30 mins

Researching human rights law for advocacy

Advocates rely on international human rights standards to hold governments to their legal obligations and for developing effective advocacy strategies. For example, activists using commitments their state has made to demand legislative change in their country, so that the country implements at home what it commits to at the UN. In order to understand the substance of international human rights law, advocates and researchers need to identify what the treaty texts and human rights bodies say about particular human rights or legal concepts. Unfortunately, there is no centralized database of international human rights law (yet).
About this course:
This course will allow students to develop a better idea of the kinds of human rights information that can support your research and advocacy efforts. You will also know where to find a wide range of human rights documents.
What do I learn:
In this course, you will learn how to find key human rights documents, including case-specific decisions, general treaty interpretation, human rights monitoring bodies’ reports on States’ compliance with their treaty obligations. You will learn how advocates use this information to frame and support their arguments, know what policies and recommendations States support at international bodies, guide their strategic decisions, understand realities on the ground, and be successful in protecting human rights.
What do I need to know:
This course is suitable for anyone who wants to research human rights standards and laws, and their interpretation and application to lead change in their community and country.


Friedhelm Weinberg

Friedhelm Weinberg is the Executive Director of HURIDOCS, an organisation that helps human rights defenders utilise information and technology to shine a light on abuses and advance justice for both victims and perpetrators of human rights violations. Friedhelm previously served as HURIDOCS’ Deputy Director, overseeing and managing projects in Africa, the Middle East, the Former Soviet Union Region and Asia.

1.1 Introduction to the course
1.2 What is human rights law?
1.3 Why is this information important for human rights law?
2.1 Define objective research questions
2.2 Identify relevant sources and bodies
2.3 Identify key documents via secondary sources
2.4 Identify available databases
2.5 Know the databases' limitations
3.1 When to use the UPR-Info database
3.2 The UPR database: How to use it
4.1 When to use the RightDocs database
4.2 RightsDocs database: How to use it
5.1 When to use the SUMMA database
5.2 Summa database: How to use it
6.1 Wrap up video

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