Human Rights Research Methodologies Workshop set to invigorate and emancipate African researchers
20 July 2018
The 6th of August 2018 marked the opening of the Human Rights Methodologies Workshop that is set to run until the 8th of August 2018 at the Africa University main campus in Mutare. Africa University in partnership with the Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law are working together to ensure that the African experience regarding Human Rights is accurately documented and told enabling the civic society, non- governmental organizations and governments to craft appropriate and context specific policies that address the challenges faced by marginalised groups of the society and those whose voices may go unheard. Human rights are the basic rights and freedoms that belong to every person in the world, from birth until death. They apply regardless of where one is from, what one believes or how one chooses to live their life (Equality and Human Rights Commission).
Professor Pamela Machakanja, the Interim Deputy Vice Chancellor of Africa University, opened the workshop speaking to the extensive history that Africa University has had in bringing to the fore human rights issues within Zimbabwe and the continent through its Institute of Peace, Leadership and Governance with AU being recognized regionally as a training institution regarding matters of diplomacy, advocacy, peace studies and human rights.
The focus of the workshop is on highly topical areas that are currently dominating the globe and require sustainable, targeted interventions that help to solve the problems that people face. Key focus areas include people on the move which touches on migration, inclusive societies that embrace diversity, fair and efficient justice, economic globalization and human rights.
Dr Alejandro Fuentes of the Raoul Wallenberg Institute who was a key speaker at the workshop said,
“I am extremely eager to gain feedback from each of the researchers here on their experiences in the field and share notes on how we can improve the craft in an inclusive manner. What is also important when we look at our work as researchers is looking at the ethics and social responsibility in conducting our work and ensuring that we do no harm through the research we conduct.”
Dr Fuentes went on to give a brief background of the work that the Institute is engaged in and has assisted in to date which includes human rights education through outreach programmes, strengthening library resources on human rights and access to these resources by a wider demographic, the production of publications and professional training programmes.
Grounded and relevant research in human rights is the lynch pin that holds together and forms the basis of many policies that govern or determine human rights. Human rights organizations invented the genre of human rights research where it typically resembles evidence gathered for a legal argument rather than analysis. Human rights research does not seek to describe general social conditions; rather, the main objective of human rights reporting is to document patterns of human rights violations and expose the perpetrators, institutions and policies that facilitate abuse.
The Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law is based in Lund Sweden and in conjunction with the Swedish Development Corporation seeks to contribute to human rights education through comprehensive and ethical research assisting with policy creation and analysis, encouraging direct engagement amongst stakeholders at a localized level and creating communities in which people speak on issues related to human rights.
The participants in attendance can expect to make a contribution towards protecting human rights through enhancing dialogue and joint initiatives, acquire training on current trends and best practise in human rights research and gain insight into gender equality and the human rights of women as a cross- cutting and topical issue in human rights discourse.