The developing experience, doctrine and methodology in human rights field operations,
including human rights monitoring, should be made accessible to future human rights
officers and should be supplemented in light of the specific mandate, circumstances and
judgement of the operation's leadership.
“Monitoring” is the active collection, verification and immediate use of information to
improve human rights protection.
1. The United Nations has mounted human rights field operations in such countries as Bosnia-Herzegovina, Burundi, Cambodia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti and Rwanda. A key function of all such operations has been monitoring the human rights situation in the country of operation. Each of them have largely developed their own methodology and structure for conducting field work, including human rights monitoring. This process is slow and increases the time needed for a human rights operation to become effective — six months, a year or longer. By the time the decision is taken to establish an operation, the human rights situation in the country is usually critical. Further delay must be avoided.
2. Increasingly, the United Nations has been developing considerable experience in human rights field operations and gathering a group of individuals who have served in the field. This Training Manual seeks to draw together that expertise — with particular regard to the performance of human rights monitoring duties –and make it accessible to future human rights officers (HROs) so that they can be more effectively trained for systematic and professional work.
3. The need to send staff into the field is usually so urgent that there is no time for thoroughly training HROs in advance of deployment. Also, factors such as particular language requirements, willingness to accept physical risk, and need for country expertise have sometimes resulted in the recruitment of HROs who have had disparate levels of experience with the various tasks they will pursue. For these reasons, there is a great need for the on-site training of HROs. It is critical that HROs receive comprehensive training that goes beyond education about human rights norms and procedures, and