The Danish United Nations Association organized a workshop for trainers in human rights education from 4 to 12 January 2012. The training was attended by 19 participants representing various non-governmental organisations from across Europe, with three delegates from each of the six countries represented (Denmark, Estonia, Croatia, Poland, Romania and Turkey.)
The training was held in Slettestrand in northern Denmark, and was organized in cooperation with ATDP, Semper Avanti, Agency for Lifelong Learning and the Estonian National UNICEF Committee.
The purpose of the training was to teach participants ways to educate others in the field of human rights, with particular emphasis on developing presentation skills and workshops. In the six days of the training the participants learned about the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and methods by which it can be promoted among youth and its various addressees. They were trained to develop human rights-themed workshops and practiced the logistics of preparing and implementing workshops, as well as forms of communication to be used in working groups and methods for achieving their particular goals.
The participants also took part in a Mini Model UN simulation, discussing and adopting a resolution dealing with establishing a cease-fire between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. This exercise gave them an experience in the functioning of the UN Security Council and demonstrated the complexity of human rights as a far-impact subject which is far from being reflexively applicable.
In addition to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the academic foundation of the training included detailed examination of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women and the Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees. A topic of special focus was also the globally current discussion on the responsibility of states to protect their populations from war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide (Responsibility to Protect, R2P).
The delegates also had the opportunity to give an overview of the state of women’s rights in their countries at the Women’s Museum in the ancient Viking city of Aarhus. Their presentations were followed by an open discussion and question-and-answer session with the audience, which included citizens and members of the academic community. Trafficking of women was singled out as an especially dire problem in the field of women’s rights in Croatia, as well as the fact that Croatia is transforming from a country of transit to a country of both origin and destination for trafficking in human beings. The delegates of all countries likewise addressed the problem of domestic violence, as well as violations of women’s social and economic rights in the context of their professional careers.
Special distinction was given to the training by the participation of Danish UN Association president and human rights and R2P expert Flemming Thøgersen.
The training also included an inter-cultural evening at which participating countries briefly presented themselves and their cuisine, as well as their traditional music and national dances. In addition, a traditional Danish dinner was organized to introduce delegates to the traditions of their host country.