Yesterday the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies concluded proceedings of the 18th annual human rights training seminar for Egyptian university students, titled “Egypt of the Revolution, Our Rights Now.” The 15-day seminar began on July 17, 2011 and ended on July 31, 2011.
The seminar is part of the roster of educational activities promoted by the CIHRS and is held annually. This year, 60 students from Egyptian universities across the country participated in the seminar. The seminar addressed the development of international human rights principles and law, the general status of human rights in the world and particularly in Arab states, existing laws in Egypt and their compatibility with human rights norms, and other topics related to economic, political, and social rights, minority rights, women’s rights, and the rights of the child. These issues were discussed in the context of Egypt in the transitional period and its post-revolution future.
In addition to lectures, discussion sessions, and practical activities, during the seminar participants were divided into five groups, and each group visited a human rights organization for a one-day training exercise. The five human rights groups were the Egyptian Center for Economic and Social Rights, Nazra for Feminist Studies, the New Woman Foundation, the Nadim Center for the Rehabilitation of Victims of Violence, and the Andalus Center for Tolerance and Anti-Violence Studies.
The seminar also involved a mock session of the UN Human Rights Council. Assuming the roles of state delegations and various organizations in the council, participants debated military trials of civilians in Egypt. The seminar later featured a screening of “Microphone,” a film by Ahmad Abdalla, which deals with themes of freedom of opinion and expression and censorship. The film was followed by a discussion with the director about cinema and human rights in Egypt.
In the final week of the seminar, participants worked on public awareness campaigns on the theme of citizenship, which may later be implemented by the CIHRS alumnus club. On the final day of the seminar, the campaigns were evaluated by a judging committee comprised of staff members at the CIHRS.
The participants’ campaigns focused on the right of citizenship for social groups that they believed lacked rights. A campaign titled “One Silt, Many Trees,” on the rights of religious minorities, received the highest marks from the judges as it fulfilled most of the conditions for the campaign and offered new instruments to address and resolve the problem.
The seminar concluded with the distribution of certificates of achievement to the participants, who organized a small party to celebrate the end of a successful seminar and big other participants farewell. They also celebrated the birthdays of their fellow participants born in July and August and took group photos.
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