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Human Rights & Conflict and Post-Conflict Zones Student Initiative (HR&C Initiative) - GISA

Human Rights & Conflict and Post-Conflict Zones Student Initiative (HR&C Initiative)





The main aim of the Human Rights & Conflict and Post-Conflict Zones Student Initiative is to foster the debate and study on human rights and conflicts related topics at IHEID. The initiative has been established in May 2014 as a result of the lack of courses about Human Rights at IHEID – especially in the context of situations of conflict or post-conflict. We are organising lectures, study groups and movie nights to bring together interested students for discussions and engagement with the topic.


Objectives of the HR&C Initiative 

  • Promote the debate about human rights in conflicts, and related issues
  • Create network among students, scholars, practitioners and organizations related to Human Rights and Armed Conflicts
  • Advance the knowledge among the IHEID community about the topic
  • Promoting academic events with students. scholars and/or practitioners;
  • Promoting Master and PhD thesis presentations;
  • Establishing partnerships with NGOs, IOs, governments, private sector, think tanks;
  • Promoting network events;
  • Establishing a partnership with the students and scholars from the Geneva Academy;
  • Creating a study group;
  • Promoting research on the topics among the IHEID community;
  • Publishing articles and essays;
  • Academic trips;
  • Participating in international conferences;
  • Raising awareness through art exhibitions


Activities since May 2014

Date Speaker and Organization Topic/Event
MAY 6, 2014 Andrea Bianchi

Head of Law Department, IHEID

Lecture: Human Rights Law in Conflict and Post-Conflict Zones
SEPTEMBER 12, 2014 Paulo Sergio Pinheiro

Chairman of the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic

Lecture: Mr. Pinheiro shared his experience as Special Rapporteur and Chairman of the Commission

Specifically about the human rights violations in Syria. (Part of the GISA Welcome Week)

OCTOBER 13, 2014 Nicole Bürli

Legal Expert,World Organization Against Torture.

Lecture: Guantanamo: Legacy of an Official Policy of Cruelty
OCTOBER 27, 2014 Maria Teresa Garrido

ICRC Advisor on Women and War


Lecture: ICRC Approach to Gender and Sexual Violence. Specifically, different contexts in which sexual and gender-based violence occur in times of conflict and post-conflict and the ICRC response to these issues.
NOVEMBER 10, 2014 Adrien-Claude Zoller

President of Geneva for Human Rights

Lecture: The UN, Business and Human Rights: Trends and Developments. Specifically regarding the UN Human Rights Council’s adoption of the Resolution on the “Elaboration of an International legally binding instrument on transnational corporations and other business enterprises with respect to human rights”.
NOVEMBER 19, 2014 Dr. Mario Gomez

Human Rights Lawyer and Executive Director, International Centre for Ethnic Studies in Sri Lanka

Lecture: The Human Rights Situation in Post-war Sri Lanka
FEBRUARY 26, 2015 Elizabeth Decrey-Warner

Executive President and Co-Founder of Geneva Call (an NGO committed to furthering international humanitarian norms in armed conflict by negotiating with armed non-State actors)


Lecture: Engaging Armed Non-State Actors Towards Respect of Humanitarian Norms: Achievements and Challenges Faced by Geneva Call.

Specifically on the obstacles and successes that Geneva Call has encountered and the importance of an inclusive approach to negotiation.

MARCH 9, 2015 Carlos LopezSenior Advisor to the programme on Business and Human Rights, International Commission of Jurists Lecture: The UN, Business and Human Rights: Trends and Developments. Specifically about new developments on international law regarding the accountability of business enterprises in several fields.
MARCH 12, 2015 HR&C

Fundraising Dinner: Syrian Evening. In collaboration with MENA Initiative, the fundraiser event mixed culture, food, exchange of stories, humanity and love while focusing on one country: Syria.

The event raised 1’033.35 CHF and the proceeds went to the association “FemmeS pour la démocratie” which financially supports detained women in prisons. FSD helps them to get vital things they need while in detention (medicine, food, etc.) and denounces their living conditions.
MARCH 26, 2015 Frank Haldemann

SNSF professor at the Law Faculty of the University of Geneva

Thomas Unger

Researcher on transitional justice and as Advisor to the UN Special Rapporteur on Truth, Justice, Reparation and Guarantees of Non-Recurrence

Panel Discussion: The Idea of Transitional Justice: History, Ideals and Real Politics, and Recent Challenges in its Practice. The lecture discussed the idea of transitional justice from a historical, philosophical and legal perspective as well as discussing recent challenges in the field.
MARCH 31, 2015 Neil BuhneDirector of the UNDP Geneva Office Lecture: The Role of International Organisations in the Early Recovery and Post-Conflict Scenario 
APRIL 15, 2015 Séverine Ramis

Terre des Hommes Suisse Geneva


Lecture: Natural Resources, Conflicts and Human Rights Violations – The work of Terre des Hommes in Mining Communities in Peru. Ms. Ramis shared her experiences about working in mining communities in Peru, where she mainly works with children that have been trafficked.
MAY 8, 2015 Joshua Cooper

Education Rights Working Group and UPR Taskforce Co-Chair

Mary Gerisch

Right to Health and Workers’ Rights Working Groups and UPR Taskforce Co-Chair

Mr. Craig Mokhiber

UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human rights, Chief, Development & Economic & Social Issues Branch (DESIB)

Multiple Speakers: US Human Rights Violations: A Review Before the UPR. Several prominent American NGOs were in Geneva for the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of the US and came to talk with us about the US’ human rights violations over the last few years. 
SEPTEMBER 22, 2015 Guy Goodwin-Gill

Professor, Oxford University


Lecture: Refugees -Challenges for Protection and Assistance in the 21st Century
OCTOBER 26, 2015 Professor Alison Dundes Renteln

Professor of Political Science, Anthropology, Law, and Public Policy at the University of Southern California


Lecture: Religious Discrimination and Noise Ordinances
NOVEMBER 9, 2015 Professor Christoph Zuercher

Graduate School of Public and International Affairs at the University of Ottawa


Lecture: What Do We (Not) Know About Development Aid and Violence?
MARCH 8, 2016 Dr. Johanna Bernstein

International environment lawyer


Lecture: The Implications of the New Global Climate Regime for Human Rights


APRIL 7, 2016 Marco Kalbusch

Senior Political Affairs Officer at the UN Office for Disarmament Affairs, Geneva Branch


Lecture: Human Rights and Disarmament: Experiences from the Field
APRIL15, 2016 Dr. Tammam Aloudat

Deputy Medical at MSF


Lecture: Humanitarian Action: An MSF Doctor’s Perspective from the Field
MAY 13, 2016 HR&C  Fundraising Dinner: Help Refugees



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