21-24 June 2011, WFUNA held its first WFUNA Human Rights Youth Training at the Palais des Nations in Geneva. The purpose of the training was to empower young individuals to take a leading role in upholding human rights in their communities. Participants developed a deeper understanding of international human rights along with key practical skills in project development and implementation.
WFUNA’s Secretary-General, Bonian Golmohammadi, opened the first session, which included presentations on the UN Human Rights System by experts from the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights - Mr Gunnar Theissen, Mr Jochen Vylder, Ms Lidiya Grigorieva, Mr Nigol Vanian; the International Service for Human Rights - Ms Chantal Mutamuriza; UPR-Info - Mr Roland Chauville; the Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights - Ms Ioana Cismas; the International Coordinating Committee of National Human Rights Institutions - Ms Katharina Rose; and Mandat International - Ms Ursula Siegfried.
A session with Ambassador Christian Strohal of Austria, Ambassador Hannu Himanen of Finland, Ambassador Sihasak Phuangketkeow of Thailand, and Mr. Roberto Nocella, First Secretary from the Mission of Italy in representation of Ambassador Laura Mirachian, provided excellent insights on how the diplomatic community contributes to the development and implementation of human rights standards, and how States engage within the framework of the Human Rights Council. Following, a session with Mr. Philippe Dam from Human Rights Watch and Mr. Leon Saltiel from UN Watch offered an invaluable overview of how civil society can engage effectively – both formally as well as informally - with States at the HRC to ensure that human rights standards are actually developed, and ultimately implemented in national policies. A role play on the Universal Periodic Review fostered first-hand understanding of the UPR amongst participants.
The first two days were focused on gaining familiarity with the UN Human Rights System and how civil society can interact with available mechanisms such as the Human Rights Council and the Treaty Bodies, while on the third day, participants received training on how to develop and implement a project. Ms. Sandrine Delattre, from the NGO Management School, delivered a one-day introductory training on project cycle management and the application of the logical framework approach. On the last day of the training, under the guidance of Mr. Rune Arctander, Communication Officer at the United Nations Association of Norway, participants applied the logical framework approach to develop ideas for human rights projects and activities to be then implemented in collaboration with their respective United Nations Associations.