Mission: WHINSEC inaugurated the Center for Human Rights and Democracy (CHRD) on June 17, 2016. CHRD’s mission is to develop and teach human rights, democracy, and ethics to eligible military, law enforcement, and government civilians. The purpose is to sharpen their professional decision-making and competencies in these areas, and to strengthen a culture of respect for human rights and democracy throughout the Western Hemisphere. CHRD’s core functions are to develop and teach curriculum, conduct educational and training programs, implement subject-matter expert exchanges, and provide consultancy services.
WHINSEC’s legislative mandate from Congress to focus on human rights and democracy is over twenty years old and we have complied with the letter and the spirit of the law. CHRD develops and conducts education and training of the congressionally mandated topics of international human rights law, rule of law, due process, civilian control of the military, and the role of the military (or security forces) in a democracy. Although not one of the congressionally mandated topics, aspects of international humanitarian law (IHL) are also included in accordance with Department of Defense Directives. The first three topics, and IHL, fall under the responsibility of the CHRD Director, whereas the representative from the Department of State oversees the last two topics. WHINSEC’s Chaplain covers the ethics lessons.
All courses at WHINSEC incorporate a minimum of seven hours of human rights, three hours of democracy, three hours of ethics, and the Field Studies Program (FSP). This far exceeds the minimum eight hours required by law. No student can graduate without the mandatory classes. Several WHINSEC courses also include the Andersonville Staff Ride, which analyzes the causes of human rights violations during our civil war, and considers measures to prevent them.
The FSP, managed by a separate section, complements the human rights, democracy, and ethics curriculum with educational visits to the National Center for Civil and Human Rights, the William Breman Jewish Heritage & Holocaust Museum, the Tubman Museum, as well as other locations. These cultural exchange programs enhance the learning experience, enrich our students and reinforce our democratic values.
Our staff conducts this education and training through classes, courses, electives, and staff rides, along with other events. Our curriculum is second to none and has been developed in close coordination with, and the assistance of, law enforcement and military attorneys, human rights non-government organizations, the International Committee of the Red Cross, the Academy on Human Rights and Humanitarian Law (at American University’s Washington College of Law), and other leading human rights advocates. The Department of State representative, with links to the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor and the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs, ensures the interagency perspective and compliance with applicable laws and the OAS Charter.
The diverse audience we reach represent a cross section of our neighbors in the hemisphere. Nearly all nationalities, branches of service, ranks, government status, races, and gender are reflected in our classrooms, both at the Institute as well as in training sessions conducted abroad.
The CHRD team includes talented and dedicated U.S. and partner nation military, law enforcement, and civilian instructors, many of them subject matter expert attorneys, who combine a passion for human rights and democracy with a love for teaching. Our staff promotes learning in an environment that is inclusive and equitable. We are pleased with our achievements and take pride in the fact that security forces personnel graduating from the Institute receive high-quality human rights, democracy, and ethics education and training.
Center for Human Rights and Democracy (CHRD) Course Listing
International Operational Law
(SANweb: International Operational Law, MASL ID No. B166150)
International Operational Law (IOL) Course is a four and one-half week course that, because of the sophistication of its content and teaching methodology, frequently attracts military and government civilian lawyers, along with military and law enforcement commanders. This course emphasizes that part of international human rights law that restricts tactics in the operational environment. It focuses, for the most part, on legal issues encountered during law enforcement operations during other situations of violence — for examples, internal disturbances and tensions, such as violent demonstrations, etc. It includes two days of simulation exercises that put into practice the lessons taught in class on the lawful use of lethal force. It incorporates the Andersonville Staff Ride, which analyzes the causes of human rights violations during the American Civil War, that are still very much applicable today, and considers measures to prevent them. Aspects of international humanitarian law (IHL) are also presented so that students understand the laws that apply to military operations conducted during armed conflicts. Recent, and well-reported, police and military actions are analyzed and discussed as case studies. Additionally, the Field Studies Program (FSP) complements the human rights, democracy, and ethics curriculum in the IOL Course with educational visits to the National Center for Civil and Human Rights, the William Breman Jewish Heritage & Holocaust Museum, the Tubman Museum, as well as other locations. These cultural exchange programs enhance the learning experience, enrich our students and reinforce our democratic values. Students must pass two assessment instruments to graduate. The maximum number of students that can participate in this course is sixteen.
Student Profile: Military: Sergeant First Class to Lieutenant Colonel for military, or equivalent for law enforcement agencies and ministry of defense civilians..
Duration: 4 weeks, 3 days
Human Rights Instructor
(SANweb: Human Rights Instructor, MASL ID No. B166006)
This course integrates human rights instruction topics and methodology. Topics covered include international human rights law, due process of law, rule of law, and international humanitarian law. Case studies, practical exercise, and discussion questions are used throughout the course. Students will be evaluated on topics and training methodologies using rubrics and written assessments to include substantive class participation.
Student Profile: Military: Member of a professional security force
Duration: 1 week