Photo: Ben Buckland

, Middle East & North Africa

ISHR welcomes sixteen inspiring defenders in Geneva for its flagship training, HRDAP23

ISHR's flagship Human Rights Defender Advocacy Programme (HRDAP) continues with its in-person component - after an interactive online course - from Wednesday 14 June, with sixteen inspiring human rights defenders from around the globe traveling to Geneva to learn how to use the UN mechanisms for even greater impact on the ground.

There is an unusual hustle and bustle this morning at ISHR Geneva offices: people from around the world, who’ve previously only met online, are greeting each other with a smile, an accolade or a large bright laugh. Meanwhile, ISHR staff move around, welcoming their guests, handing out name badges, and generally making sure that everyone feels at ease during this first in-person encounter. 

What’s happening at ISHR today? Nothing less than the 2023 edition of our Human Rights Defender Advocacy Programme (HRDAP) in-person component … after three years of running this flagship training entirely remotely due to the pandemic.

‘After months of preparation, we’re thrilled to meet these sixteen committed human rights defenders in person,’ says Diego Villanueva, Office and Programme Support Manager at ISHR. 

The programme equips defenders with the knowledge and skills to make strategic use of the international human rights system. It provides an opportunity for participants to directly engage in advocacy activities at the UN to create change back home, with defenders able to rely on the ISHR team for on-going advocacy support.

Image: ISHR, with photos submitted by HRDAP23 participants.

‘These committed activists are traveling from around the globe – from 15 countries – to spend ten highly intense days together, gaining practical advocacy experience in Geneva,’ says Salomé Boucif, Training and Advocacy Support Manager at ISHR.

The participants work on various human rights thematics, reclaiming civil society space for women human rights defenders, defending the rights of LGBTIQ+ persons and people on the move, and more.

The selection process for HRDAP ensures precise targeting of participants – defenders who will be in a position to use the UN system to multiply their impact on the ground – as well as a limited group size in order to maximise meaningful interactions and cross-support within the group. This is why ISHR has developed the ISHR Academy to complement HRDAP and reach even more human rights defenders, including those who may not be able to travel to Geneva for safety reasons.

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HRDAP is a thorough and comprehensive advocacy programme. The platform it offers is user-friendly and very informative, the group sessions are rich with information and the 1-1 sessions with the coaches are very meaningful and insightful. Combined with motivation, impact never felt closer.
HRDAP22 alumni Mounir Marjieh, the Community Action Centre / Al-quds University, Palestine

HRDAP 2023 coincides with the 53rd session of the Human Rights Council. In addition to receiving training on all the UN human rights mechanisms from a range of experts, participants will have the opportunity to build networks in Geneva and around the world, carry out advocacy with UN member States and UN staff, and learn from peers from a range of regions working on a range of human rights issues.

‘Our training alumni become our partners, and we’re looking forward to seeing what our trainees achieve during the ten days, as well as how we can work together beyond HRDAP,’ adds Salomé Boucif.

We wish all participants a great experience and stay in Geneva!

Our thanks go to our partners without whom it wouldn’t have been possible to organise such a training, and also to individual donors from ISHR’s last fundraising appeal who supported HRDAPers’participation. 

Stay tuned by following @ISHRGlobal!

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