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The Opening Lecture of the School will be held by Prof. Manfred Nowak, EIUC Secretary General and Prof. Dalia Leinarte, Chairperson of the CEDAW Committee - UN Human Rights Treaty Body. Manfred Nowak, Professor of international law and human rights at the University of Vienna, has been the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture and member of the United Nations Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances.
He has been recently appointed by the UN Secretary General to lead the New Global Study on Situation of Children in Detention. Dalia Leinarte is Professor of History at Lucy Cavendish College and she has published extensively on women and family in Imperial Russia, and former Soviet Union.
Cluster on Business & Human Rights: recent trends and developments
Since its establishment five years ago, the course explores the interdisciplinary components of the Business and Human Rights agenda and provides thoughtful insights on the most recent developments from experts representatives from Academia, International Organizations and Institutions (EU, UN, FAO, OECD), and the private sector.
The guiding principles on Business and Human Rights endorsed by the UN Human Rights Council in 2011, the adoption of mandatory rules such as the EU Directive on mandatory disclosing of non-financial information (including human rights) have already prompted companies to address human rights issues arising in the context of their businesses (e.g. Unilever, Ericsson and others have published their standalone reports on human rights, using the UN Guiding Principles reporting Framework). In Europe, the Modern Slavery Act has come into force in the UK, obliging companies turning over more than 36M Pounds per year to produce an annual statement on their strategies to combat modern slavery practices in their supply chains.
The convergence of soft law, mandatory provisions and pragmatic approach will put further pressure on companies to go beyond the “make no harm” principle and will require implementation of more specific actions (e.g. specific policies and compliance/grievances mechanisms, as foreseen in UN Guiding principles on Business and Human Rights) as well as more “positive duties”, especially where companies are sole providers and where the context requires provision of health, education etc.
The course will consist of lectures, practical examples and case studies with interactive discussions. We will review the most recent developments, with specific focus on the implementation of the 3 pillars of the UN Guiding Principle, including the access to remedy, provide practical examples on how companies are addressing this issue as well as how States are developing their national actions plans. It will also allow participants to interact directly with representatives from Institutions, private sector and expert in the sector and join in the EIUC global network of experts on human rights.
The aim of the course is therefore to allow participants to:
gain insights and most recent update on Business and Human Rights agenda and provide a practical view points from a broad global network of international stakeholders;
interact with experts and representatives from International institutions, Private sector and Academia.
join in the global network of human rights experts of EIUC which gathers the most prominent international universities specialised on human rights.
Cluster on Human Rights Defenders
Human rights defenders play an essential role in the realisation of rights. Not only do they fight for human rights in situations of oppression and abuse; they also act as monitors, drawing attention of the international community to otherwise neglected violations and threats; they assist victims in claiming their rights; and they contribute to holding those in power accountable.
Whether acting individually or as part of an organised group, human rights defenders are often the target of reprisals and may themselves be subject to human rights violations. Their essential work, moreover, is in many contexts systematically hampered by the powers that be.
Whether acting individually or as part of an organised group, human rights defenders are often the target of reprisals and may themselves be subject to human rights violations. Their essential work, moreover, is in many contexts systematically hampered by the powers that be. There is in this light an increasing understanding within the international community of the importance of safeguarding and facilitating human rights defenders at national, regional and international level.
The Declaration on Human Rights Defenders adopted by the United Nations on 9 December 1998 marked a historic achievement in the struggle toward better protection of those at risk for carrying out legitimate human rights activities. It is the first UN instrument that recognises the importance and legitimacy of the work of human rights defenders, as well as their need for better protection. Following the adoption of the UN Declaration, a number of initiatives were taken at the international and regional level, such as the mandate of the UN Special Rapporteur on human rights defenders, the mandate of the Special Rapporteur of the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights on human rights defenders, the Human Rights Defenders Unit of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, and the European Union Guidelines on human rights defenders. However, despite such achievements much still remains to be done.
The present summer school cluster has a twofold focus. Firstly, it reviews a cross-section of instruments, policies and coordination mechanisms that have been devised to protect and facilitate the work of human rights defenders. This will be done with the involvement of Protect Defenders and Front Line and/or other major civil society organisations working in this area. Secondly, the cluster explores possibilities for reinforcing the work of human rights defenders through a targeted engagement with international, regional and national human rights mechanisms as well as civil society organisations operative in areas intersecting with the work of local human rights defenders. Particular attention will be devoted to contexts of imminent threat to human rights, notably conflict and post-conflict situations and situations of repressive governance, as well as sexual and gender-based violence.
A red thread running through the programme will be to highlight and work with the concrete experience of participants, who bring a rich legacy of engagement in complex human rights situations to bear on the programme.
It should be noted, finally, that the cluster on human rights defenders overlaps thematically with other summer school clusters, notably the cluster on gender issues. The organisers will seek to facilitate interaction between the respective participant groups as well as possible cross-listing of specific course components.
Cluster on Women, Peace and Security in a growing extremist and militarised world: Agenda, implementation gap and the transformative approach & potential of CEDAW
Gender inequality remains one the most pervasive and massive human rights violations of all time. It is the root cause for a great amount of women’s suffering both in times of peace and in times of conflict. De facto ‘normalized’ in times of peace, despite de jure prohibition, such violations and suffering are exacerbated in a conflict setting, on the road to migration, in refugee camps, etc. Embedded in social practices and deeply rooted in stereotypes, gender inequality is a multifaceted phenomenon that forms an integral part of a complex matrix of inter-related and interconnected social hierarchies, of which gender is but one, rendering any effort for change an extremely complicated endeavor.
Unequal socially constructed gender hierarchies, being established in a public space which excluded women, do not reflect their needs and concerns. As a result, in each and every setting, inherent and mutually reinforcing inequalities are socially or culturally legitimized and accepted.
Consequently, women and men are prevented from living a thriving life, from enjoying equal rights and opportunities, as well as, from leading the life they want without fear. We are currently experiencing strong tendencies toward an extremist and militarized world, which pose new and further challenges to gender equality that has been achieved so far.
The United Nations (UN) Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW, 1979), often described as the international ‘Bill of Rights’ for women, has been instrumental in many respects. It sparked a number of key developments internationally and created the conditions for a constructive dialogue with State Parties in order to advance the equality agenda against all odds. The CEDAW Committee, CEDAW’s Treaty Body, has an impressive record: an almost universal character (189 State Parties), 36 General Recommendations, as well as a significant body of concluding observations to State Parties’ periodic reports. CEDAW Committee made a significant contribution to the advancement of de jure and de facto equality in all walks of life. Its transformative approach is instrumental. The UN Women, Peace and Security agenda is an excellent case study in this respect. It highlights the potential and the benefit of this approach, as illustrated mainly by General Recommendation 30 and many other of its works.
The Women, Peace and Security agenda covers a broad spectrum of issues that dramatically affect women and societies during peace and conflict. Advancing the relevant international normative framework and its incorporation into national legislation constitute the most significant development that has taken place since the adoption of the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 in 2000 and the subsequent thematic ones. Although 17 years since the adoption of 1325 have passed, there still fundamental issues to be addressed, such as under-funding, huge implementation gaps and exclusion of women from peace agreements negotiations still persist. In an interactive way, the cluster, critically analyses achievements, challenges and ways ahead. Methodologically, it uses case studies and case law to highlight and to analyse in depth selected important aspects of the WPS agenda, such as sexual violence in conflict, key issues pertaining to National Action Plans (NAPs) and forward-looking initiatives, like the one of Women Mediators.
At European Union level, the issue of gender equality and the WPS Agenda have gained increasing attention. European Institutions –European Parliament, European Commission and the Council- have been active in promoting this agenda. The Task Force on 1325 developed a set of indicators to assess the protection and empowerment of women in conflict settings and in post conflict situations. The role of women in peace and the search for more creative approaches to diplomacy are included in the Global Strategy for the EU’s Foreign and Security Policy. The European External Action Service Gender Principal Advisor closely follows the implementation of the UN Security Council Resolution 1325. The European Institute for Gender Equality and the Fundamental Rights Agency are actively engaged in a number of EU-wide studies, mapping exercises and analyses. The role of European Institutions has been pivotal in promoting women’s rights, documenting the realities of women’s lives and setting the agenda for gender equality and women empowerment, including for promotion of Peace and the combating of gender based violence. The equality acquis is substantial, the progress still needed to achieve full equality equally so.
Aim of the Cluster
The cluster will provide a state of the art critical appraisal on the Women, Peace and Security agenda in a growing extremist and militarised world and stimulate reflection on achievements, key challenges and ways ahead. Participants will have the opportunity to refine their knowledge on both empirically and theoretically informed analyses and highly benefit from discussions with experienced field activists, leading scholars and world-class decision-makers.
Deep understanding of the Women, Peace and Security agenda and international developments concerning associated key challenges.
In-depth knowledge concerning international and national instruments, to advance the equality transformative agenda of CEDAW and its importance and connection to the Women, Peace and Security agenda.
Empirically and theoretically informed knowledge about the role of key actors both at the activists and institutional level, and the challenges they are facing in enforcing and promoting the Women, Peace and Security agenda.
The Closing Lecture of the School will be held by Ambassador Mara Marinaki, the Principle Gender EEAS Advisor on the Implementation of UNSCR 1325 on Women, Peace and Security. Ambassador Mara Marinaki is a law graduate from the University of Athens, and holds an LL.M in International Law from the Aristotelian University of Thessaloniki.