The Human Rights Education for Legal Professionals (HELP) is a platform of online courses developed by the Council of Europe, Directorate General of Human Rights and Rule of Law (DGI).
HELP online courses are accessible for free in the HELP e-learning platform. Not only have help users increased in the number of users of the HELP e-learning platform from 45,600 users by mid-March 2020 to almost 56,000 users by 1 May 2020, but also users are spending more time learning and obtaining online statement of accomplishments.
Some HELP courses have drawn particular interest, many of them had been developed thanks to EU-funding:
As an example, you can see below data of the labour rights course (with EU support, both its development and its current update):
|Council of Europe HELP Course on Labour Rights as Human Rights|
|No. of users on the platform – 7 May 2020|
|Language / Country||No. of users in nat’l language as self-study||Tutored|
|TOTAL SELF-STUDY + TUTORED||932|
More and more requests are being received from some of the Judiciary Schools and Bar Associations to benefit from HELP online courses and/or the HELP platform, and the HELP Team -as well as the Council of Europe colleagues working under geographical/topical projects, programmes or facilities, have responded to demands.
They have adapted their way of working to the current context, either postponing events that require physical presence or replacing them by virtual and online events. They have continued the implementation of courses launched in EU countries and done online launches in many countries, particularly in the Western Balkans (Bosnia and Herzegovina, North Macedonia, Serbia, etc), Eastern Partnership countries (Georgia, Armenia), Turkey and Russia Federation. The updated HELP course on Introduction to the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) and the European Court on Human Rights (ECtHR) was implemented fully online this week on the initiative of the Italian Scuola Superiore dela Magistratura. This 5-hour online course has gotten over 2,500 users registered, out of whom +600 have already passed it. The course was updated in close cooperation with the CoE Department for the Execution of Judgments of the ECtHR and Court’s Registry. The activity was supported by the project “Strengthening the effective legal remedies to human rights violations in Serbia”, implemented under the EU-CoE Joint Programme “Horizontal Facility for the Western Balkans and Turkey II”. “For the [ECHR] system to fulfil its potential, we need lawyers, judges, government officials, NGOs and other professionals across Europe to learn how it functions and to use that
knowledge in their daily work,” said CoE SG Marija Pejčinović Burić.
In addition to the HELP course launches, the HELP Secretariat continued with the development of the new HELP courses on Judicial Ethics, Protection and Safety of Journalists and a new module on Environment and Human Rights, as well as with the update of the existing HELP courses on Asylum and the ECHR, Business and Human Rights, Freedom of Expression, Labour Rights and Fight Against Racism, Xenophobia, Homophobia and Transphobia. Some among you, alongside the Council of Europe colleagues from the relevant entities, lawyers from the ECtHR and partners representatives (EJTN, CCBE or FRA) are contributing to these efforts.
Beyond HELP, the Council of Europe has opened a dedicated website to COVID-19 and put together a coronavirus toolkit to guide governments as they make difficult decisions as COVID-19 restrictions have to be balanced with human rights. The document covers four key areas:
The Information Document also refers to new advice from the Committee of the Parties of the Council of Europe’s MEDICRIME Convention on the counterfeiting of medical products and similar crimes.
Alongside these efforts, we are discussing internally when and how to disclose key HELP courses/modules that we kept until now in a restricted part of the platform but that in light of the current circumstances, we would like to make them more accessible. This is the case of some of the HELP course on Medicrime to counteract fake medical products and medicines (internal discussions are still on-going within the CoE) and key modules on (EU-funded) Radicalisation Prevention (without sharing the complementary information prepared by national tutors at national level which will remain in the restricted part of the platform).
Finally, after careful deliberations and considering the current context and COVID19-related travel restrictions, we are pleased to announce that the 2020 Annual Conference will be held fully on-line on 8-9 July 2020 with a focus on the 70 years of the ECHR, 15 years of HELP and the most relevant HELP courses (included the new ones) in times of crisis. We are finding the best technological solutions for it and preparing the agenda that we hope to share with you in June.