With more than two decades of experience in the fields of international politics and human rights, Associate Professor Frank Aarebrot is academically responsible for the course, which was taught for the first time in 2001. Last year, Aarebrot and his crew attracted 36 students. Among the lecturers were former Minister of Foreign Affairs and current President of the Norwegian Red Cross Mr. Thorvald Stoltenberg, Håkon Arald Gulbrandsen from the Department of HR at the Norwegian MFA and journalist and the Chechen Republic expert Siri Lill Mannes.
When the Bergen network coordinator met Tanja Clifford in her office at the Rafto Human Rights House, she had just finished her home exam.

– Tanja, what is the course in ”Human Rights Monitoring” actually about?
Essentially, the focus is on the challenges one meets when travelling to a different country in order to investigate and report human rights violations. The course is made up especially for people working full-time and thus without the possibility of going back to university as ordinary full-time students. That’s why it is held over several weekends, and with a very practical approach, including a number of typical situations human rights observers may face. The course students not only discuss these, but also act them out so as to train and prepare for the real thing.

-This seems challenging and relevant for your position?
Yes, Amnesty International is a serious actor in this field. As AI Norway´s the human rights education coordinator, this is particularly valuable because it shows the wider aspect of why human rights abuses are committed. Very often, the reasons why human rights violations reoccur can be related to lack of education.

Clifford emphasises that the lecturers have various experiences in the field of international politics and human rights. This is essential for the students, she says, since not only facts are being communicated, but also hands-on experiences.