UN Photo/Jean-Marc Ferré>
The Geneva Academy is deeply saddened by the sudden passing of Professor Christof Heyns.
‘It is with great sadness that we learned about the passing of Christof Heyns. We will miss him as a professor, a human rights expert, an academic and a friend. He was an incredible force of inspiration for all of us at the Geneva Academy – students, researchers and professors’ says Professor Gloria Gaggioli, Director of the Geneva Academy. ‘Our thoughts today go to his loved ones, family and friends’ she adds.
Professor Heyns has been teaching a course on the right to life and the right of peaceful assembly during transitions in our MAS in Transitional Justice, Human Rights and the Rule of Law (MTJ) since the launch of this programme back in 2016. He has been sharing with our students his extensive knowledge on this issue and his practical experience notably as a former United Nations (UN) Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, as a member of the UN Human Rights Committee and as a South African human rights lawyer.
UN Photo/Jean-Marc Ferré
‘Our students appreciated his availability, passion for human rights, as well as his capacity to link theory with practice, always showing the relevance of the law to very concrete situations. During the drafting of General Comment 37 by the UN Human Rights Committee on peaceful assembly, he invited a class to witness this unique exercise and listen to debates among experts – an experience they still remember today’ recall Thomas Unger and Frank Haldemann, co-Directors of the MTJ.
Professor Heyns was also key in the development of the UN Human Rights Guidance on Less Lethal Weapons in Law Enforcement – the outcome of research and broad consultations carried out under the auspices of the Geneva Academy and the University of Pretoria.
‘Christof was one of the driving forces behind these guidelines and we worked together during three years on this issue. His extensive knowledge and capacity to bring various stakeholders around the table were key to develop this much-needed international guidance on the design, production, procurement, testing, training, transfer, and use of LLWs’ says Felix Kirchmeier, Manager of Policy Studies at the Geneva Academy and Executive Director of the Geneva Human Rights Platform.
‘Our collaboration also included work on UN treaty bodies in particular on the ‘2020+ Database’ on the implementation of their recommendations on the ground: we will miss his vision, commitment, expertise and kindness’ he adds.
UN Photo/Jean-Marc Ferré
In this interview, Dasha Reddy, currently enrolled in our MAS in Transitional Justice, Human Rights and the Rule of Law, tells us about the programme and life in Geneva.
This online event will discuss the draft General Comment on land and economic, social and cultural rights currently developed by the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.
Francisco Proner / Farpa/ CIDH
This short course, which can be followed in Geneva or online, aims at presenting the institutions and procedures in charge of the implementation of international human rights law.
This short course, which can be followed in Geneva or online, focuses on the specific issues that arise in times of armed conflict regarding the respect, protection and fulfilment of human rights. It addresses key issues like the applicability of human rights in times of armed conflict; the possibilities of restricting human rights under systems of limitations and derogations; and the extraterritorial application of human rights law.
Resulting from traditional legal research and informal interviews with experts, the project aims at examining how – if at all possible – IHL could be more systematically, appropriately and correctly dealt with by the human rights mechanisms emanating from the Charter of the United Nations, as well from universal and regional treaties.
We are a partner of the Human Rights, Big Data and Technology Project, housed at the University of Essex’s Human Rights Centre, which aims to map and analyse the human rights challenges and opportunities presented by the use of big data and associated technologies. It notably examines whether fundamental human rights concepts and approaches need to be updated and adapted to meet the new realities of the digital age.