The African Centre for Democracy and Human Rights Studies and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) have worked closely together over the years in the building of capacities of NGOs in the form of supporting participation in the NGOs Forums preceding the Ordinary Sessions of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR).

As the building of capacity and sharing of knowledge and skills is a crucial component of both organisation’s work, the African Centre in collaboration with the OHCHR will organise training programme on international and regional human rights mechanism.


The main objective of the training programme is to build the capacity of representatives of African human rights NGOs with knowledge and skills to effectively use the African human rights and international system in their work towards human rights promotion and protection on the continent.

At the end of the training course, participants would also participate in the NGOs Forum (Forum on the Participation of NGOs in the Ordinary Session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights) as well as the public sessions of the African Commission. This is to enable participants gain first hand knowledge in the practical and theoretical application of the one of the most important regional human rights mechanism, i.e. the African Commission and at the same time provide the platform to practice their newly gained skills. In addition, the training programme is designed to enable participants to acquire in-depth understanding of the interaction and complementarities of the regional and international human rights systems.

Expected Outcomes

At the end of the course, participants will be:

  • Equipped to engage the African Commission, the African Court (apply for observer status, file complaints/cases, make statements at Commission’s sessions etc) and the UN
  • Meet in person and forge relationship with the Commissioners and Special Rapporteurs of the Commission
  • Opportuned to network with a wide range of civil society organisations on issues of common interest
  • Equipped with increased knowledge in advocacy and lobbying strategies

Course Content and Methodology

The training programme will be conducted in both English and French with simultaneous interpretation provided. The programme will be interactive and would comprise presentations by experts, plenary discussion, debates, case studies, and other similar methodologies that promote effective participation and sharing of experience, skill and knowledge on the following broad themes:

  • Status of Human Rights and Democracy in Africa
  • The African Human Rights System (African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights etc)
  • Special mechanisms within the African Human rights system
  • The United Nations Human Rights System
  • International Human Rights Law
  • The Role of NGOs in the African Human Rights System
  • The Role of NHRI in the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights
  • Civil Society engagement with UN mechanism (Universal Periodic Review, Special Procedures)
  • Human Rights of Minorities and Indigenous communities
  • Networking, Advocacy and Lobbying Strategies


The training programme, which is scheduled to precede the NGOs Forum, would last for five days. It will be followed by the NGOs Forum (duration of 3 days),which usually precedes the Ordinary Session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights. The tentative dates are 17th-21st October 2011, which shall be confirmed in due course of time.


Participants numbering about 15 to 20 would be drawn from mainly African countries.

Resource Persons

Resource Persons will be drawn from the organisers’ wide pool of eminent defenders and activists who are experts in the field of democracy, rule of law and human rights on the continent.


Interested applicants should send a letter of application to the African Centre, taking into consideration the following selection requirements:

  • Aged between 25 and 40 years
  • Must submit abridged curriculum vitae (maximum one page)
  • Must be fluent in either English and or French
  • Must occupy position relevant to training as well as demonstrate ability to related training benefits to work
  • Must have been actively involved in the last three years in human rights work in the continent either in as part of a movement, Non Governmental sector or in a national human rights institution
  • Must prepare and submit prior to arrival for the course a report on the human rights situation in their respective countries (maximum 5 pages)
  • Letter of support signed by Head of organisation/institution or designated representative expressing commitment to the implementation of a work plan
  • Written commitment to participate in the NGOs Forum as well as public sessions of the African Commission confirmed by the responsible official authorizing such delegation
  • Participant would be required to identify an area of work that puts into practice knowledge/skill gained during the training programme and MUST develop and submit a written project proposal not more than five pages long
  • Qualified women are highly encouraged to apply.

Selection Procedure

A selection Panel composed of both the ACDHRS and the OHCHR will select participants of the training programme in accordance with above-mentioned selection criteria (on a first-come first-served basis considering the high number of applications to be received).
Applications MUST reach the ACDHRS before 15th August 2011 in order to be considered. The Selection Panel shall notify the final result of the selection process on or before 30th August, 2011. Only selected applicants will be contacted.


Both the ACDHRS and OHCHR would raise funds for the organisation of the event and would therefore be able to offer partial scholarship to qualified applicants. However, due to the anticipated high demand for participation, participants are encouraged to raise funds to cover the cost of travel, accommodation and sustenance.

A certificate of attendance would be awarded to participants at the end of the training programme.

All applications and enquiries should be sent by email to