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APF blended learning course on rights of women and girls

Graphic: Women from South Asia

Representatives from the NHRIs of South Asia will take part in a new APF blended learning course to bolster gender equality.

When: 27 January-28 February 2015 (online); 13-17 April 2015 (workshop)

Where: Kathmandu, Nepal (workshop)

Representatives from the national human rights institutions (NHRIs) of South Asia have begun a new APF blended learning course to support their critical work to promote and protect the human rights of women and girls.

The course will focus on international standards and mechanisms pertaining to the rights of women and girls and the ways in which NHRIs can use their legal powers and mandates to promote gender equality and respond to the human rights abuses experienced by women and girls.

It will also explore the practical steps that NHRIs can take to "mainstream" gender equality and the rights of women and girls across all areas of their work and operations.

"Women and girls in all countries across the Asia Pacific are at risk of serious violations of their human rights, such as gender-based violence and harassment" said Pip Dargan, APF Gender Focal Point and Deputy Director of the APF secretariat.

"Many also experience poverty, discrimination in employment and unequal access to health services and the education and justice systems. Some women, because they have a disability or are indigenous, face even greater barriers to equality," she said.

"This course aims to provide opportunities for staff and Commissioners of NHRIs to share experiences and develop their skills to lead legislative, policy and attitudinal change that can make a genuine difference for all women and girls in their countries."

As part of the blended learning course, 26 participants – including women and men – from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, the Maldives, Nepal and Sri Lanka will take part in five weeks of online learning, from 27 January to 28 February 2014.

Representatives from UN agencies will also be involved and contribute their technical expertise.

The course will draw on Promoting and Protecting the Rights of Women and Girls: A Manual for National Human Rights Institutions, published by the APF in 2014. The Manual includes a special focus on efforts by NHRIs in the region to promote reproductive rights; counter violence against women and girls; and protect the rights of female migrant domestic workers.

Participants who successfully complete the online course will attend a face-to-face workshop in Kathmandu, from 13-17 April 2014, hosted by the National Human Rights Commission of Nepal.

As part of the workshop, participants will develop a set of practical "action points" to promote and protect the rights of women and girls, for implementation by their NHRIs. NHRIs will also be required to report back to the APF on how the action points have been implemented.

The course will be facilitated by Alison Aggarwal, Principal Adviser at the Australian Human Rights Commission. Other international experts will be invited to lead different parts of the training program.

Image credits

  1. Women from South Asia - Akram Ali/CARE Bangladesh, Flickr Creative Commons