Human rights, conflict, peace and development are closely linked, but the linkages are not always evident in practice. Misconceptions exist; such as that conflict prevention involves making unacceptable compromises or that human rights engagement means delaying lasting peace. Even though they engage with similar national partners and both aim to build just and peaceful societies, conflict prevention practitioners and human rights practitioners do not always work together and at worst the divide can lead to them working against each other. This course offers insight on how conflict transformation and human rights approaches complement one another, and how practitioners can utilize these linkages concretely in their work. Practical examples and case studies are used to demonstrate how to address the issues and challenges to planning and programming and how working across disciplines can enhance development practice.
By the end of the course participants will be able to:
- Explain the concepts, focus areas, and strategies in the fields of conflict transformation and human rights;
- Describe the relevance of linking human rights and conflict transformation and appreciate the UN practice in this area;
- Identifye challenges and dilemmas related to linking human rights and conflict transformation;
- Apply the knowledge to a generic case by incorporating elements from both perspectives in their analysis of conflict-related situations.
The course is built on a range of readings and self-study exercises as well as some interactive spaces with other participants on the course. Key to your learning on this course is your own experience in the field – either as a human rights advocate, or conflict transformation practitioner or as a technical specialist or indeed as a generalist with some interest in one or more of the above fields.
1. “We learn by doing ….”
We believe that our best learning happens when we learn from our experience – or by experiencing. For this reason, your own voluntary involvement through your active participation in the course is essential to allow ownership of your own learning process. Some theoretical frameworks will be introduced through readings and a few presentations; the applied learning will take place in relation to your past experience in the field – or your experience on the course.
2. “We learn best by doing and reflecting.”
We believe that our learning is maximized when we are afforded an opportunity to reflect on what transpired e.g. an exercise, a spontaneous discussion, an input or theory etc. The course is designed to encourage reflection and sense-making of what has transpired. It is from this deeper understanding of the experience that the possibility for personal, group or community change arises; and
3. “Disciplined reflection assists the participants to decide how to create change.” The course is also designed with opportunities for you to define your new learnings and how you would implement what you have learnt.
In the first part of the course we examine the role and orientation of the practitioner and the degree to which our training in a particular discipline shapes our engagement with a situation. Every discipline has some underlying assumptions; in pursuit of a common objective, those underlying predispositions might lead us to make different choices.
The second part of the course will deal with some key challenges of working at the intersection of human rights and conflict: How does one deal with expressions of power (and the relative lack thereof)? What is the importance of Human Dignity for working at the intersection? How can one build networks of resilient relationships? What is the relative importance of notions such as Truth, Justice, Peace and Mercy in the pursuit of durable peace? We also offer you a framework for working in a way that maximises working at the intersection between conflict and human rights without conflating the disciplines.
In the final part of the course we turn to matters more practical. We will look at how an awareness of the value of respective disciplines might enhance both our planning and programming / implementation agendas.
UN staff at the professional level. This course is also open to non-UN staff.