On 9 December, the first course of the European Programme for Human Rights Education for Legal Professionals (HELP programme, Council of Europe) in Russia, “Business and Human Rights”, was opened at the Faculty of Law of Voronezh State University. The programme is aimed at assisting member states of the Council of Europe in implementing the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms at the national level in accordance with the Committee of Ministers recommendation (2004), Interlaken Declaration (2010), and Brighton declaration (2012).
Currently, Russia has a pool of programme coaches, including an associate professor of the Department of International and European Law, Alexei Yefremov. All in all, 11 courses of the programme have been conducted in Russia. However, Voronezh State University adapted the course and launched it as the programme “Business and Human Rights” for the first time in Russia. Among the participants of the course were lecturers and master’s students from VSU’s Department of International and European Law and staff members from the human rights commissioner’s executive office in the Voronezh region, and Investment and Strategic Projects Agency in the Voronezh region.
The participants were welcomed by the dean of the Department of Law, Professor Yury Starilov, the director of the International Project and Programme Centre, Alla Akulshina, the head of the Department of International and European Law, Pavel Birukov, and the human rights commissioner in the Voronezh region, Professor Tatiana Zrazhevskaya.
A staff member from the Office of Human Rights at the National Level of the Department of Human Rights Policy and Cooperation of the Council of Europe, Alla Dubanova, presented the HELP Programme of the Council of Europe. The presentation was followed by a roleplay session dedicated to the development of a new project of the national plan for the implementation of UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights in Russia. The session was organised by an associate professor of the Department of International and European Law, Alexey Yefremov.
The participants are going to continue their training remotely and in the middle of February they will hold another meeting. Upon completion of the course, the participants will receive certificates from the Council of Europe.