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HREA hosts online session with Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Mr. Alvaro Gil-Robles

For immediate release
14 November 2003

Human Rights Education Associates (HREA) hosted an on-line forum with the European Commissioner for Human Rights on Thursday, November 13th. Mr. Alvaro Gil-Robles, a former National Ombudsman in his native Spain, is responsible for the promotion of human rights their effective respect and full enjoyment in all the member states of the Council of Europe.

Mr. Alvaro Gil-RoblesDuring a one-hour chat session, Mr. Gil-Robles answered questions about about his work, which includes periodic visits to all European nations during which he meets policy makers and visits detention facilities and makes recommendations to governments relating to civil and political liberties. "It was felt that added value might be accrued by providing an institution with a mandate to promote the "effective respect" for human rights, that is to say to intervene in respect of specific human rights problems, through investigation and mediation with national authorities," said Gil-Robles about his mandate. Mr. Gil Robles was appointed the first Commissioner for Human Rights in 1999 by the government leaders of all 45 countries that are members of the Council of Europe.

The chat session was organised as part of an on-line course on human rights law in Europe, including the work of the European Court of Human Rights. This course is one of ten distance learning courses that HREA organises annually for human rights advocates and monitors from around the world. The transcript of the chat session is available on-line.

HREA's director Felisa Tibbitts points out that the Internet is a naturally democratic communication tool and a great equalizer for facilitating communication and resource-sharing internationally. "We take into account that our colleagues in other parts of the world may have slow or expensive modem connections, and tailor our materials and learning tools so that they can be obtained in the most cost-effective way."

HREA is one of the leading organisations worldwide dedicated to educating and training of advocates and human rights monitors, Each year HREA trains lawyers and human rights monitors in emerging democracies like Croatia, Egypt and China. One of the trademark services of the organisation is the use of information and communication technologies (ICTs). HREA reaches educators and activists from over 150 countries through its various listservs and receives over half a million visitors per month on its multi-lingual website, which has over 2,000 learning and training materials.

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