Registration is now open for the 14th International Human Rights Colloquium, a conference that since 2001 has brought together human rights activists and defenders from the Global South in São Paulo. The event will take place from May 24-29.
This year, considering the intensified use of protests as a strategy for voicing social demands in various countries, the central theme of the Colloquium will be the relationship between human rights and the streets.
“This is a relevant and contemporary issue in the North and the South, in democratic and authoritarian regimes, in developed and developing countries,” explained Ana Cernov, coordinator of the South-South program at Conectas.
“We want to debate how causes are transformed into mobilizations, how to deal with repression and how to guarantee rights and freedoms on the streets. We also want to discuss how and why organizations engage in demonstrations and how they combine this participation with the work of research and advocacy. These are decisive questions for the future of the human rights movement,” she added.
For the first time, the Colloquium is being organized by Conectas in conjunction with three other organizations.CELS (Center for Legal and Social Studies) of Argentina, LRC (Legal Resources Centre) of South Africa, andKontraS of Indonesia, were invited to contribute to the choice of topics and the organization of the debates.
Considering the broader theme of the Colloquium, Human Rights and the Streets, the debates will be organized around three key topics:
Agenda of the streets :: We will attempt to provide an overview of the causes around the world that needed to take to the streets to be heard. From there, we will ask ourselves: Why are certain demands not heard by the State? What prompts movements to protest in the streets? What are the protest tactics and the forms of organization?
Right to the streets :: This second key topic will discuss state action, in particular the role of the security forces and control bodies, including the judiciary. What are the obligations of the State in guaranteeing the right to demonstrate? What has characterized state action in different contexts? Are there any channels for negotiation, participation and dialogue with the public authorities before, during and after the demonstrations? What strategies – legal, political, communication – can be used to protect the rights at stake in demonstrations?
Legacy of the streets :: The conference will also permit us to debate the impacts of the protests. How do the demands expressed on the streets lead to concrete changes? Can the demonstrations contribute to a broad discussion on the participation of society in public decision-making? Are there any new forms of democratic participation? What is the relationship between the new movements and the traditional channels of participation?
Who can participate?
Eligible candidates with experience in the field of human rights, particularly in Latin America, Africa and Asia, and also experience in the proposed topics of debate for the 14th Colloquium. On account of the theme of the event, applications are also welcome from activists and members of non-traditional groups and movements.
Candidates can apply for partial or full scholarships, which may be granted after an analysis by the Selection Committee. Registration will be open until March 10. The results will be published on March 15 on Conectas’ website.
Click here to register.
Between 2001 and 2013, the Colloquium was organized annually by Conectas. Over the course of these years, the event has brought together nearly 1,500 participants from 80 countries. In 2014, the organization started to change the structure of the conference to make it more diverse and representative, and also to ensure an effective exchange of experiences between human rights defenders.
Starting in 2015, the Colloquium will be held every two years, with other decentralized debate activities occurring in the intervening years in other countries and regions. The goal, however, remains the same: to bring together human rights defenders to build a strong, active and united network of organizations and activists from the Global South.