The Geneva Institute for Human Rights (GIHR) is a non-governmental, non-profit organisation based in Geneva. As an academic study and research institution, it is independent from all governments, political parties, organisations and philosophical or religious groups. Its key objective is to raise awareness and understanding about the importance of human rights. GIHR works for some of the most disadvantaged and vulnerable communities, seeking to ensure that the principles of equality, dignity and respect are incorporated into all levels of public service.
GIHR’s intention is to contribute to the prevention of human rights violations and to the protection of human rights in close cooperation with international and national partners. Among others, GIHR is collaborating with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. The Institute takes a multi-disciplinary approach to human rights, working in varied fields such as research, situational analysis, information-management, education and agenda. For example, issues of particular concern include the promotion of human rights treaties, issues in the framework of security policy, peace policy or human rights, and strategic issues connected to human rights policies.
Ever since its foundation in 2004, the Institute has offered seminars, lectures and national as well as international programs with the intention to (of contributing) contribute to the protection of human rights and to a spread spreading awareness and knowledge regarding human rights. The founders’ initial aim of promoting the principles of international human rights has led to numerous projects being devised and carried out (see Activities). Initially, GIHR has geographically concentrated its activities to countries that belong to one of the most disadvantaged regions – namely the Arab region. Due to the fact that these countries have been previously closed to international organisations working in the field, the protection of human rights and the prevention of violations has been overshadowed by major difficulties. However, since many GIHR staff members originate from these countries, the Institute has been able to increasingly gain access to some of these most closed countries ever since. Furthermore, it has succeeded in establishing close relations and permanent contacts that enable the Institute to not only access these countries, but also to develop long lasting partnerships and to lead projects with an enduring impact.
Presently, the Institute aspires to not only continue its successful work in countries of the Arab region, but also to broaden its geographical focus and to expand its work and activities to other countries.
What We Do
Promote a thriving culture of human rights in the MENA+ region.
Sustainably anchor human rights in the MENA+ region.
GIHR envisages a MENA+ region where States ensure the respect, protection, promotion and fulfilment of all the rights and freedoms enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and
other international human rights instruments, and develop national human rights protection mechanisms that meet the highest international standards.
Promoting Human Rights for Change.
GIHR works towards a thriving culture of human rights in the MENA+ region through 3 interlinked levels of work :
1. National Awareness and capacity in human rights has been sustainably developed, contributing towards ‘change from within’
2. Human rights have been anchored
sustainably in national/regional institutions, processes and protection mechanisms.
3. MENA+ region is robustly and effectively engaged with Geneva-based human rights bodies and mechanisms
Our Core Values
→ Dignity and Respect: Every human being is entitled to have their dignity and human rights respected equally whatever (regardless of) their gender, age, religion or disability.
→ Knowledge: Knowledge is an asset. Through promotion of human rights principles, effective social change can occur.
→ Integrity: Transparency, democracy and integrity are crucial to enable empowerment of the community.
→ Promotion and dissemination of international human rights principles as they are expressed in the international Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 10 December 1948, and as in other covenants related to human rights.
Acquainting any concerned civil societies and governmental institutions with these principles.
→ Contribution to the review process of legislations and laws by presenting practical proposals to keep them in conformity with the International Bill of Human Rights and related international declarations or conventions.
→ Creation of a statistical and informational database on international and regional declarations, conventions and covenants related to human rights.
→ Service as a democratic forum for dialogue, orchestration and integration of efforts exerted by human rights related NGOs and governmental organisations, in order to establish the rule of law and institutions as well as a democratic human society.
→ Provision of assistance for NGOs and governmental organisations, in order to practically monitor and document the status of human rights. Promotion of these rights on all legislative and practical levels.
→ Provision of advisory services to governmental and non-governmental bodies related to human rights, as well as to any instance that might require such services.
→ Specific attention to women, children, and variable groups, in order to enable them to actively contribute to a professional life and to decision-making processes.
At the individual level, some of the former participants trained by GIHR have:
● Become trainers in the field of human rights.
● Been promoted in their various countries to positions related to human rights.
● Participated actively in the UN human rights council and meetings.
At the institutional and national levels GIHR has enabled and supported:
● A specialised Masters of Science Degree in Human Rights has been developed in Morocco
● Civil society organizations trained by GIHR have submitted reports to the UPR for their respective countries. Libya and Lebanon and have cited GIHR for their support
● Morocco has ratified the Optional Protocol of the Convention on Torture.
● Submission of reporting to UN systems within the timeframe provided, for example in Lebanon, Libya and Kuwait.
At the regional level, GIHR has facilitated:
● Dialogue between UN Special Rapporteurs and MENA+ region stakeholders on issues such as violence against Women.
● Consultations with UN representatives and MENA+ representatives.
● A seminar in Bern in cooperation with the Institute of Law on women’s rights in Islam, bringing renowned experts from Sudan, Egypt and Jordan.
The Geneva Institute for Human Rights is unique in providing practical training services in Geneva in the Arabic language, thus being the only institute in the European continent that uses this language in its activities and programmes.
The institute's presence in Geneva, which is the European headquarters of the United Nations and the center of human rights activities in the intergovernmental system, provides trainees with the opportunity to attend meetings of the United Nations mechanisms, particularly the Human Rights Council and the treaty monitoring bodies on the implementation of fundamental human rights conventions, and to identify mechanisms of action in international forums.
The Institute provides its activities mainly in Arabic and English, and ensures that its training staff are experienced and experts including specialists working in the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and in treaty monitoring bodies and special procedures human rights mechanisms.
Through its extensive work, the Geneva Institute for Human Rights (GIHR) has gained the trust of the parties it works with, enabling it to be a leading organisation in working with different countries and stakeholders in the Middle East and North Africa. Year after year, the number of participants and the number of beneficiaries increases.
The Institute communicates with its counterparts and provides them with the necessary information in the field of human rights, facilitates and coordinates their participation in international conferences, particularly sessions of the Human Rights Council, meetings held on the sidelines of the sessions, as well as courses organized by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.
Similarly, the Institute helps partners to develop and plan their human rights programmes in their respective countries. In addition, the Institute aids in ensuring the effective implementation of such programmes when requested.
The Institute is implementing training programmes with specialized topics related to the protection of human rights, mainly aimed at introducing the United Nations human rights system and the mechanisms and procedures of United Nations organizations and agencies concerned with human rights.
The Institute is primarily targeting the following groups in their training:
Training of national cadres working in human rights institutions in their countries.
Training young national cadres who wish to carry out human rights exercises in their respective countries in the future.
GIHR also assists partners in assessing their current capabilities and recommending areas that need to be further developed, as well as assisting states and partners in obtaining accreditation, international recognition and coordination
In addition, the Institute supports the establishment of national human rights institutions.
The Institute also engages daily with more than 50,000 interested people and followers through social networks, particularly Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and WhatsApp.
The Institute sends its media releases to more than 20,000 email subscribers with the aim of keeping an audience up to date with the latest developments related to topics of interest to the Institute and its partners. The Institute's media releases are published on its website in two languages: Arabic and English.
Board of Directors
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Khouloud Al Khatib
Dear Friends of the Geneva Institute for Human Rights,
you are welcome to the GIHR website, and we are pleased to share with you our activities, and update you on the Institute activities and news, in addition to the news and developments of the United Nations mechanisms which are concerned with the protection of human rights.
We are interested to provide you with all developments and events related to human rights at the national, regional and international levels, and this is what our multiple language website is striving to achieve through its Arabic, English and French language publications.
We are looking forward to deserving your confidence in our website, through the materials that we provide.
While GIHR, is continuing its activities at various levels, we strive to develop our work mechanisms, taking advantage of the enormous development that the world is witnessing in human rights field, as well as in protection mechanisms, also to benefit from the progress in training technologies, and will work hard to provide the required information through the electronic media, social media, and through publications, and studies that the Institute is publishing regularly, to cope with the developments in human rights local, regional and global movements.
I’m honored to welcome you to our website on behalf of the Board of Directors, of the Geneva Institute for Human Rights, and invite you to review and participate in our training sessions and other activities, to deepen and promote human rights culture, and disseminate rights knowledge in all parts of the world, particularly in the Middle East and North Africa region, in addition to other countries in the western, central and eastern Africa.
We will be glad to receive your communication and honoured to receive your suggestions and contributions to disseminate the knowledge and promote human rights culture.
Mohamed Cherif, President
Geneva Institute for Human Rights