From July 4 to July 8, the IV Summer school on human rights of Consortium of Russian Universities (RUDN University, MGIMO University, Russian State University for the Humanities, Kazan Federal University, Perm State University, Ural State Law University, Ural Federal University, Voronezh State University and The Liberal Arts University) with the support of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)took place in Voronezh State University.
Each year, the Summer school of Consortium addresses the most pressing issues in the field of human rights protection. The IV Summer school was devoted to two international covenants: the Covenant on civil and political rights and the Covenant on economic, social and cultural rights. This year, OHCHR celebrates the 50th anniversary of their adoption under the slogan «Our Rights. Our liberties. Always». As cooperation between state and non-state actors became important for the realization of these fundamental rights, the main theme of the School was the interaction of the state and civil society in the implementation of these two important Covenants. At the commemorative opening ofthe Summer school, the director of the UN OHCHR Department for human rights council and human rights treaties, Adam Abdelmula, said: «We must continue to declare the importance of these documents. And all of us - whether the UN or yourself as students and future leaders of your society - play an important role in taking measures to ensure that the Covenants are used to create peaceful and free societies». The programme of the IV Summer School provided lectures and practical lessons on the UN Charter and Treaty mechanisms on the implementation of the two International Covenants.
Special attention was also paid to the regional mechanisms of the Council of Europe for the protection of civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights. Among the invited lecturers were professors of Consortium of Russian Universities and the European Inter-university Center for Human Rights, representatives of government authorities, human rights commissioners, UN experts, prominent Russian human rights activists and representatives of non-governmental organizations. According to Adam Abdelmula, in the implementation of international covenants, the main role should be played by the states, and at the national level, ideally all major state bodies, human rights institutions, and civil society organizations should be involved in this process. Given the importance of uniting the efforts of all stakeholders in promoting the international covenants, the Summer school for human rights has become a clear example of such inter-institutional interaction.
The School received active support from the regional authorities of the Voronezh region. Representatives of various state structures took an active part in the work of the Summer school and, in particular, raised topical issues on the improvement of the national system for the protection of human rights. The plenipotentiary session on the role of national human rights institutions in promoting civil, political, social, economic and cultural rights was addressed by the human rights commissioners in Voronezh, Astrakhan, Ryazan, Yaroslavl regions and the Republic of Ingushetia. They talked about their practical work in the regions and answered questions from listeners. As Tatyana Zrazhevskaya (human rights commissioner in Voronezh region), noted, «it is a lively discussion that allows us to better understand the system of human rights protection and thereby contributes to the educational process».Aslan Abashidze(vice-chairman of the UN Committee on economic, social and cultural rights, professor, head of the department of international lawof RUDN University) spoke about the role of citizens in realizing their rights, stressing that «individuals have the right to exhaust their national remedies and apply their complaints to international instances, including UN committees». Human rights organizations are called upon to help citizens, who were also widely represented at the School.
In front of an audience of the Summer school addressedthe members of the Presidential Council for the development of civil society and human rights Andrei Yurovand Anita Soboleva; Valentin Gefter (director general of the Human Rights Institute; head of the department of social programs and projects of the department of social policy and rehabilitation of the «All-Russian Society of the Deaf» Maxim Larionov; head of the Regional Representation of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies in Russia DavronMukhamadiev. Student of Ural State Law University Irina Ledentsovanoted that «Summer School allowed to combine theory with practice and provided an opportunity to ask questions that are not answered in textbooks». The programme of the Summer school was designed in such a way that the lectures were supplemented with practical classes and master classes. After a lecture by the head of the Council of Europe's Program Office in the Russian Federation Peter Zich on the topic «Institutes and mechanisms of the Council of Europe in the field of human rights protection»Anton Burkov (head of the department of European law and comparative law of the Liberal Arts University,Yekaterinburg) conducted a practical lesson, of real cases demonstrated how to «bring» human rights from the European Court of Human Rights to the district court of your city and how to help a specific person, while simultaneously deciding on the structural the problem of law or practice. «Similar events like the Summer school on human rights are extremely interesting, useful and relevant. Lawyers need to be taught to uphold the rights of citizens.After all, graduates of law faculties can make a significant contribution to the improvement of civil society and protect the specific rights of a particular person», said Tatyana Golovacheva (chairman of the Voronezh Regional Duma Committee for housing, utilities, energy and tariffs). The programme of the School was aimed at obtaining and expanding knowledge about universal and regional mechanisms for the protection of human rights, the activities of the human rights treaty bodies of the UN system, the European human rights system and ensuring human rights in accordance with international standards. According to Peter Zich, «it is very important that such an event is organized in partnership with the UN, the institution of the Commissioner and the Council of Europe. In my opinion, this is the best way to show students that the standards of the UN, the Council of Europe and the Russian Federation complement and reinforce each other in achieving the common goal of improving the lives of citizens». Within the framework of the Summer school, a contest «Model of the European Court of Human Rights»was held for the third time on the site of the Voronezh Regional Court, in which six teams from the Universities of Consortium took part. The competition was held in English and was based on a fictional case developed by the experts of the Association for the protection of human rights (Strasbourg) in cooperation with the European Inter-university Center for Human Rights and Democratisation (Venice). As the captain of the winning team Cyril Zharinov (team RUDN University, MGIMO University, Russian State University for the Humanities), «Model of the European Court of Human Rights was the most unforgettable event. All the teams were well prepared for the finale, which was very much like a real hearing in the Grand Chamber. To take part in such an amazing competition is a great honor for our team».
During the Summer school a round table was organized on the interaction of the state and civil society and their role in the implementation of the international covenants. In addition to the professors and lecturers of the School, representatives of local authorities, regional human rights commissioners, and representatives of public and human rights organizations took part in it. Practically all participants noted the importance of involving youth in human rights activities and consolidating the efforts of all sectors of society in the protection and education of human rights. The participants proposed the establishment of a national coordination mechanism for monitoring the implementation of the recommendations of the international treaty bodies. Students of the Summer school have a unique opportunity to watch and discuss documentary films-prize-winners of the International film festival on human rights «Stalker», which represent standards and norms for the protection of human rights, enshrined in Russian laws and international treaties. The films were presented by Igor Stepanov (director general of the Guild of film directors of Russia). The teachers of the Summer school appreciated the work of students. As Lail Sanga (a visiting professor of the Raoul Wallenberg Institute for human rights and humanitarian law (Sweden), said, «the students showed great interest in lectures and practical classes. They asked relevant questions and continued discussions during breaks».
Professor of the University of Ljubljana YerneiPicalostressed that«it was hard work for students, the programme was very rich, but the students successfully handled». Over 100 students attended the Summer school, representing 25 universities from 12 regions of Russia, and invited lecturers from 10 countries. The event allowed to exchange unique experience in the field of human rights and expand regional cooperation. In the message to the participants of the Summer school, the Human Rights Ombudsman in the Russian Federation, Tatyana Moskalkova, expressed her confidence that «the Summer school will contribute to the strengthening of domestic and international scientific and public relations, and the improvement of the quality of interaction in the implementation of international and national laws on human rights and freedoms». The summer school is an obligatory component of the Master's programme of the University Consortium, which, according to the official of the international department of the Ministry of Education and Science of Russia Shivleta Tagirova, «makes a significant contribution to raising the level of knowledge, understanding and adoption of universal human rights norms and principles and is an important tool for providing quality education in the field of human rights in the territory of the Russian Federation». Adam Abdelmula expressed hope that «the programme will expand both in Russia and abroad. We all need to know about human rights and opportunities to promote these rights».
To see the photos from the IV Summer School, click on the linkhttp://humanrights.ru/photogallery/14-fotogalereya.html
Source: OHCHR / www.ohchr.org