Current Human Rights Challenges

Started in January 2015

Via annual expert seminars, this project discusses and identifies current human rights challenges. It aims at creating a platform allowing leading academics, experts, diplomats and practitioners who work on human rights at national, regional and international levels to exchange around these issues.

Topics are selected on the basis of an identified need for expert discussion and clarification.

TEAM

Picture of Christof Heyns

Christof Heyns

Professor of Human Rights Law at the University of Pretoria

Christof Heyns is recognized internationally as a leading expert in the field of international human rights law, including right to life issues and regional human rights mechanisms, and has published widely on these matters.

Picture of Kamelia Kemileva

Kamelia Kemileva

Executive Manager

Kamelia Kemileva is Executive Manager of the Geneva Academy and Co-Coordinator of the Treaty Body Review 2020. She is also a visiting programme director at Wilton Park.

OUTPUT

The Right to Life

In 2016, the project focussed on the current challenges and opportunities in relation to the right to life, as well as some of the cutting-edge developments in the field.

In the 2016 annual expert seminar, co-organized with the Institute for International and Comparative Law in Africa, leading experts, diplomats, human rights and humanitarian practitioners addressed key issues related to the right to life such as regulation in armed conflict situations and in the context of law enforcement, the role of investigations, new weapon technologies, mandatory death-penalty and the responsibility of non-state actors.

The Geneva Academy In-Brief Use of Force in Law Enforcement and the Right to Life: The Role of the Human Rights Council draws from the discussions of the 2016 expert seminar. It examines how the right to life is affected by law enforcement agencies’ use of force and identifies how the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Council (HRC) could further promote respect for international standards governing policing.

The publication also served as a background to the 2017 expert seminar which will focus on the rights potentially affected by the use of force in law enforcement, in particular during the policing of assemblies.

Policing of Assemblies: Use of Force and Accountability

In 2017, the project focussed on the rights affected by the use of force by law enforcement officials during the policing of assemblies.

In the 2017 annual expert seminar, experts and practitioners from the United Nations and regional systems, diplomats, academics, and civil society representatives discussed the implications of ‘public order policing’ for the right to life, comparisons between the practices of law enforcement units in different countriespublic order policing’ for the right to life, comparisons between the practices of law enforcement units in different countries, and analysed current technological and legal developments in the field, both in terms of their potential advantages and the threats they might engender.

Participants also explored the challenges and opportunities of new technologies, including ‘less-lethal’ weapons and unmanned systems, from the perspectives of both the right to life and the prohibition of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment. They also focused on the problems related to torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment in an ‘extra-custodial’ setting, which diversified the discussions.

NEWS

Picture of the High Level Panel Speakers News

High Level Panel on the Policing of Assemblies and Human Rights: Freedom of Assembly, Prohibition of Torture and Right to Life

1 May 2017

The High Level Panel on Policing of Assemblies and Human Rights, held on 1 May 2017 in the margin of the annual platform on current human rights challenges, discussed issues such as the human rights that are at stake during the policing of assemblies, the challenges posed by specific weapons and the role and potential of the revised Minnesota Protocol.

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Cover page of the In-Brief News

Use of Force in Law Enforcement and the Right to Life: The Role of the UN Human Rights Council

29 November 2016

Our new publication examines how the right to life is affected by law enforcement agencies’ use of force and identifies how the HRC could further promote respect for international standards governing policing.

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MORE ON THIS THEMATIC AREA

Banner Geneva Academy Wednesday

Book Launch: ‘The Accountability of Armed Groups under Human Rights Law’

November 2017, 18:30-20:00

This event marks the launch of Dr Katharine Fortin’s new book ‘The Accountability of Armed Groups under Human Rights Law’.

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Afghanistan, Parwan detention facility Short Course

Preventing and Combating Terrorism

16 February - March 2018

This course discusses the extent to which states may  limit and/or derogate from their international human rights obligations in order to prevent and counter terrorism and thus protect persons under their jurisdiction.

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Lifejackets on a beach in Greece Short Course

International Refugee Law

16 February - March 2018

This course analyses the main international and regional norms governing the international protection of refugees. It notably examines the sources of international refugee law, including the 1951 Geneva Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, and their interaction with human rights law and international humanitarian law.

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Peru, Lima. Training exercise on the use of force and human rights. Simulation of the arrest of a suspect in the street Project

Police Use of Force

Completed in January 2013

This project aimed to identify best practices in facilitating and enhancing states’ fulfilment of international rules and standards related to police use of force.

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A participant to a Geneva Academy event takes note on a computer Project

Human Rights in the Digital Age

Started in January 2014

The digital age offers unique opportunities to strengthen human rights implementation and monitoring and has transformed the means through which human rights are exercised. Equally, the digital age poses unique challenges in ensuring that states and businesses respect and protect our rights in the digital forum. The full extent of the human rights implications of the digital age remain unknown; we are undertaking research to explore these implications.

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