Are you a human rights defender keen to use the UN to push for change at home? If so, apply for the 2024 edition of ISHR’s flagship training, the Human Rights Defender Advocacy Programme (HRDAP)!

After a successful hybrid programme launched  in 2023, ISHR is pleased to launch the call for application for the 2024 edition of the Human Rights Defender Advocacy Programme (HRDAP), which will again take place both remotely and in Geneva! Below are some important dates to take into account before applying:

  • Mandatory distance learning course: 8 April – 3 June 2024 (part time)
  • In-person course in Geneva: 5- 15 June 2024 (full time)
  • Deadline to apply: 10 January 2024, midnight CET (Geneva Time)
  • Programme description with all the information can be downloaded here.
  • Application form can be found here.

What to expect from HRDAP 2024?

The course equips human rights defenders with the knowledge and skills to integrate the UN human rights system into their existing work at the national level in a strategic manner, and provides an opportunity for participants to prepare for and engage in advocacy activities at the UN with the aim to effect change back home.

Defenders will complete a 10-week hybrid learning programme, online and offline, which will include

  • Access to the HRDAP Platform, where they can complete e-learning courses on each key UN human rights mechanism and on advocacy strategies, access interactive learning materials and case studies on the ISHR Academy
  • Take part in live Q&A sessions with human rights experts
  • Receive a continuous advocacy support and coaching in order to develop concrete advocacy objectives to make strategic use of the international human rights system
  • Build networks around the world, and learn from peers from a range of regions working on a range of human rights issues
  • Apply their knowledge to case-studies scenarios and enhance their advocacy toolbox according to their specific needs
  • Receive support and advocacy accompaniment to conduct activities during the 56th and 57th Human Rights Council sessions and other relevant opportunities.

Participants will have the unique opportunity to apply their knowledge and skills while being in Geneva and practice, meet and share with their peers and experts. The blended format of the course allows defenders to continue their vital work on the ground, while diving into the inner workings of each key UN human rights mechanism, and gaining first-hand experience from advocates and UN staff on how civil society can strategically engage in the international human rights space.

By participating in HRDAP, defenders:

  1. Gain knowledge and tools, which they can use to ensure their voice is central in international human rights decision-making
  2. Explore and compare the benefits of engagement with the Human Rights Council, the Special Procedures, the OHCHR, the Universal Periodic Review and the Treaty Bodies, and examine how they can use them to bolster their work at the national level
  3. Develop strategies and lobbying techniques to increase the potential of their national and regional advocacy work

Could you be one of our 2024 participants?

This programme is directed at experienced human rights defenders working in non-governmental organisations, with existing advocacy experience at the national level and some prior knowledge of the international human rights system.

ISHR supports, and promotes solidarity with and between, defenders working in the following areas or contexts, which we recognise as intersectional and interdependent:

  1. Equality, dignity and non-discrimination
  2. Environmental justice and sustainability
  3. International accountability for the repression of human rights defenders
  4. Transparency and rule of law

The hybrid programme will bring together around 16 committed human rights defenders from different backgrounds, who work on a wide range of areas that are linked with our programmes to ensure a sustainable collaboration. This can include, but is not limited to, defenders working on the following thematics: women rights; business, environment and human rights; the human rights of LGBTIQ+ persons; anti-racism; reclaiming civil society space and increasing protection of human rights defenders.

What do former HRDAPers say?

16 human rights defenders from 15 countries took part in the last edition, HRDAP23. At the end of the training, 98% of the participants were either extremely satisfied or very satisfied with the programme and also felt that they would be able to apply what they learnt to their own day-to-day work. Find out more about the outcomes of HRDAP23 and where they are four months later, here.

More testimonials from HRDAP23 here.

GO FOR IT! I was able to meet all of these amazing people and also make friends, and to know what work they are doing and how they are able to overcome obstacles I didn’t even know about. I feel like for the last ten days we became, in some ways, a family and it’s been the greatest experience. And also the way I’m able to think now about the tools that the UN has is different. I also feel more confident to do my work now.

Cynthia Palacios Reckziegel, Centre of Legal and Social Studies (CELS), Argentina

How to apply?

First, download and read carefully the HRDAP 2024 Programme Description to find out more about modalities, requirements and funding. If you meet the criteria, take some time to apply using this online form before midnight Geneva time on Wednesday 10 January 2024!

As only a limited number of human rights defenders are able to participate in HRDAP each year, in addition to our range of guides and handbooks, ISHR has developed an e-learning space in English, French and Spanish to help human rights defenders strengthen their advocacy skills with the UN for greater impact on the ground: the ISHR Academy. The learning modules demystify the UN human rights system and build capacity to push for change. Discover new tools, insider tips, defender stories, and more!

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