The fourth edition of the Global Classroom entitled “Intractable human rights situations and failed international responses to crises” took place from 9 to 13 May 2016 at the European Inter-University Centre of Human Rights and Democratisation (EIUC) in Venice-Lido. Throughout the week, professors and students from the seven Regional Master’s programme of the Global Campus plus international experts from the United Nations and civil society organisations, participated in an international forum of discussion about complex human rights situations around the world that have arisen from persistent and unresolved conflicts, natural disasters, and the lack of regional or international collective to crises.
On the first day, after a welcome speech by Manfred Nowak, EIUC Secretary General, with Veronica Gomez, Chair of the GC, the main intractable of human rights situation presented was the one of the conflict in Syria and of its dire consequences in terms of number of people fleeing the country and human rights violations. Prof. Vitit Muntarbhorn, member of the Independent Commission of Inquiry in Syria (COI), gave a lecture on the context, the mandate and methodology of the COI to collect information on allegations of violations and violators that could be used in future national and international judicial proceedings.
A panel discussion about the desperate journey of people trying to cross the Mediterranean or the Balkan route, was then held with Laura Pasquero working as Humanitarian Officer at MSF, Hakan Ataman from Helsinki Citizens Assembly Turkey and Tara Petkovska, Project Coordinator in the NGO “Legis” at the refugee transit center “Tabanovce” in Macedonia. The stories and work experience of the panelists in assisting the refugees in the hot spots of the crisis highlighted the squalid and inhumane reception conditions of people and, most worryingly, the lack of political will of states to provide assistance or come up with a European humanitarian response.
Other topics covered during the following days of the Classroom were the impact of the Syrian refugees in Lebanon, the consequences of the EU-Turkey deal, the plight of refugees in the Asia-Pacific, root causes of some of the conflicts in Africa, the still unresolved dispute over Western Sahara, the negative impact of unilateral coercive measures and the international response to the earthquake in Haiti. The discussion was fruitful and raised many questions as well as interest for future scenarios.
The understanding of global challenges and the passion of the students in defending human rights reinforced once more the Global Campus community and the hope for a better future.