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Study trip to Geneva of the Oxford Human Rights Law Reporters and LL.M. students

On May 5-6 2016, Koc University’s Center for Global Public Law organized a study trip to Geneva for Oxford Human Rights Reporters and LL.M students attending the United Nations Human Rights Law postgraduate seminars.  Here are the testimonials of two of our Oxford Human Rights Law Reporters:

Seçil Bilgiç:

This study visit to Geneva was completely inspiring and potentially life changing trip for anyone desiring to further engage with International Human Rights Law (IHRL).

 

As part of this study trip, we visited the UN Headquarters in Geneva to observe various UN Human rights mechanism in action.  On the first day, we enjoyed a guided tour in the UN’s Palais des Nations and later on met with the Turkish Permanent Mission in Geneva. Settled along Lake Geneva, and set against the backdrop of the magnificent Alps, Palais des Nations was absolutely breathtaking and by itself made the whole trip unforgettable. 

 

On the next day, we attended the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination’s Namibia Session at Palais Wilson and later on met with Ivaylo Petrov from UN Treaty Body Petitions Unit to personally communicate with the staff of the United Nations and ask questions regarding the procedure.  Finally, we have observed the Human Rights Council - Universal Periodic Review session of Tajikistan.

 

As a whole, this trip broadened my perspective on IHRL as we had a chance to observe the gearings behind these mechanisms and personally engage with aspirations and, perhaps more importantly, grievances of the professionals in this field.  On a more personal level, I felt that this trip allowed me to observe the clash that has been taking place in de lege lata and de lege ferenda in IHRL on a closer level.  Thus, I feel obliged to thank CGPL for arranging this trip through which we gained an in-depth understanding of the professional environment and practices of international organizations.

Irina Crivet:

The UN Study Visit was an enriching experience: it provided me the opportunity to visit the UN institutions and get to know their premises but in the same time to attend and observe the impact these institutions have in more than 190 countries. Throughout our trip we visited United Nations premises (Le Palais des Nations, the UN headquarters in Geneva), the Turkish Permanent Mission in Geneva and the Palais Wildon.

 

In the second day, we attended the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination’s session on Namibia, at Palais Wilson. The session offered information with regards to Namibian situation regarding racial discrimination within the country. In addition, we had the chance to observe the interaction and interest of the countries during the Questions & Answers and the response of Namibia representative in this regard. Overall, the session was informative but the state remains biased in many aspects.

 

Further, the meeting with the UN Treaty Body Petitions Unit was the most engaging, from my perspective; because I had the chance to interact with Mr Ivaylo Petrov on the topics I am mostly concerned for my PhD dissertation.

 

In addition, we had the opportunity to attend the Human Rights Council - Universal Periodic Review (UPR) session of Tajikistan. It was surprising to see how the quality of recommendation and the engagement with the UPR procedure varies between the countries. This 2-days experience in Geneva strongly motivated me to pursue my further studies on the United Nations Human Rights system and it gave me a ‘bird eye view’ on the United Nations affairs. 

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