The Human Rights Institute is an initiative of a group of human rights organisations and defenders, anchored by the Human Rights Research and Advocacy Foundation to create a high quality knowledge institution on human rights theory, practice and governance. It is to bridge the distance between the human rights defenders (practice), academe (theory), administrators (duty bearers), and citizens (rights holders).
It addresses the need for systematic transformation of experience and expertise, especially those derived from practitioner (field) experience into transferable knowledge with academic rigour. Use of data and latest management advances will be integral to the offerings since there is a high standard of data, evidence and skills required for advocacy and social justice.
The human rights institute is to create a body of empowered active citizens and embed a culture of human rights in society.
(a) Collect, organise and develop a theory and pedagogy to communicate human rights practitioner experience and knowledge systematically.
(b) Develop tools for monitoring, communication and knowledge transfer.
(c) Identify lacunae and best practice in implementation of existing law and functioning of state mechanisms.
(d) Identify gaps in policy and law and advocate for rectification (including amendments to existing law) through innovative policy advocacy.
(e) Create a body of literature and knowledge base on the practice of human rights, monitoring and accountability.
(f) Train individuals, organisations and communities so that they understand human rights and the human rights approach to development, and have the tools and expertise in science, technology and management for practical, effective and efficient implementation.
THRI is a polycentric ‘open school’ in its essence. Each module offered will be in partnership with practitioners (human rights defenders and organisations) and academia. These partnerships will be with local human rights organisations/defenders who have demonstrated niche expertise and reputed local academic institutions. Globally renowned defenders will design the courses and take master classes. Certificates will be awarded on successful completion by the collaborating academic institution.
The institute will run on a no-profit, no-loss basis. The fees will be affordable, but not free. Scholarships and fee waivers will depend on the sponsorships. Funds will be raised for initial investments such as curriculum development etc.
There will be three streams of focus groups:
(a) Activists and community leaders
(b) Academia: scholars, researchers (graduate and above)
(c) Administrators and implementers
The training will be for those who are tasked with administering or implementing programmes, whether in the government, private, academic, media or voluntary sector. They could be freshers, middle or senior management from any discipline. To start with focus would be on entry level staff of the voluntary sector (local, national or international), iNGOs, government staff at the graduate level of comprehension.