UN Declaration on Human Rights Education and Training

UN Declaration on Human Rights Education and Training

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In December 2011, the UN General Assembly adopted the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Education and Training (HRET). This Declaration asserts that everyone has the right to know, seek and receive information about their human rights and fundamental freedoms. It is a call to the United Nations, governments, non-governmental organizations and other bodies to intensify their efforts to promote the universal respect and understanding of HRET.

 

The Declaration defines HRET as comprising “all education, training, information, awareness-raising and learning activities aimed at promoting universal respect for and observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms.”  It also states that HRET encompasses:

  • Education about  human rights
  • Education through human rights
  • Education for human rights

The Declaration recognizes that HRET is a lifelong process that includes all parts of society, at all levels and should be based on principles of equality.

The Declaration in detail

In order to achieve a just society, in which the rights of each person are valued and respected, we need to aware of our rights and responsibilities.  HRET promotes the values, beliefs and attitudes that encourage all individuals to uphold their own rights and those of others.

The Declaration on HRET lays out these rights and responsibilities in a number of introductory paragraphs and 14 Articles.

As it is a Declaration, it is ‘non-binding’ on Governments, but they are asked, together with non-governmental organizations to disseminate the Declaration and to “promote universal respect and understanding thereof.”

Preamble

The Declaration reaffirms that everyone has a right to education and that States are “duty-bound” through the Universal Declaration on Human Rights (UDHR) and other human rights instruments to ensure that “education is aimed at strengthening respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms.” It also refers to the World Conference on Human Rights, held in Vienna in 1993, that called on Governments to include in the curriculum “of all learning institutions” human rights and humanitarian law. The Conference also stated that human rights education should include “peace, democracy, development and social justice”.  The 2005 World Summit Outcomes, moreover, supported the promotion of human rights education at all levels.

 

The Articles

1.  Article 1 recognizes the right to “know, seek and receive information about all human rights and fundamental freedoms” and access to HRET, which is essential for the promotion of universal respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms for all. At the same time human rights, particularly the right to education, allows for access to HRET.

 

2. Article 2 gives the definition of HRET as comprising “all education, training, information, awareness-raising and learning activities aimed at promoting universal respect for and observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms.”  It also states that HRET encompasses:

  • Education about  human rights
  • Education through human rights
  • Education for human rights

 

3. Article 3 recognizes that HRET is a lifelong process. It concerns all parts of society, at all levels, including: “preschool, primary, secondary and higher education, taking into account academic freedom where applicable, and all forms of education, training and learning, whether in a public or private, formal, informal or non-formal setting.”

HRET should also include “vocational training…. Continuing education, popular education and public information and awareness activities” and languages and methods used should be appropriate for the target groups.

 

4. Article 4 emphasizes that HRET should be based on the “principles of the UDHR and other relevant treaties and instruments.” It should raise awareness of “universal human rights standards and principles”; develop a “universal culture of human rights”, including awareness of one’s own human rights as well as the responsibilities in respect the rights of others. The effective realization of all human rights should be pursued, while ensuring the access of all to quality HRET. The prevention of human rights violations and abuses and combating and eradication of all forms of discrimination is also stressed.

 

5. Article 5 recognizes that HRET should be based on principles of equality “particularly between girls and boys and between women and girls”, including those who are vulnerable and disadvantaged, and that it should “embrace and enrich, as well as draw inspiration from religions, cultures and traditions and taking into account economic, social and cultural circumstances.

 

6. Article 6 encourages the use of new information and communication technologies as well as the media. It specifically refers to encouraging the arts in HRET.

 

7. Article 7 emphasizes that States, where appropriate, though Government authorities are primarily responsible for HRET. They should also provide a “safe and enabling environment” to allow civil society, the private sector etc to be involved in HRET, and within their available resources should ensure the progressive implementation of HRET. State officials and civil servants should also receive adequate training in human rights and, where appropriate, international humanitarian and criminal law, as well as teachers and other educators.

 

8. Article 8 calls on States to develop or promote strategies, policies, action plans and programmes to implement HRET through, for example, school and training curricula. The World Programme for Human Rights Education and national and local needs and priorities should be taken into account.

 

9. Article 9 says States should promote the strengthening of human rights institutions in compliance with the Paris Principles, recognizing the role of human rights institutions.

 

10. Article 10 recognizes the role played by educational institutions, the media, families, local committees, civil society institutions including NGOs, human rights defenders and others in promoting and providing HRET. Civil society institutions, the private sector and others are encouraged to ensure that their staff is trained in HRET.

 

11. Article 11 calls on the UN and international and regional organizations to provide HRET for their civil, military and police personnel.

 

12. Article 12 states that international cooperation should support national and local efforts to promote HRET. In addition, voluntary funding for projects should be encouraged.

 

13. Article 13 calls on international and regional human rights mechanisms to take HRET into account in their work and encourages States to include information in measures they have adopted on HRET in reports to human rights mechanisms, where relevant.

 

14. Article 14 urges States to take appropriate measures to ensure the effective implementation and follow up of the Declaration, making the necessary resources available.

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