Safeguards against Torture

29 January-11 March 2014 (E06414) | Closed
Instructor: Andrea Huber

This certificate course introduces safeguards against torture and ill-treatment and the corresponding state obligations to protect, investigate, prosecute, prevent and redress abuse. It includes a special session on gender issues.

Alongside slavery and genocide, the international community has recognised torture and ill-treatment as impermissible at all times and in all circumstances. Its prohibition is absolute in customary law, binding on all states irrespective of whether they are parties to international treaties codifying the prohibition.

Numerous conventions have been adopted at regional and international levels to respond to and prevent the practice of torture and ill-treatment. Courts and committees have further refined regional and international standards.

Yet the practice of torture and ill-treatment is hard to eradicate. Across the globe, excessive use of force by law enforcement officials, abusive interrogation techniques and conditions in detention amounting to torture and ill-treatment remain widespread. However, human rights law has come a long way to improve accountability through detailed safeguards, preventive mechanisms and specialised institutions, which respond to factors contributing to torture and aim to establish accountability.

Course structure

This e-learning course involves approximately 30 hours of reading, discussion, webinars, quizzes and a written assignment and is offered over a six-week period. The course is based on a participatory, active learning approach, with an emphasis on critical reflection and peer-to-peer learning. The maximum number of course participants is 25. Students who successfully complete the course will receive a certificate of completion. It is also possible to audit the course.

Course outline

Week 1: International and regional conventions and state obligations
Week 2: Investigation and prosecution
Week 3: Other safeguards and the right to redress
Week 4: Detention standards
Week 5: Special session on gender issues
Week 6: Preventive mechanisms

About the instructor: Andrea Huber

Andrea HuberAndrea Huber is Policy Director at Penal Reform International in London. A lawyer by training, research of human rights issues and advocacy for the implementation and advancement of international human rights law have been at the core of her work. Starting as a legal counsellor for asylum seekers in 1997, subsequently she headed the department for refugees and migration of Caritas Austria with a focus on advocacy and policy development. After a one-year engagement in the judiciary as a legal assistant to judges of the Regional Higher Court Vienna she joined Amnesty International, tasked with research and advocacy in different functions in the Vienna office, the EU office in Brussels and as Deputy Director for Europe and Central Asia at Amnesty International’s headquarters in London. Andrea Huber published two books and contributed to several evaluation reports and comparative analyses in the European context. She participated in field missions to DR Congo, Ukraine, Syria and Georgia and has got varied experience in trainings.

Who should apply

The course is intended for human rights defenders, NGO staff, staff of inter-governmental organisations with a mandate to prevent torture and ill-treatment, and law enforcement officials, prison officials and other professionals that work in closed institutions. Candidates should have a good written command of English and have high competence and comfort with computer and Internet use. HREA aims to ensure equal gender and geographical distribution across the selected participants.


Tuition fee for participants: US$ 575; tuition for auditors: US$ 215. Payments can be made online with major credit cards (Discover, MasterCard, Visa), PayPal, bank transfer (additional fee applies) and money transfer (Western Union, MoneyGram). Bulk rates are available. Payments are due upon registration.

How to register

Registration is closed.

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently asked questions about HREA’s e-learning courses.