Human Rights

Content

This module covers Section 1 of the toolkit. Section 1 deals with historical and theoretical aspects of human rights; generations of rights; states' obligations; the main treaties and specific human rights affecting journalists which are the focus of this course - women's rights; human rights in times of war and conflict; and freedom of expression.

Part 1: What are human rights?

Part 2: Human rights on paper

Part 3: The main human rights treaties

Part 4: Getting to know the United Nations

Part 5: A bill of rights for women

Part 6: International justice and the rights of the "super court"

Part 7: Human rights in times of war and conflict

Part 8: Article 19 rights and sunshine laws

Training outcomes

By the end of Module 1, trainees will:

  • Know about the origins of human rights, international human rights standards, and the UN System
  • Have a good grounding in international, regional and national human rights monitoring, complaints and justice systems.
  • Understand the interaction between international, regional and national human rights standards and processes.
  • Know more about:
    • Gender and human rights
    • International justice
    • The Geneva Conventions
    • Freedom of expression
  • Be able to analyze human rights in their national context
  • Recognize human rights issues in the media and critically analyze stories.
  • Be familiar with the toolkit and recognize its value and use for future reference.

Process guidelines

Background information about human rights dominates Module 1. Trainers will have to be creative to prevent trainees from becoming tired and/or bored. A variety of activities are suggested to actively engage trainees. Trainers will be responsible for contextualizing the information, sourcing interesting local experts to provide additional voices, and finding local examples to illustrate content.

Time

Set aside at least three days to cover this module.

The proposed times for sessions and activities are a guide, and trainers will arrange time according to their needs and depending on the length of the course.

There are six sessions in this module, each lasting approximately three hours (excluding breaks).

The aim is to complete two sessions a day over the course of three days. If each day is more or less eight hours, this leaves two hours for lunch and break time.

Sessions

Session 1

Introductory Session (2h 45 min - 3h)

This is the first session, which

  • Sets the tone for the training program.
  • Helps start the process of building individuals into a group.

Broad aims

  • To allow trainees to get to know each other.
  • To preview the agenda; collect and process expectations of trainees.
  • To develop norms and guidelines for group behavior for the week.
  • To introduce Reporting on Human Rights Issues: A Toolkit for Journalists and emphasize the link between the training and the toolkit.

Key trainer

Lead trainer

Key materials

Folders, Reporting on Human Rights Issues: A Toolkit for Journalists; registration form; pre-course general knowledge test.

Summary Duration Activity

Activity - Introductions

45 min

There are many options for introductions and experienced trainers will have ideas to draw on. Here are two simple options. Draft a list of basic questions and (Option 1) ask trainees to briefly introduce themselves by answering the questions; or (Option 2) trainees can interview each other and each interviewer can report back to the group about the interviewee. Questions should cover:

  • Name
  • Current position and work
  • Media experience (years, media, any other)
  • Experience of human rights reporting
  • And something personal (keep it light) e.g. a hobby/favorite music/food

Overview of training course and questions from trainees

30 min

Trainer gives trainees a brief overview of the entire course (all modules) and the objectives of the course. Also any information about accommodation, meal times, breaks, materials, equipment, etc. Ask trainees to fill in registration forms and collect them. A suggested registration form is attached to the trainer's guide as Appendix A.

Activity - Expectations

45 min

Question: "By the time you leave this course, what do you want to know or be able to do?" Each trainee should give their three top learning expectations and say what they intend to do with what they have learned. Make a list of expectations on newsprint as trainees talk and keep them up throughout the course. You can refer to them when you introduce and conclude sessions.

Ground rules

15 min

Ask each trainee to suggest one rule s/he would like others to abide by during the course. Write these up on newsprint. Discuss if there are objections / confusion about any of these. (The main points should be punctuality at the start of the day and after breaks; politeness; good listening; constructive criticism and MOBILE PHONES OFF!)

Activity - Pre-test

15 min

Ask trainees to answer the pre-course general knowledge test as quickly as possible. Stress that it is not an exam. Collect the sheets once they have completed the pre-test. A suggested pre-course general knowledge test is attached to the trainers' guide as Appendix B.

Introduce Reporting on Human Rights Issues: A Toolkit for Journalists

15 min

Walk through the toolkit with the trainees, showing the main sections and features. Key points:

It is a learning text; a reference book; an exercise book; a place to make notes. It is for use both in the course and afterwards, in the newsroom. Stress that trainees should refer to the guide before conducting interviews; if a source wants to remain anonymous, check the toolkit to help you make a decision, etc.

Session 2

Introducing human rights (3 hours)

Broad aims

  • Focus on human rights in the local context.
  • Sharing knowledge and experience of human rights coverage.
  • Intensive grounding teaching on international human rights standards.

Key trainer

Human rights trainer; lead trainer.

Key materials

PowerPoint presentation (a basic template is attached to this guide as Appendix C); Reporting on Human Rights Issues: A Toolkit for Journalists

Summary Duration Activity

Activity - Identifying local issues

45 min

Ask trainees to work in small groups and list the three main human rights issues they would like to see addressed in their country. Ask them to list these on newsprint, put these up. Note: These will be used in future sessions.

Session - What are human rights?

90 min

 

Human rights expert presents on:

  • Origins of human rights
  • The different kinds of rights
  • The main treaties
  • How they work in relation to the (local) national system

Followed by questions and discussion.

About 45 min input; 45 min questions and discussion. See PowerPoint presentation (Appendix C), to be used as a guide to instruction.

Activity - Refer to Reporting on Human Rights Issues: A Toolkit for Journalists

30 min

 

Toolkit, Section 1 Part 1 - What are human rights?

In plenary, quick Q&A, with the trainer asking the questions -- answer the questions on the worksheet for Section 1 Part 1 (Check your understanding!).

Closing

15 min

Sum up key learning; note anything that stands out/where expectations have been met.

Session 3

International and local human rights systems (3 hours)

Broad aims

  • Media analysis
  • Focus on human rights in the local context.

  • Drawing connections international-regional-local.

Key trainer

Human rights trainer; lead trainer.

Key materials

Newspapers/other media clips; PowerPoint presentation; Reporting on Human Rights Issues: A Toolkit for Journalists

Summary Duration Activity

Activity - Human rights in the news

40 min

Divide trainees into groups. Distribute newspapers, and/or play short recent radio news bulletin/TV news (of the night before would be best). Ask each group to flip through the newspapers/listen to radio/watch TV and find (1) stories with a human rights angle, and (2) stories where a human rights angle was missed.

Analyze findings - key questions:

  • What have you found?

Select one or two stories which do address human rights:

  • What's the story about?
  • What human right/s does the story address?
  • Is the human rights angle recognized/drawn out in the story?
  • What more could the journalist do to elaborate the rights aspects.

Report back and discuss.

Interaction between international, regional and local human rights treaties, bodies and laws

1 hour

About 40 minutes presentation, 20 minutes discussion.

Human rights trainer talks about the relationship between international, regional and national human rights standards. Important issue - hierarchy within the international system; states' obligations; which courts take precedence; what recourse citizens have to national, regional and international justice.

Activity - Refer to the toolkit

40 min

Toolkit, Section 1 Part 3 - The Main UN human rights treaties

In small groups, research using the manual and online sources to answer the questions on the worksheet Section 1 Part 3 (Use this space!). Depending on time, trainers may want to allocate different questions to different groups, or to allow all groups to answer all questions and compare and discuss answers.

Important local human rights issues

30 min

Human rights trainer selects two or three of the main human rights issues identified by trainees during Module 1: Session 2 (first activity) as being problematic in the local context, and gives relevant input, including links to international context.

Closing

10 min

Sum up session; point to key learning/where expectations have been met.

Session 4

Getting to know the United Nations & CEDAW (3 hours)

Broad aims

  • Focus on the UN and the UN System in relation to human rights

Key trainer

Human rights trainer; lead trainer.

Key materials

Reporting on Human Rights Issues: A Toolkit for Journalists; Internet-enabled computer and projector; newspaper/TV and radio clips

Summary Duration Activity

Input - The United Nations and the United Nations system

1 hour

Human rights trainer gives input on UN, UN System, how the UN generates, monitors, and checks compliance of human rights systems. UN treaty bodies. It is useful during this session to use the UN website to locate the OHCHR, the various treaty bodies, the UPR process, etc. About 45 minutes presentation; 15 minutes questions.

Activity -Refer to the toolkit

1 hour

Toolkit, Section 1 Part 4 - Getting to know the UN

In small groups, research using the manual online sources to answer the questions on the worksheet for Section 1 Part 4 (Use this space!). Depending on time, trainers may want to allocate different questions to different groups, or to allow all groups to answer all questions and compare and discuss answers. Share answers and discuss.

Activity - The UN in the news

40 min

Divide trainees into groups. Distribute newspapers, and/or play short recent radio news bulletin/TV news (of the night before would be best). Ask each group to flip through the newspapers/listen to radio/watch TV and find (1) stories that mention / refer to the UN.

Analyze findings - key questions:

  • What have you found?
  • What's the story about?
  • What - if any - human right/s does the story address?
  • Is the human rights angle recognized/drawn out in the story?
  • What more could the journalist do to elaborate the rights aspects / contextualize the UN and its role.

Report back and discuss

Closing

20 min

Sum up session; point to key learning/where expectations have been met.

Session 5

CEDAW (3 hours)

Broad aims

  • Introduce gender and human rights
  • Work through CEDAW
  • Gender and human rights in the local context

Key trainer

Human rights trainer; lead trainer. Option - Invite local women's human rights leader to lead session on CEDAW.

Key materials

Reporting on Human Rights Issues: A Toolkit for Journalists; Internet-enabled computer and PPP projector; newspapers and TV/audio clips.

Summary Duration Activity

Activity - Gender inequality in the local context

30 min

Lead trainer and human rights trainer lead session on gender discrimination in the local context. Trainees can work together in groups. Make lists of areas where there is inequality - use economic, political, social/cultural as possible categories.

Gender and human rights

1 hour

Human rights trainer/invited local activist gives input into

  • What is gender?

Why women's rights are so important.

  • CEDAW - and what's different about CEDAW.
  • Gender and human rights in the local context.

About 45 minutes presentation; 15 minutes questions.

Activity - Refer to the toolkit

30 min

Toolkit Section 1 Part 5 - A Bill of Rights for Women

In small groups, research using the manual and online sources to answer the questions on the worksheet for Section 1 Part 5 (Use this space!). Share answers and discuss.

Gender in the media

45 min

Either human rights trainer/or invited local activists gives input into gender and human rights and media - what media do right and wrong; how journalists reinforce inequality; what can be done about this. This session can be made more interesting through use of video clips, illustrations from the media. About 30 minutes presentation, 15 minutes discussion.

Closing

15 min

Sum up key learning; note anything that stands out/where expectations have been met.

Session 6

International justice and human rights in war and conflict; freedom of expression (3 hours)

Broad aims

  • Introduce the international justice system
  • Human rights in war and conflict
  • In-depth work on freedom of expression, information and opinion. This section also acts as a bridge to Module 2 / Reporting on Human Rights Issues: A Toolkit for Journalists Section 2: Human rights in the newsroom

Key trainer

Human rights trainer; lead trainer. Option - Invite local legal expert and / or freedom of expression activist (from local NGO/chapter of international NGO like FXI, Article 19

Key materials

Reporting on Human Rights Issues: A Toolkit for Journalists; Internet-enabled computer and PPP projector; newspapers and TV/audio clips.

Summary Duration Activity

International justice

40 min

 

Human rights trainer or invited expert lead session on international justice, drawing on past and current examples of crimes against humanity where international courts have been involved (e.g. Rwanda, former Yugoslavia, Cambodia, Kenya). This session is particularly interesting if the training is taking place in a country where the international justice system has recently or is currently involved in investigating/trying cases. About 30 minutes presentation, 10 minutes discussion.

Human rights in war and conflict

30 min

Human rights trainer presents and leads discussion.

About 20 minutes presentation; 10 minutes questions.

Freedom of expression

45 min

Human rights trainer / local expert talks about freedom of expression and information in the international and local contexts. About 30 minutes presentation, 15 minutes discussion.

Activity - Refer to toolkit

20 min

Toolkit, Section 1 Part 8 - Article 19 rights and sunshine laws

In small groups, research using the manual and online sources to answer the questions on the worksheet for Section 1 Part 8 (Use this space!). Share answers and discuss.

Activity - Human rights are controversial

25 min

This session, and how the trainer(s) manage(s) it, will depend on the nature of the group and the local cultural context. The most important issue is to avoid conflict and offense, as these are heated topics.

Identify key areas where international human rights standards contradict local laws, customs, traditions and practices, e.g.:

  • Outlawing homosexuality
  • Rights of women/sanctioned violence against women
  • Capital punishment
  • Inequality

The trainer may want to refer to Toolkit, Section 2 Part 4 -- Human Rights Controversies for ideas.

Closing

20 min

This is the end of Module 1. Ask trainees to quickly answer the questions in Appendix D, Know your toolkit. Share answers and score. Sum up key learning so far; note anything that stands out/where expectations have been met.