"Human rights protection is of concern for all of us, and I am sure this is the field where I can make a difference," said Darya Nikityuk, Human Rights Master Programme student at Ural Federal University, Yekaterinburg, explaining why she chose that area of study.
Darya Nikityuk, Alexandre Samosadko, and Andrey Lunev were members of the team of students from Yekaterinburg universities that won the European Human Rights Moot Court Competition. The competition was held during the 2019 edition of the Human Rights Summer School, the biggest human rights education event organized annually with the support of UN Human Rights in Russia.
It was the turn of Perm State University - one of the nine members of the Consortium of Russian Universities implementing the Human Rights Master Programme - to organize this year’s Summer School. The seventh edition focused on how a human rights-based approach can foster the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) . The sustainable development agenda, which was adopted by all UN Member States, aims to end poverty and build by 2030 a world where no one is left behind.
Georgette Gagnon, director of the Field Operations and Technical Cooperation Division at UN Human Rights, opened the Summer School. "The 2030 Agenda provides for a more equitable, sustainable, people-centred, and human rights-based model of development, and sets out concrete goals, targets and indicators to ensure the realization of the human rights vision of freedom from fear and want," she said.
"Sustainable Development Goals are inevitably related to certain areas of human life which are inextricably connected to human rights," Samosadko added. “The right to work and sustainable production and consumption, the right to freedom of expression and gender equality cannot exist independently.”
The Summer School's programme included three clusters that examined human rights and the implementation of the SDGs in the context of business activities, the digital age, and children’s rights.
The students shared the contributions they made in their daily lives to help achieve the SDGs. They provided as examples Goal 13 on climate action, Goal 14 on the preservation of marine ecosystems, and Goal 15 for the preservation of terrestrial ecosystems. Each student said they try to be responsible consumers: they sort their waste, minimize the use of plastic, efficiently use paper and water and, on their social media platforms, draw attention to the need to protect the environment.
For the students, practical learning during the Summer School Programme was one of the selling points. They highlighted their visit to the NGO center, Grani, where they developed a draft national action plan on human rights. Working in groups, they put forward ways to achieve certain sustainable development goals.
They also participated in the European Moot Court Competition and looked at case studies relating to the European Court of Human Rights jurisprudence.
"The main difference between the Summer School and university education is its interactive format providing a dialogue between a lecturer and a student," Lunev pointed out.
While emphasizing that young people future depended on the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals, the students expressed hope that upon completion of their training they would be able to apply their knowledge on the SDGs more broadly.
"I want to raise awareness so that everyone in my country knows what the SDGs are and how we can contribute to their implementation. I also want to find allies to work together on projects to protect human rights of all," Nikityuk said.
31 July 2019