NHRI Academy 2019

Participants of the NHRI Academy 2019 in Venice, Italy / Credit: ODIHR/Maria Kuchma

The 6th edition of the NHRI Academy, co-organised by ENNHRI and OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) in cooperation with Global Campus for Human Rights is currently underway in Venice. This year’s programme gathers 26 human rights professionals from National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs) across the OSCE region with the aim of enhancing their capacities to implement economic and social rights (ESR) and connecting with new peers.

Day 1

On the first day, Secretary-General of ENNHRI, Debbie Kohner, and Head of Human Rights Department at OSCE/ODIHR, Omer Fisher, gave an overview of the work of each organisation in supporting NHRIs in Europe and the OSCE region.

Katrien Meuwissen, Senior Human Rights Officer at the ENNHRI Secretariat, facilitated a discussion about mainstreaming the UN Paris Principles in the daily work of NHRIs. This set the scene for the NHRI Academy, establishing the unique position that NHRIs hold in promoting and protecting human rights.

The discussion was followed by a session examining economic and social rights norms. Mihir Mankad from the Center for Economic and Social Rights held a presentation focusing on states’ obligations of result and conduct, while Alison Hosie from the Scottish Human Rights Commission shared on NHRI’s work on the SDG Agenda.

Participants at the Academy exploring the relationships NHRIs have with the state civil society and international actors

The day closed with a high-level roundtable discussion on the need for an NHRI in Italy in compliance with the UN Paris Principles. The event, co-organised by ENNHRI and Amnesty International Italy, was moderated by ENNHRI’s Secretary-General, Debbie Kohner and featured a number of speakers from regional and Italian human rights organisations and bodies.

Kristina Simonyan from the Russian NHRI shared her thoughts on the importance of promoting economic and social rights and what she learned on the first day of the Academy.

Day 2

Day 2 of the Academy started off with a discussion about the role of NHRIs in monitoring economic and social rights. Mihir Mankad presented the OPERA Framework, a four-step guide designed to analyse whether a State is fulfilling its ESR obligations.

This was followed by sessions about the strategic use of NHRI functions, indicators and benchmarks in ESR monitoring.

In the afternoon, Danilo Ćurčić of Serbian NGO A11 - Inicijativa za ekonomska i socijalna prava talked to the Academy participants about the role of NHRIs in promoting and protecting ESR in times of austerity.

Danilo Ćurčić presenting on the protection and promotion of ESR in times of austerity

Summarising the experiences from the 2nd day of the Academy, Maarten Huvenne from Unia, the Belgian Center for Equal Protection, shared the importance of increasing the capacities of NHRIs to effectively advise governments on how to implement inclusive policies.

Day 3

The third day of the Academy started with a talk by Prof. Zdzislaw Kedzia, member of the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

There were then discussions on evaluating state resources using a human rights-based approach.

In the afternoon, participants took part in a guided tour of Biennale Arte 2019, exploring social impact through art.

2019 NHRI Academy participants on a guided tour of Biennale Arte 2019

Day 4

On the fourth day of the Academy, participants were looking at how to effectively communicate economic and social rights. They began with a session by Marc van Gool of OSCE/ODIHR, who spoke about interpreting and communicating findings, as well as visualising information related to ESR.

Marc van Gool of ODIHR presenting about communicating findings in an insightful way, developing a comms strategy, and principles of visual design
Anete Ilves of Latvian NHRI presenting examples of how her institution uses visuals to communicate about ESR issues

In the afternoon session, following a session on communicating and framing ESR, participants worked on defining core ’messages’ about the right to housing and expressed those messages visually. Below, you can see the creative pieces of NHRI Academy participants on the right to housing.

In the afternoon, there was a presentation by Kati Jaaskelainen about OSCE/ODIHR’s work on Roma and Sinti in the OSCE region.

Reflecting on the participation at the NHRI Academy 2019, Diana Kovatcheva from the Bulgarian NHRI shared about its value as an opportunity to meet peers and exchange experiences.

Day 5

On the last day of the Academy, participants worked on developing action plans and next steps after the Academy, and were presented with certificates.

NHRI Academy participants receive certificates on the last day