ISHR Human Rights Defenders Advocacy Program 2017 for Human Rights Defenders – Geneva, Switzerland (Scholarships available to Attend)

Application Deadline: Wednesday 4 January 2017.

ISHR is calling for applications for its flagship Human Rights Defenders Advocacy Program in 2017 – the extensive training programme for human rights defenders, so if you are a human rights defender keen to increase your interaction with the UN system, apply now!

The training will take place in Geneva between 29 May and 9 June 2017 and provides defenders with opportunities to put their advocacy skills directly into action at the 35th session of the UN Human Rights Council.

ISHR’s Human Rights Defender Advocacy Programme (HRDAP) equips defenders with the knowledge and skills to make strategic use of the international human rights system. It also provides an opportunity for participants to directly engage in lobbying and advocacy activities at the UN level to effect change on the ground back home.

As well as receiving training modules on all the UN human rights mechanisms from a range of experts, participants will also have the opportunity to build networks in Geneva and around the world, carry out lobbying of UN member States and UN staff, and learn from peers from a range of regions working on a range of human rights issues.


This programme consists of the following elements:
a) A compulsory online learning component, which takes place prior to face-to-face training sessions, and supports participants in consolidating existing knowledge and developing advocacy objectives;
b) Intensive training in Geneva, with the principal course hosted in June to coincide with the 35th session of the Human Rights Council and the expected dates of the 24th Annual Meeting of UN Special Procedures, focusing on ways to use international human rights mechanisms effectively and to influence outcomes;
c) Specific advocacy at Human Rights Council sessions and other relevant meetings, with regular feedback and peer education to learn from the experiences, including expert inputs from leading human rights advocates
This programme is directed at experienced human rights defenders in Non-Governmental Organisations or National Human Rights Institutions, who have existing advocacy experience at the national level and some prior knowledge of the international human rights system.

Participants profile
For the June 2017 training course, ISHR will consider applicants working on at least one of the focus topics of the 35th session of the Human Rights Council highlighted above and/or one of ISHR’s strategic priorities.3 Final decisions regarding participants will be based upon the following criteria:

  • Match between applicants’ area of work/expertise and ISHR’s strategic priorities and/or the opportunities provided by the 35th Human Rights Council;
  • Applicants’ knowledge of human rights and their experience and willingness to engage with the UN human rights system and integrate it effectively into domestic level advocacy;
  • Applicants’ experience of carrying out advocacy at the national and/or regional level;
  • Applicants’ advocacy responsibilities and role within their organisation;
  • Applicants’ willingness to contribute to peer education in a diverse group of participants;
  • Applicants’ demonstrated commitment to the principles of human rights, including the principles of universality and non-discrimination;
  • Communication, language and organisational skills;
  • The potential for a strategic partnership between ISHR and the applicants’ organisation;
  • Whether applicants or their organisations have been recommended by a strategic partner.
  • The course will be carried out in English. ISHR cannot provide translation.
    In identifying and selecting participants, ISHR will work closely with leading human rights organisations in each of the specific respective focus areas and across the world.


  • The tuition fee is 3000 Swiss Francs (CHF), and the average cost of travel, accommodation, meals, per-diem and programme logistics administration is approximately 4000 CHF for the two-week period.
  • Participants who are unable to meet those costs are invited to request a full or partial scholarship. Full scholarships cover the whole cost of 7000 CHF, whilst partial scholarships may cover either the 3000 CHF tuition fee or part of the participants’ accommodation, meals and per diem, or travel costs, or programme logistics and administration. Scholarships will be attributed at ISHR’s discretion.
  • Applications will be considered on a rolling basis starting immediately. Participants will be advised by mid March on whether or not they have been selected, and the availability of full/partial scholarships.

For More Information:

Visit the Official Webpage of the Human Rights Defenders Advocacy Program 2017



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