- A part-time programme designed for human rights defenders and related practitioners
- Scholarships available to cover 50% of fees
- Online teaching by tutors and guest lecturers with practical field experience
- Modules in International Human Rights Law and Advocacy, Working Safely: Managing Risk and Strengthening Protection, and Effective Programming: from Funding to Evaluation.
Defending Human Rights is a part-time distance learning programme delivered wholly online in a fully supported environment.
Students can take one, two or three modules as a continuing professional development (CPD) student, without academic credit, or complete all three modules as a postgraduate student, with academic credit.
Postgraduate students who complete all three credit-bearing modules are awarded a Postgraduate Certificate (PGCert) in Defending Human Rights.
This programme is designed specifically for human rights defenders and those who protect and assist them.
Human rights defenders are people who promote and strive for the protection and realisation of human rights and fundamental freedoms.
This programme would be of interest to a broad range of people engaged in human rights work, such staff of national and international NGOs, lawyers, journalists, writers, government officials, activists, community workers, trade union officials, social workers, teachers and scholars.
The three modules in this programme are designed to help human rights defenders build the knowledge and practical skills needed for effective human rights work under challenging circumstances.
This course, Working Safely: Managing Risk and Strengthening Protection, is a very vital course for human rights defenders especially those handling human rights issues for sexual minorities in my country Uganda, and all other human rights defenders in high risk environments. It gives a clear view on what to know about digital security and privacy, which is quite important for any human rights defender because we are moving to a digital world and we need to have improved protection and security. I highly recommend that all human rights defenders find the means to attend this course.
Mr. Samuel Ganafa Kizza, Uganda
This programme comprises three modules, which can be taken individually (as continuous professional development - CPD - modules) or together for a Postgraduate Certificate (PGCert) qualification:
CPD students undertake 60 hours of work over 10 weeks for each module.
Postgraduate students undertake 200 hours of work over 14 weeks for each module, and are required to undertake additional readings, discussions, and assessed assignments.
There are two intakes a year for postgraduate students, in the Autumn and Spring Terms of the University of York.
In the 2013/14 academic year, the term dates are:
Autumn Term: 30 September – 6 December 2013
Spring Term: 6 January – 14 March 2014
Summer Term: 22 April – 27 June 2014
For term dates in future academic years, visit the University of York website.
All students are given access to an induction course on the Virtual Learning Environment (VLE), Yorkshare, three weeks ahead of the start of each module, in order to allow them to familiarise themselves with the VLE.
What is international human rights law and how can human rights defenders conduct advocacy using concepts, principles, and mechanisms based on it? How do international, regional and national protection mechanisms designed for human rights defenders work in practice?
The module begins with an introduction to international human rights law and an analysis of the 1998 Declaration on the Right and Responsibility of Individuals, Groups and Organs of Society to Promote and Protect Universally Recognized Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (the Declaration on Human Rights Defenders), examining its development, function and content. Students examine how the rights articulated in the Declaration have been (and can be) protected through different mechanisms, including charter-based and treaty-based bodies as well as special procedures. Students also examine the development and use of the European Union Guidelines on Human Rights Defenders as well as review the impact of the work of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights for human rights defenders. Students study the efforts by some states to protect human rights defenders through domestic laws, institutions, and policies.
In this module, emphasis is placed on developing practical skills in international legal advocacy. Students learn how to design and select context-appropriate legal advocacy strategies.
This module features a guest appearance by Enrique Eguren, President of the Board of Protection International and Director of its Policy, Research and Training Unit.
As the Coordinator of the Tanzania Human Rights Defenders Coalition, I encourage other human rights defenders to join this online course. It is very useful for our own security and survival as human rights defenders.
Mr. Onesmo Olengurumwa, Tanzania
How can human rights defenders manage the risks involved in human rights work? What can be done to protect and assist human rights defenders at risk?
This module examines the risks faced by human rights defenders around the world and how individuals and organisations respond to protect themselves and others. Beginning with an overview of global trends in human rights advocacy, students examine the social, political and technological forces that shape the work of human rights defenders. Students examine techniques of repression as well as strategies for mitigating risks and working safely.
Students learn about the different steps involved in security management, including how to conduct risk assessment (which involves analysing the operational context, potential threats, vulnerabilities, and capacities) and how to develop operational security strategies. Students learn how to develop and implement security plans and how to monitor security conditions. Students also examine the social, economic and political challenges in implementing security management.
In this module, emphasis is placed on developing practical skills in risk analysis, producing and using security plans, and maintaining digital security.
This module features guest appearances by Mary Lawlor, the Director of Front Line Defenders, and Hassan Shire Sheikh, Coordinator of the East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defender Project (EHAHRDP).
How can human rights defenders manage human rights programmes effectively? What are the pros and cons of current approaches to programme development, management and evaluation?
This module introduces all stages of programme development and management: from fundraising and planning through to monitoring and evaluation. Students are exposed to a broad range of tools and techniques, building the knowledge and skills required to deliver successful programmes in the human rights, development or humanitarian sector. At the same time, they explore the strengths and weaknesses of common approaches such as the logical framework, and ask questions such as: what might rights-based programming look like? How can we better build accountability to the communities we work with, while securing lasting impact?
Students approach familiar programming questions from this perspective, learning how to turn ideas into persuasive applications for funders and other stakeholders; to describe short term and long term objectives, indicators and outcomes with confidence; to understand the programme cycle and how to ensure the successful completion of each phase; to manage issues associated with politics and power as well as risk and uncertainty; and to recognize how different forms of monitoring and evaluation can support programme development and delivery.
In this module, emphasis is placed on developing practical skills in writing funding proposals and with tools that support all aspects of managing programmes.
This course is delivered wholly online through Yorkshare, the Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) used by the University of York.
Yorkshare is a system of managed web pages that provides students with access to learning resources and the means to communicate and collaborate with other students and staff over the Internet.
All students are issued a username and password that gives them access to Yorkshare and the University’s digital library resources.
All students are set number of activities to complete each week. All of these activities can be completed at a time convenient to them; there are no activities that require students to be online at specific times.
In a typical week, students are asked to listen to pre-recorded lectures; watch/listen to video/audio recordings; read articles; complete quizzes and online tasks; as well as participate in online discussions. Students are placed in virtual tutorial groups in which they analyse Case Studies together.
All students are required to complete a Practical Assignment (1,500 words, due on Week 8).
In addition, postgraduate students are required to discuss additional readings online and submit an Essay Outline (500 words, due Week 4) as well as an Essay (3,000 words, due Week 14).
All students are given access to an online induction course three weeks in advance of the start of each module. The induction course includes:
Students need to have access to a personal computer with Internet connection. A minimum of a 56k modem dialup is required – although for reasonable user experience, broadband connection of at least 1MB is preferred.
Students who anticipate having poor Internet connection are advised to let us know in advance so that we can explore ways of strengthening their participation in each module.
In order to be admitted to each module, students must have:
In order to be admitted into the programme, students must have:
In addition, all students must have:
To participate in the modules as a CPD student, complete the appropriate Module Application Form (click on either: International Law, Working Safely, or Effective Programming).
Email you completed form to Dr. Jonathan Ensor (email@example.com) with the subject title "CPD Student: Application for Acceptance into [Module Name]", by the following deadlines:
International Human Rights Law and Advocacy (MS Word , 82kb), Autumn 2013: 30 August 2013
Working Safely: Managing Risk and Strengthening Protection (MS Word , 82kb), Spring 2014: 6 November 2013
Effective Programming: From Funding to Evaluation (MS Word , 83kb), Summer 2014: 22 March 2014
To enrol in the programme as a postgraduate student, go to the Postgraduate how to apply website (see courses listed under Politics).
For more information about studies at the University of York, open days, funding and scholarships, please visit the Postgraduate study website.
Those interested in applying or already admitted are welcome to visit us here in York or alternatively arrange for discussions by phone – please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange.
The University of York reviews the annual tuition fees each year.
CPD Students can enrol for each module one at a time. For the academic year 2013/14, tuition fees for each module are £420.
Postgraduate Students must enrol for the whole programme (i.e. all three modules).
For the academic year 2013/14, tuition fees for the programme are £3,343.
Only arrange for payment of fees after CAHR offers you a place on the module / programme.
CAHR offers a limited number of partial scholarships (50 percent of fees) for both types of students in non-OECD countries who are:
To apply for these scholarships, please submit the following documents at the same time in one email:
Scholarship applications are not complete until all these four documents are submitted.
For scholarships for the 2013/14 academic year, email the full application to Dr. Jonathan Ensor (email@example.com) with the subject title "CPD Student: Application for Scholarship for Distance Learning", by the following deadlines:
International Human Rights Law and Advocacy, Autumn 2013: 31 July 2013
Working Safely: Managing Risk and Strengthening Protection, Spring 2014: 31 October 2013
Programme Development, Summer 2014: 28 February 2014
To apply for these scholarships, please submit the following documents:
Scholarship applications are not complete until all these three documents are submitted AND you have been accepted for a place on this programme.
For scholarships for the 2013/14 academic year, email the full application to Dr. Jonathan Ensor (firstname.lastname@example.org) with the subject title "Postgraduate Student: Application for Scholarship for Distance Learning", by the following deadlines:
Start date in Autumn 2013: 31 May 2013
Start date in Spring 2014: 31 August 2013
Organisations interested in sponsoring students are encouraged to contact CAHR.
I highly recommend "Working Safely: Managing Risk & Strengthening Protection" to any human rights defender because you would never take your safety and security for granted anymore. Even better, you would gain practical skills on security management for yourself and your organisation.
Ms. Osai Ojigho, Nigeria