Short course

Conflict and International Law: A Field-Based Training Course


The details
Conflict and International Law
Human Rights professionals
In person

Monday 31 July to Friday 4 August 2023  

The Essex Human Rights Centre presents a week-long practical development course, taught by a leading practitioner in the field of Human Rights and Humanitarian aid. 

The Human Rights Conflict and International Law – A Field-Based Training Course will be held in person at our Colchester campus, over five days from 31 July to 4 August 2023.

Applications for our Conflict and International Law training course have now closed.

For enquiries, please contact:


The Human Rights Conflict and International Law – A Field-Based Training Course will cover a range of topics related to the field of humanitarian aid, UN and diplomatic work.

Taught by leading practitioner in the field, Dr Conor Foley, the programme runs over five days and consists of a mixture of lectures, interactive exercises, skills and scenario-based activities, equipping participants with a realistic grounding in the challenges they are likely to face in the field.

All participants who successfully complete the course will receive a University of Essex, Human Rights Centre certificate.

The design of the course requires limiting enrolment to a maximum of 40 participants.

Meet the course facilitator

Dr. Conor Foley teaches at the Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro. He has worked on issues relating to rule of law, protection, combating torture, penal legislation, land rights and judicial reform for a variety of UN and NGO agencies – including UN Human Rights (OHCHR), UNHCR, UN DPKO, UN Habitat, Amnesty International, Care, Oxfam, International Rescue Committee and Save the Children – in over 30 conflict and post-conflict zones.

He has recently provided strategic evaluations of the UN´s transition out of a number of its Peacekeeping Operations, the work of UN Human Rights Emergency Response Teams and the UN Team of Experts on Conflict Related Sexual Violence. He has also evaluated a number of projects in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. His latest book The Protection Paradox: How the UN can get better at saving civilian lives will be published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2023.

Other books include In Spite of You: Bolsonaro and the new Brazilian resistance (OR Books, 2019); The Protection of Civilians by UN Peacekeeping missions (Cambridge University Press, 2018), Outro Sistema é Possível: a reforma do judiciário no Brasil, (International Bar Association/Brazilian Ministry of Justice, 2013) and The Thin Blue Line: how humanitarianism went to war (Verso, 2010). 

Teaching programme

The Human Rights Conflict and International Law – A Field-Based Training Course is held over five days and consists of a mixture of lectures, interactive exercises and skills-based activities. This will include a series of scenario-based activities and simulations that provide a realistic introduction to the challenges that participants are likely to face in the field.The course will be based on a case-study country, Carana, which the UN and World Bank use for their own in-house training. 

Some of the modules will be based on a course for the Protection of Civilians in UN Peace-keeping Operations which Conor designed for UN DPO.

The programme also draws on material from a Professional Masters course that Conor runs at a University in Rio de Janeiro.

Once your application has  been confirmed, you will get...

  • A Pdf of Conor Foley’s book on UN Peacekeeping for pre-reading “Carana papers. Book, UN Peace Operations and the Protection of Civilians, Cambridge University Press, 2017”, (alternately you can also purchase a hard copy in advance of the course)
  • IT access to course materials and videos and films related to the themes 

The course is held over 5 days between 9.00am and 5.00pm (lunch and refreshments are provided). Here is a summary of the week’s programme;

Day 1: Human rights and humanitarianism

  • Introduction to the course and objectives
  • Presentation: UN Peacekeeping and the Protection of Civilians
  • Exercises: Managing a Refugee Crisis, Mapping protection of civilians

Day 2: Protection of Civilians 

  • Presentation Exercises: Conflict and international law         
  • The Protection of Civilians (I,II, & III)

Day 3: Human rights reporting

  • Presentation:  Torture and international law
  • Exercises: Planning a prison visit, Writing a human rights report, Conducting interviews

Day 4: International law mechanisms

  • Presentation: Simulation of case before the International Criminal Court
  • Exercise: International Humanitarian Law

Day 5: Diplomacy and international law

  • Presentation: Negotiating an international treaty
  • Exercise: Humanitarian interventions 

Learning outcomes

In taking this course participants will:

  • Gain insights into various aspects of humanitarian field work.
  • Understand the challenges faced in the field, through a series of scenario-based activities and simulations.
  • Acquire a strong understanding of the five main bodies on international law: human rights law, humanitarian law, UN Charter law, refugee law and international criminal law and how these bodies are applied in a variety of settings.
  • Take part in fast-paced and challenging activities such as; international moot courts, managing a refugee crisis, advising a UN Chief of Mission and negotiating an international treaty.
  • Learn practical skills such as team-working, problem-solving, time-management, problem-solving and crisis-response. 


The content of the course is specifically tailored for those who intend working in the field, as a humanitarian aid worker, the UN or as a diplomat.

The course is also suitable for post-graduate students or professionals who may be interested in a career secondment to the field.

The course is delivered entirely in English. Thus, you are required to be highly competent in English.


Fee type Early bird (until 19/5/23) Standard (20/5/23 - 14/7/23) 
Full / Commercial fee £950 £1,100 
Essex student discount £712.50 £825
Essex staff / alumni £760 £880
Non-Essex student £760 £880
Non-Essex academic £807.50 £935
Public sector / NGO / Charity £807.50 £935

Course fee does not include accommodation (See Accommodation section for more details).

Fee includes:

  • 2 Evening meals* and social activities and networking events.
  • Daily lunches* and refreshments from our on campus caterer.
  • A certification upon completing your course, endorsed by the University of Essex Human Rights Centre

* Delegates will be responsible for obtaining their own food outside of these times. We recommend taking this into account when you budget for attendance. There is a Tesco located nearby, as well as many food outlets on campus.

Applications for our Conflict and International Law training course have now closed.

Please get in touch for details of further discounts that are available for the following:

  • Participants at partner organisations
  • Participants from the DAC list of countries and territories eligible to receive official development assistance
  • Doctoral Training Partnerships (Primarily in Humanities or Social Sciences and are based in the South East) 


Accommodation is not included in our Short Course package.

Delegates will be able to book on campus accommodation at very affordable rates.

We offer room only or bed and breakfast accommodation. Rooms have en-suite facilities with bedlinen provided as well as shared access to a kitchen.

The University of Essex's Colchester Campus is just one hour from London and Stansted Airport, and set in over 200 acres of beautiful parkland, and homes over 20 academic departments and schools.

Find out more about travelling to our Colchester Campus.

Once your application has been accepted, we will send you all the necessary information and links to make your accommodation booking. 

Applying to the Human Rights Conflict and International Law – A Field-Based Training Course

Applications for our Conflict and International Law training course have now closed.

For any payment issues or queries, please contact


You can pay for your place online via our Webshop which you will be sent a link to after completing the application form. The University bank will accept Visa, Mastercard, and Eurocard.

Paying by invoice

If you specifically require payment via an invoice, please email us at

    Apply now

    Applications are now open for the Conflict and International Law Field-Based Training Course. Complete the online form to submit your application.

    Apply here