“I have been studying International Affairs for three years now, and have grown up in a family very involved in the political life of the United Arab Emirates. My degree has covered international law, political systems, foreign relations, and domestic policy, and this course in human rights has really developed my understanding of the way in which human rights interact with all other areas of my degree. It has transformed my knowledge from basic and abstract to one rooted in practice and experience”
Geneva Centre Graduate Fatema Al Ghfeli: “I would love to see the UAE increase its human rights awareness”
“I have always been interested in international relations and international law, as all of my family work in that area and it is the environment I have grown up in. I want to use this background to promote humanitarian causes both at home and abroad, and this course has been a real opportunity to develop my understanding of the field”
“I am honored to be standing here tonight as a representative of the new generation of human rights advocates in the UAE”: Geneva Centre Ambassador Maha Khalifa at Human Rights Training Graduation
Please read and share this speech by a brave and inspiring young human rights defender:
“My name is Maha Khalifa, and I am honored to be standing here tonight on behalf of Zayed University students and as a representative of the new generation of human rights advocates in the UAE. I would like to extend a warm welcome to you all, for being present at this closing ceremony and witnessing this very special moment.
Zayed University Students Graduate from Geneva Centre Training Programme in ‘Human Rights and Global Dialogue’
At the closing ceremony, Geneva Centre Chairman Dr Hanif Al Qassim noted that “investing in the education of young women is one of the most effective ways to reduce gender discrimination and work towards a just and equal society.” Obaid Al Zaabi, Ambassador of the United Arab Emirates to the United Nations, expressed his admiration for the way in which the Geneva Centre programme had been conducted, and for the responsiveness of the students involved.
“Investing in the education of young women is one of the most effective ways to reduce gender discrimination and work towards a just and equal society”: Geneva Centre Chairman at Human Rights Training Graduation
Please take a moment to read and share the words of our Chairman, and to raise awareness about the importance of human rights education for all.
“Excellencies, distinguished delegates, ladies and gentlemen, and students, on behalf of the Geneva Centre Board of Management it is my honour and pleasure to welcome you to this special occasion, where we congratulate twelve young women who have completed a training course in ‘Human Rights and Global Dialogue’.
Mr Eric Tistounet, the Chief of the Human Rights Council Branch at the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), discussed the work of the Human Rights Council. He emphasised that “no country is free from human rights violations” and that membership of the council cannot be restricted to only those countries signatory to all international conventions, as “we all have a duty to be held accountable and a right to be provided with opportunities to develop”.
This third day of the Geneva Centre’s human rights training course for Zayed University students began with a series of lectures by Ms Claire Frances Mahon, the Founder at Director of Te Atawhai Nations and Global Human Rights. Ms Mahon discussed the legal and institutional efforts to confront violence against women and protect the rights of vulnerable groups such as refugees and migrant workers. She also discussed the difficulties of transitional justice in conflict and post-conflict situations, including the ongoing Syrian conflict.
Dr Pierre Hazan, Professor at the University of Neuchâtel, presented on the role of the media in promoting and protecting human rights, and invited students to consider the selectivity bias of international and regional news agencies. He also analysed the role of the media in promoting hatred, racism, and xenophia, and stressed the urgent need to correct these narratives as “information provided by the media shapes our reality”.
The course began with a series of lectures by Judge Fatsah Ouguergouz, the Vice President of the African Court of Human and People’s Rights and Senior Advisor at the Geneva Centre . Judge Ouguergouz explained the philosophical and historical origins of human rights, their basis in international humanitarian law, and ways in which we can work towards a “culture of human rights”.
On the 7th-14th February 2014, the Geneva Centre for Human Rights Advancement and Global Dialogue conducted a human rights training course for fifteen students from the United Arab Emirates University. We believe human rights training is an important investment in the endeavour to achieve a just society in which all people are valued and respected, and our course was designed to promote awareness of human rights and the mechanisms used to uphold them.