Since 1996, the Network has worked to promote
organisational learning from development and field experience by those mandating, funding or
deploying such missions - whether inter-governmental organisations or states. This is founded on promoting sustainable
partnership with, and accountability to, the host society.
Over the years IHRN has contributed through:
- Facilitating co-operation among inter-governmental bodies such as the UN, OSCE, Council of Europe and EU;
on, designing and delivering IHRN training for inter-governmental organisations such as for the OSCE in Croatia for the EU expanded role in Civilian Crisis Management; for the EUMM Mission in Georgia or for the UK contingent to EULEX Kosova mission ;
- Being commissioned to conduct independent participatory evaluations applying human rights based
criteria of relevance, efficiency, effectiveness, impact and
sustainability. This includes evaluations of major sectoral reform processes, of international field missions in conflict contexts or evaluation of global programmes such as those of the Danish Institute for Human Rights commissioned by the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs;
- Conducting independent research.
The challenge remains to assess whether, and to what
extent, such interventions are achieving their objectives and
contributing to sustainable change. Where such success is identified, the challenge remains to systematically apply the identified
The study, Towards Effective Training For Field Human Rights Work,
is a review of the training provided in major human rights operations
in the 1990s (Haiti, Cambodia, Rwanda, El Salvador, former Yugoslavia,
etc). It makes concrete recommendations regarding who should be trained
- including management and local staff - in what, when, and by whom. It
also highlights the need for distillation of better field practice,
systematically fed into organisational learning and ultimately future
training. Almost ten years on, the findings and recommendations remain
all too relevant today. In particular, the absence of
systematic organisational learning remains a major weakness at the
heart of international human rights fieldwork. This publication was
launched by Mary Robinson, then President of Ireland, in 1996. Towards Effective Training for Human Rights Fieldwork, by Karen Kenny. Available in English full text
In addition, the article What is Effective Training, by Karen Kenny
presents practical checklists and tips for planning and organising a
process of NGO training for human rights work – and identifies the role
which workshops can play. It explains the key principles of effective
adult education (especially the need for training to be
practice-oriented and participatory), and provides guidance for
applying these principles. The aim is to stimulate participants to
actively identify their own training needs and empower them to ensure
their training is designed, delivered and followed-up with their
2. Facilitating co-operation
Since its establishment IHRN has worked to raise awareness of the importance of co-operation and co-ordination among key fielding organisations: UN, OSCE, Council of Europe and EU.
In 1999, as part of this process, IHRN policy
advocacy contributed to key actors coming together to discuss and seek
to address these issues: the European Commission, the Council of
Europe, the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the
Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe. For the first
time, these actors discussed common fieldwork challenges and held a
pilot generic training course together, held in Venice.
3. Evaluating field missions
IHRN was commissioned to advise the European
Commission regarding design of its evaluation of the HRFOR field
mission (1996, team provided).
IHRN was commissioned to independently evaluate the
UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights office in Colombia
at the request of six donor states (2002, team provided). For
background, see Evaluation.
4. Advice on training for IGOs
IHRN has contributed to the design of policy and
delivery of operational training by OHCHR, the OSCE, international
military personnel in Sweden, Switzerland and the UK as well as by
international field missions.
As part of the advocacy of the findings of Towards Effective Training,
IHRN was commissioned to advise the Organisation for Security and
Co-operation in Europe on the training needs of the hundreds
of officials who would join the expanded OSCE mission to Croatia in
1997. The team was led by Karen Kenny and included Paul LaRose Edwards
and Brian McKeown.
- EU in Civilian Crisis Management
The EU's first international human rights operation
was a contribution of personnel to the UN Human Rights Operation in
Rwanda up to 1997. In 2003, the EU Police Mission in Bosnia and
Herzegovina succeeded the International Police Task Force.
Since 2003, in preparation for future EU-fielded
international civilian missions, the EU has funded pre-mission generic
training in thirteen member states and planned rosters of stand-by EU
civilian experts. IHRN has made a number of
recommendations regarding this approach as part of its on-going
advocacy of effective field training - and the related imperative that
such training be based on organisational learning and accountability
The European Commission and member states funded fourteen pilot courses
in a range of related topics (including rule of law, democratisation).
In 2004 IHRN was also commissioned to design, and lead the delivery of,
a pilot pre-mission human rights training course.It focussed on
substantive human rights field skills including participatory
approaches to human rights monitoring, structural diagnosis of root
causes, human rights education and promotion, capacity-building as well
as influencing development policies and programmes for change. The
course was commissioned by Peaceworkers UK on behalf of UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the European Commission.
- Georgia - EU and Council of Europe
In November 2008 IHRN was commissioned by the Council of Europe to provide training support to the EU Monitoring Mission in Georgia (EUMM). An IHRN team provided training on monitoring
methodologies in EUMM Field Offices and developed a handbook for use by
Mission monitors in 2009.