Leading a training workshop on EU protection of HRDs in cooperation with Youth Against Settlements, Hebron, Occupied Palestinian Terrritories, February 2014


I design and conduct training sessions and workshops on:

  • human rights defenders and their protection (for governments)
  • policies and practices of the EU, Norway, Switzerland and Canada in the protection of human rights defenders (training for HRDs or for staff of human rights organizations)
  • how to get the European Union or foreign governments to take action to protect HRDs
  • lobby and advocacy methods and strategies

During training sessions I make use of participatory methodologies such as work in small groups and role plays.  Participants view and critically discuss demonstration videos.  When appropriate, representatives of EU institutions or EU member states are invited to directly engage with participants.  Training resources include a handbook I wrote for Front Line Defenders and a training guide and advocacy toolkit of EuroMed Rights of which I wrote the original version.

Examples of my training activities are:

  • In March 2017 in Brussels, I conducted a training for five staff of international human rights organizations on policies and practices of the EU, Norway, Switzerland and Canada in HRD protection and how to get them to take action.
  • In July 2016, I delivered a training on human rights defenders and their projection to around 40 staff members of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of The Netherlands.
  • In September 2015, I provided training and advice on advocacy for protection of HRDs in the Occupied Palestinian Territories to the German NGO Kurve Wustrow.
  • In June 2015, I co-facilitated and provided training at a workshop to enhance the advocacy skills of HRDs from Russia, Belarus, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Ukraine.
  • In February 2014, in collaboration with Youth Against Settlements, I designed and facilitated  a training workshop for Palestinian and international human rights defenders in Hebron, Occupied Palestinian Territories.  After reviewing EU policies and practices in the protection of HRDs, participants analyzed their situation and formulated recommendations for EU action.  Local human rights defenders and myself then presented the recommendations at a meeting with EU diplomats in Ramallah.    
  • In November 2013, for the NGO Arseh Sevom, I designed and facilitated a two-day training workshop on EU human rights advocacy for 12 Europe-based Iranian human rights defenders.  The workshop took place in Brussels.  The key topics were EU institutions, EU human rights policies, and advocacy methods and effectiveness.  Training methodologies included presentations, work in small groups, viewing and discussion of demonstration videos, role plays and direct exchange with EU representatives.  Participants' evaluation of the workshop was very positive.
  • In July 2013, I conducted a two-hour training workshop on EU protection of human rights defenders for 11 Amnesty International Netherlands staff members.
  • In April 2013, at the invitation of the East and Horn of African Human Rights Defenders Project, I presented and facilitated a session on EU protection of HRDs at its regional stakeholder meeting in Kampala, Uganda.
  • In both 2010 and 2011, I helped design and then facilitated a three-hour seminar entitled "Using New Media to Create Positive Change" which took place in the context of Amnesty International (AI) Netherlands' Movies That Matter film festival.  About 20 human rights defenders, film directors and Amnesty International staff and volunteers participated in each seminar.  Participants shared experiences and ideas related to the making and promotion of films on human rights defenders and their work, including using new media to increase effectiveness.
  • In January 2009, I gave a one-day training session on human rights defenders to staff of the Dutch NGO ICCO.
  • In July 2008, at the “summer school” organized by the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network in Istanbul, Turkey, I gave two training sessions, one on “documenting human rights violations” and one on “lobby and advocacy.”  Participants were members and staff of human rights organizations in the Mediterranean region.
  • Novib Workshop on NGO Space in Eastern Europe, Caucasus, Central Asia, The Middle East and Maghreb.  A total of 13 organizations from Azerbaijan, Serbia/Montenegro, Egypt, Morocco, the Occupied Palestinian Territories, Tadjikistan, Uzbekistan and Georgia participated in this two-and-a-half day workshop in September 2005. During the workshop, participants exchanged experiences in working in restrictive environments and in opening up space for the activities of NGOs. Participants also learned about external mechanisms that could contribute to increasing space for NGO activities, and discussed the possibilities and limits of these mechanisms. I served as a resource person for the workshop, making a presentation on the European Union Guidelines on Human Rights Defenders and how EU governments might be lobbied to help defend and widen NGO space.


Facilitating a "Movies That Matter" seminar for human rights defenders and film directors.  Photo credit: Arie Raaphorst