Summer school
Human rights and their implementation: European and Baltic Expierence

July 31 - August 11, 2000
Riga, Latvia

On July 31 - August 11, 2000 the first Summer School: Human Rights and Its Implementation: European and Baltic Experience was held the Human Rights Institute of the University of Latvia, Faculty of Law. The target group of the Course are lawyers and graduate law students coming from the former USSR including the Baltic states who work in the field of human rights or study human rights. Considering the common history and similarity of a number of existing problems, as well as the fact the possibilities to participate in educational courses are often restricted to those who have a command of English or French languages, the Summer School language was Russian.

The idea to organize such event in Latvia has three main points. First, Latvia has accumulated a good experience in the transition from a Soviet Republic to a new European democracy. The Latvian experience is even more useful considering its multiethnic composition. The participants will learn the theoretical background and acquire the skills necessary to deal with human rights issues specific to societies in transition. In addition to academic studies, the participants will visit the governmental and the leading non-governmental institutions established after the regaining of the independence and which are essential for securing the rule of law and promotion and protection of human rights in Latvia.

Second, the Summer School will provide an opportunity to exchange opinions and experience among the lawyers from the post - socialist societies. The Institute's library contains essential Human Rights documentation in Latvian, Russian, English and other languages to provide the participants by teaching materials necessary for study sessions and discussions. Moreover, researchers of the Institute are young Latvian experts who have acquired their education in western countries and have had a chance to apply it in a specific context of post-socialist societies, thus having a number of important issues to raise and share with the participants.

Third, the new contacts established with the Institute and among the participants themselves would contribute to the continuing development of exchange of information and co-operation among the human rights experts.

The first Summer School was sponsored by the Council of Europe, the Delegation of the European Commission in Latvia and the Human Rights Institute of the Abo-Akademi University in Turku, Finland.

Following topics have been covered:

  • General introduction to Human Rights system.
  • Historical development of the concept of human rights. Its role in a democratic society.
  • Universality and particularity of human rights (6 hours).
  • Economic and social rights. Instruments, implementation and institutions. European Social Charter (6 hours).
  • Civil and political rights. Instruments, implementation and institutions (6 hours).
  • Minority Rights. The Framework Convention on the Protection of National Minorities. Minority rights in the European Human Rights system (12 hours).
  • European Council. European Human rights system. European Court of Human Rights: procedure, including correspondence, sittings, legal aid, role of the Government Agent (12 hours).
  • Human Rights in the OSCE system (6 hours).
  • European Union and Human Rights (3 hours).

    The team of lecturers combined Latvians - Dr.iur.Ineta Ziemele, LL.M Martins Mits, Mag.iur. Ineta Tare, LL.M Ivo Alehno and international experts from the Raoul Wallenberg Institute on Human Rights (Sweden) and Abo Akademi University Human Rights Institute (Finland).