Who We Are
The Geneva Institute for Human Rights (GIHR) is a non-governmental, non-profit organisation based in Geneva. As an academic study and research institution, it is independent from all governments, political parties, organisations and philosophical or religious groups. Its key objective is to raise awareness and understanding about the importance of human rights. GIHR works for some of the most disadvantaged and vulnerable communities, seeking to ensure that the principles of equality, dignity and respect are incorporated into all levels of public service.
GIHR’s intention is to contribute to the prevention of human rights violations and to the protection of human rights in close cooperation with international and national partners. Among others, GIHR is collaborating with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. The Institute takes a multi-disciplinary approach to human rights, working in varied fields such as research, situational analysis, information-management, education and agenda. For example, issues of particular concern include the promotion of human rights treaties, issues in the framework of security policy, peace policy or human rights, and strategic issues connected to human rights policies.
Ever since its foundation in 2004, the Institute has offered seminars, lectures and national as well as international programs with the intention to contribute to the protection of human rights and to a spread of knowledge regarding human rights. The founders’ initial aim of promoting the principles of international human rights has lead to numerous projects being devised and carried out (see Activities). Initially, GIHR has geographically concentrated its activities to countries that belong to one of the most disadvantaged region – namely the Arab region. Due to the fact that these countries have been previously closed to international organisations working in the field, the protection of human rights and prevention of violations has been overshadowed by major difficulties. However, since many GIHR staff members originate from these countries, the Institute has been able to increasingly gain access to some of these most closed countries ever since and furthermore, it has succeeded in establishing close relations and permanent contacts that enable the Institute to not only access these countries, but also to develop long lasting partnerships and to lead projects with an enduring impact.
Presently, the Institute aspires to not only continue its successful work in countries of the Arab region, but also to broaden its geographical focus and to expand its work and activities to other countries.
What We Do
Promote a thriving culture of human rights in the MENA+ region.
Sustainably anchor human rights in the MENA+ region.
GIHR envisages a MENA+ region where States ensure the respect, protection, promotion and fulfilment of all the rights and freedoms enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international human rights instruments, and develop national human rights protection mechanisms that meet the highest international standards.
GIHR works towards a thriving culture of human rights in the MENA+ region through 3 interlinked levels of work.
National Awareness and capacity in human rights has been sustainably developed, contributing towards ‘change from within’.
Human rights have been anchored sustainably in national/regional institutions, process and protection mechanisms.
MENA+ region is robustly and effectively engaged with Geneva-based human rights bodies and mechanisms
Our Core Values
Dignity and Respect: Every human being is entitled to have their dignity and human rights respected equally whatever their gender, age, religion or disability.
Knowledge: Knowledge is an asset, through promotion of human rights principals’ effective social change can occur.
Integrity: Transparency, democracy and integrity are crucial to enable empowerment of the community.
Promotion and dissemination of international human rights principles as they are expressed in the international Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 10 December 1948, and as in other covenants related to human rights. Acquainting any concerned civil societies and governmental institutions with these principles.
Contribution to the review process of legislations and laws by presenting practical proposals to keep them in conformity with the International Bill of Human Rights and related international declarations or conventions.
Creation of a statistical and informational database on international and regional declarations, conventions and covenants related to human rights.
Service as a democratic forum for dialogue, orchestration and integration of efforts exerted by human rights related NGOs and governmental organisations, in order to establish the rule of law and institutions as well as a democratic human society.
Provision of assistance for NGOs and governmental organisations, in order to practically monitor and document the status of human rights. Promotion of these rights on all legislative and practical levels.
Provision of advisory services to governmental and non-governmental bodies related to human rights, as well as to any instance that might require such services.
Specific attention to women, children, and variable groups, in order to enable them to actively contribute to a professional life and to decision-making processes.
At the individual level, some of the former participants trained by GIHR have:
Become trainers in the field of human rights
Been promoted in their various countries to positions related to human rights
Participated actively in the UN human rights council and meetings
At the institutional and national levels GIHR has enabled and supported:
A specialised Masters of Science Degree in Human Rights has been developed in Morocco
Civil society organizations trained by GIHR have submitted reports to the UPR for their respective countries. Libya and Lebanon and have cited GIHR for their support
Morocco has ratified the Optional Protocol of the Convention on Torture
Submission of reporting to UN systems within the timeframe provided, for example in Lebanon, Libya and Kuwait.
At the regional level, GIHR has facilitated:
Dialogue between UN Special Rapporteurs and MENA+ region stakeholders on issues such as violence against Women
Consultations with UN representatives and MENA+ representatives
A seminar in Bern in cooperation with the Institute of Law on women’s rights in Islam, bringing renowned experts from Sudan, Egypt and Jordan