The 2020 edition of the International Course on Human Rights will be held in virtual mode in Spanish and English (with simultaneous translation) between November 16 and 27, 2020. This year’s theme will be Human Rights Investigation: facts-finding, documenting and monitoring.

The 2020 International Course will focus on the specificities and differences between research tasks in the field of human rights and their particularity in the matter of fact verification, documentation and monitoring. The topic will be approached from the study of cases of punctual or systematic violations of human rights, and in light of different methodological approaches and new applied technologies.



The investigation, documentation and monitoring of the exercise or violation of human rights has multiple goals: to determine the truth of what happened, to stop the ongoing violation of a right, to prevent future harm, to contribute information or evidence to achieve a criminal sanction, or to repair victims, among many others. Each of these purposes determines and defines the type and scope of an investigation in the field of human rights, presents particular challenges and, at times, must be subject to specific legal regimes so that the investigation does not violate the objectives sought.

That is why this International Course intends to work on the particularities and differences between the tasks of monitoring, investigation, documentation and fact-finding in the context of specific and systematic violations of human rights, the analysis of specific experiences and the debate around specific challenges and problems.

In addition, the Course will also focus on the study and analysis of the practical aspects of investigation, monitoring and documentation of human rights violations, such as the technical particularities for carrying out Interviews in the framework of an investigation, the development of the fact-finding process, the determination of patterns of human rights violations and the identification of responsibilities.


The different sessions of this Course will refer to the following specific subjects:

What is the investigation for? The purpose of an investigation defines its characteristics. Different types of research arise from the specific objectives they pursue. For example, making a complaint, developing a case in national or international judicial headquarters, or making a presentation of proposals for the design and implementation of a public policy related to the exercise of human rights, will require different types of investigation tasks and diverse documentation processes of those relevant facts related to the violation of rights.

Who investigates? Research and documentation in human rights will also have different characteristics depending on the actor that carries them out. In this sense, the Course will work on the differences that exist between the investigations or monitoring carried out by the Executive Power within the framework of the national and international obligations that fall to the head of the State; the processes developed by the Judiciary in the framework of investigations aimed at identifying human rights violations and assigning responsibilities; or the work of NGOs and CSOs that interact with national or international authorities to point out situations of serious rights violations. The type of actor that carries out the task of fact finding, monitoring or documentation of human rights violations defines the type of investigation that is carried out. Finally, it will also focus on the work of international institutions empowered to carry out human rights monitoring and research.

What is investigated?

During the course, reference will be made to the differences that human rights investigations present in the context of specific facts and cases, on the one hand, and those that are focused on examining and evaluating practices or policies that, based on patterns, affect human rights (massive violations, ESCR, poverty, structural discrimination, etc.). Strategic dilemmas will be presented in this regard, as well as the challenges offered by both types of investigation (for example, Truth Commissions or trials of massive violations’ perpetrators).

How is investigation performed? Work will be based on the practical challenges of an investigation, and the different phases in the process to carry it out will be analyzed.

When does the investigation take place? The different characteristics of monitoring and investigation of human rights violations when they are carried out after the events have occurred or while they are taking place will be the subject of the course. Likewise, the participants will also focus on the particularities of the research when it’s carried out in a context of peace or one of war. The different strategies for building a case and the challenges presented by strategic litigation will be compared.

How are the research results / products used?

Work will be done on different experiences leading to different possible products, such as the publication of reports, shadow reporting, public denunciation, the contribution for specific judicial cases at national or international headquarters, the presentation of recommendations to the government for public policy reforms, among others.


The teachers and speakers of this International Course will be experts, international organizations or national public officials and/or activists, who will share their experiences and reflections with the selected participants.

The dynamics of the different sessions throughout the ten days of work will have different formats, such as panel discussions. synchronous discussion, pre-recorded presentations with subsequent synchronous debate, online round tables, discussion forums between participants, a synchronous public interview followed by questions from the participants and a simulation exercise. Some of the sessions will revolve around specific cases of human rights research with the participation of relevant actors who have taken part in them.

Every working day during the course, the participants will coincide for two hours in synchronous sessions, to which one or two hours of offline work will be added daily.

This International Course does not respond to the traditional pedagogical model of teachers giving classes to a group of students in order to provide them with information, but rather it is expected that each participant will also become a rich source of knowledge, experience and reflection for their classmates.

The Course has an intensive format that spans 10 (ten) business days. Its purpose is to promote learning and the exhibition of ideas and information, but also to create the conditions to strengthen ties between all the participants, as well as between them and the teachers and experts that will be in charge of each segment of the course’s leadership.


The course is aimed at professionals who are averaging their careers and who have experience in the field of human rights, whether in activism in civil society organizations, in Government, justice, the academy or international organizations.


Application dates: July 15 to August 30 2020.

Applications’ evaluation: September 1 to October 15 2020.

Selected participants notification: October 16 2020.

Course’s web platform opening: November 13 2020.

International Course on Human Rights: November 16 2020.