Human Rights & Conflict Initiative

The Human Rights & Conflict Initiative is a student initiative at The Graduate Institute, Geneva that aims to increase the awareness of human rights and conflict-related issues from across the globe. The Initiative was founded in 2014 to supplement existing courses at The Graduate Institute, Geneva; particularly in the context of conflict or post-conflict environments. Our events include panel discussions, film screenings, art exhibitions, and other similar events to facilitate discussions on this topic area. We aim to create educational opportunities and spaces for dialogue, where those who are interested can further their knowledge and understanding.

Our objectives are to: 

  1. Promote debates on human rights in armed conflicts and post-conflict environments
  2. Advance knowledge among students at The Graduate Institute, Geneva on related issues
  3. Create a network that connects students, scholars, practitioners, and organizations interested in human rights and conflict related matters

Activities since May 2014

Date Speaker and Organization Topic/Event
September 27, 2019 HR & C Introductory Meeting
March 20, 2019 HR & C Rethinking Peace through Indigenous Voices
NOVEMBER 25, 2018 Latin American Network Initiative Dinner: Funds for Venezuelans
NOVEMBER 6, 2018 Theatre of Transformation Academy and Trans4m Peace Week Event: ReSTORYing Peace: Arts, Storytelling and Transformation
MAY 13, 2016 HR&C Fundraising Dinner: Help Refugees
APRIL 15, 2016 Dr. Tammam Aloudat

Deputy Medical at MSF

Lecture: Humanitarian Action: An MSF Doctor’s Perspective from the Field
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
MARCH 8, 2016 Dr. Johanna Bernstein

International environment lawyer

Lecture: The Implications of the New Global Climate Regime for Human Rights
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?
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
SEPTEMBER 22, 2015 Guy Goodwin-Gill

Professor, Oxford University

Lecture: Refugees -Challenges for Protection and Assistance in the 21st Century
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.
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.
MARCH 31, 2015 Neil BuhneDirector of the UNDP Geneva Office Lecture: The Role of International Organisations in the Early Recovery and Post-Conflict Scenario
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 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 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.
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.

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
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”.
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.
OCTOBER 13, 2014 Nicole Bürli

Legal Expert,World Organization Against Torture.

Lecture: Guantanamo: Legacy of an Official Policy of Cruelty
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)

MAY 6, 2014 Andrea Bianchi

Head of Law Department, IHEID

Lecture: Human Rights Law in Conflict and Post-Conflict Zone


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