world to teach the International Human Rights Protection Mechanisms from different systems. This training was conducted in English.
This training aims at strengthening capacities of the human rights defenders to access and utilize the international standards and the specific procedures of the African, Asean, European and American system. This year the training concentrated on Freedom of Expression.
Transnational Due Process and Freedom of Expression - Expert meeting
From 24-25 September 2015 (Florence), The Robert F. Kennedy Training Institute in conjunction with the Internet & Jurisdiction Project, gathered for two days current and former Special Rapporteurs for Freedom of Expression from different regions to discuss the challenge of implementing due process across borders for Internet-related issues and the possible normative components of a transnational framework to do so. This meeting was conducted in English.
Building on preparatory work with documentation provided by the organizers, the meeting will feed its outcomes directly into the global multi-stakeholder dialogue process. This effort engages over 80 key entities from states, internet platforms, technical operators, civil society, academia and international organizations to jointly develop a transnational due process framework for handling cross-border requests from domain seizures, content takedowns and user identification.
Expert Roundtable on the Inclusion of Sex Crimes and Gender Crimes in Transitional Justice Processes: Latin America and Africa
September 8 and 9, 2015 (New York). The expert roundtable was the first step towards the realization of a common project designed by Women’s Link and Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights with the participation of Former Judge of the International Criminal Court (ICC) and the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY), Elizabeth Odio Benito.
The goal of this project is to promote and strengthen the delivery of justice for women and girls victims of sexual and gender crimes, and send a message to society and communities that sexual violence against women is no longer tolerated. We will do this by building upon and sharing the knowledge, experience and lessons learned by members of the judiciary, legal advocates, civil society groups and survivors of gender crimes.
In collaboration with Judge Elizabeth Odio Benito and other organizations, Women’s Link and Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights will design a series of workshops during which judicial actors and survivors of gender crimes will work in collaboration to analyze international, regional and national justice processes that have been particularly successful in administering justice to women and girls.
This first activity congregated around 15 world’s redound experts and possible donors, for a first discussion to develop this comprehensive program. Pending funding, the first two workshops will be delivered in 2016 for judges from Colombia and Kenya, the two countries selected at the expert meeting to deliver a pilot project.
Training Course on the Inter-American Human Rights Protection System for government officials
From 20 to 24th July (Washington D.C.), together with the Inter American Commission of Human Rights (IACHR), American University Washington College of Law (AU WCL) and the Inter-American Institute of Human Rights (IIDH), the Robert F. Kennedy Training Institute held the 5th annual course on the Inter-American System for the Protection of Human Rights for State officials, in parallel to the 155th regular session of the Commission. This training was conducted in Spanish.
The course aims at instructing for the effective use of the human rights protection system by the state officials from Members States of the Organization of American States (OAS) and at deepening the knowledge of the procedure, standards and mechanisms of the Inter-American Commission and Court of Human Rights. In addition, this course presents the opportunity for state officials to exchange experiences and best practices and reinforce communication with the IACHR commissioners. The training is directed specially to state officials from Ministries of Foreign Affairs and other Ministries that have been assigned to represent their States before international human rights bodies, as well as other state officials working with a human rights mandate.
Expert Meeting on the Global Situation of Human Rights Defenders
On 8-9 July (Florence), The Robert F. Kennedy Training Institute in partnership with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and the International Service for Human Rights (ISHR) wrought together a small group of experts with diverse expertise and policy background on the protection and promotion of human rights defenders to a closed meeting. This meeting was conducted in English.
This meeting aimed to advise the Special Rapporteur on the ways and means to build upon the preliminary findings from his regional consultations with human rights defenders and from his exchanges with States on ensuring a safe and enabling environment for human rights defenders. The meeting merged ‘blue-sky’ thinking to avoid policy ‘gaps’ in the comprehensive overview of challenges faced by human rights defenders with the pragmatic validation of action points recommended to key stakeholders for consequent advocacy purposes.
Regional Consultation on the Situation of Human Rights Defenders
On June 22 and 23 (Florence), The Robert F. Kennedy Training Institute in coordination with the International Service for Human Rights (ISHR) and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) organized a two days consultation with human rights organizations form Europe, the US, Canada, Australia, Israel and New Zealand, on the situation of the Human Rights Defenders Globally. This consultation was conducted in English.
Human rights defenders play a critical role both in promoting respect for human rights and in ensuring accountability for corporate human rights abuses. At the same time, they are a key target of attacks, threats and harassment, risking constantly their lives. Based on the context of each human rights defender, the consultation developed a final document that will be included in the final report of the Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders that to be presented to the UN General Assembly in October 2015.
Working group to transform the situation in Western Sahara
On June 20th(Florence), Partners for Human Rights through the Training Institute held an initiative on Western Sahara to bring a group of people with a strong background and experience on Human Rights to held a consultation of the situation in Western Sahara. This consultation was held in Spanish.
The meeting analyzed from a broad perspective, the violations of human rights in the territory and the possible transformation in light of other international experiences of peace processes. This meeting is part of the ongoing strategy of Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights towards the implementation of a human rights mandate within the preview of the current UN presence on the ground.
Intersectional Human Rights Strategies
The Due Diligence Project convened a small meeting to critically explore, analyse, and formulate strategies on the intersection between human rights with culture and religion. There was particular attention given to their impact on the family,the growing conservatism challenging women’s human rights, and State obligation in addressing these challenges.
Gender Violence in the Digital Era
The Robert F. Kennedy Training Institute and the Due Diligence Project co-organized a four-day workshop. The event gathered women human rights defenders from some of the pilot countries implementing the Due Diligence Framework on State obligation to end violence against women. 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 pursuing the same goal.
Discussion on Torture
This was an event to address the issue of torture with the special participation of Juan Mendez, who spoke about his work and activities as the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture. Andrea Galindo, the Director of the Robert F. Kennedy Training Institute, discussed the international and European Protection Mechanisms against torture. The event was part of the Amnesty International’s campaign “Stop Torture”, dedicated to the struggle against torture and raising awareness on countries that do not acknowledge torture as a crime, Italy among them.
Human Rights Protection-Civil Society Engagement
Together with U.S. universities and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, the RFK Training Institute delivered this course promoting the effective use of the human rights protection system by civil society. This trainings works to do so by deepening participants’ knowledge on the procedures, standards and mechanisms of the American Commission and Court of Human Rights. This course presented the opportunity for members of civil society to exchange experiences and best practices and reinforce communication with the IACHR. The training was targeted to NGO organizations working in human rights issues that are looking forward to acquire practical experience to submit cases before the IACHR and UN System.
Human Rights Protection Mechanisms
Location: Florence, Italy
The Robert F. Kennedy Training Institute congregated a group of practitioners from all over the world to learn about international human rights protection mechanisms in different systems. This training aims to strengthen the capacity of human rights defenders to access and utilize international mechanisms procedures in African, Asian, European and American systems. 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 training focused on the issue of protection against Torture
LGBT Activism in Challenging Environments
A series of courses geared towards LGBT activists from Africa and Eastern Europe. Our goal for these trainings was to strengthen participants’ capacity to work in particularly difficult environments, where activists may encounter the backlash of homophobic legislation and policies spreading throughout both regions. This training was geared specifically to LGBT activists.
Women Human Rights Defenders
The objective of the course was to empower women human rights defenders and their organizations. 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.