Networking Platform for Human Rights Training Alumni

The Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law (RWI), working in cooperation with the Centre for Applied Legal Research (CALR), has since 2016 held several Professional Training Programmes (PTPs) in human rights.

On March 20, 2024, several alumni picked from different PTPs attended an alumni meeting in Harare. The meeting was a platform for alumni to share the impact of the PTPs as well as how they are infusing human rights initiatives into their work.

More networking opportunities were availed on this platform as alumni from different PTPs converged and shared their experiences since the training programmes.

Since the inception of the PTPs, several trainees drawn from academia, civil society, government and government departments, independent commissions and the security sector have been trained in several thematic PTPs that include human rights and devolution, human rights of marginalized groups, human rights of persons with disabilities and human rights and emerging leaders.

Dr. James Tsabora’s session, based on John Ruggie’s concept of business and human rights, elaborated on the importance of showing businesses the benefits of respecting human rights and environmental protection. Responsible sourcing, extra-territorial remedies, judicial remedies, grievance redress mechanisms, and fiscal incentives are all in place to enforce and encourage businesses to respect human rights and environmental considerations.

Another important session, focusing on women, economic, social, and cultural rights, and the environment was facilitated by Dr Rutsate. She highlighted several regional bodies and treaties that are in place to protect human rights and women such as the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW); the Maputo Protocol, the Center for Economic and Social Rights (CESR); and Maastricht’s Principles. These are in place to establish obligations for State and non-state actors to protect human rights and businesses.

Some participants noted how PTPs have been crucial, as they are using that knowledge in developing several State party reports by Zimbabwe to different UN treaties and several regional bodies. State attorneys also indicated they are using human rights training to develop position papers and policies, draft laws, and contribute to several ministry initiatives. For example, Dr Peta working in the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare submitted that the knowledge and skills she gained through the human rights training assisted her in contributing to the content of the National Disability Policy.

In academia, the introduction of a module on devolution and decentralized government at Midlands State University was inspired by training on devolution and human rights.

Several initiatives by civil society organisations have been made through PTP training. One of the alumni highlighted how her visit to Sweden’s female prison led her to be one of the key resource persons facilitating the adoption of the legal aid desk for female prisoners in Zimbabwe. This legal aid desk has been expanded to the rest of the female prisons in Zimbabwe, to assist women in prisons.




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