The World Programme for Human Rights Education (2005-ongoing)
The World Programme for Human Rights Education (2005-ongoing)The plan of Action of the World Programme for HumanRights Education was adopted by all Members States of theUnited States of the United Nations General Assembly on14 July 2005.It highlights key actions to be undertaken by ministries ofeducation and other school and civil society actorsworking in partnership to integrate human rightseducation effectively in the primary and secondaryschool systems.
The World Programme for Human Rights Education (2005-ongoing)Human rights education activities should convey fundamental humanrights principles, such as equality and non-discrimination, while affirmingtheir interdependence, indivisibility and universality. At the sametime, activities should be practical, relating human rights to learners’ real-life experience and enabling them to build on human rights principles found intheir own cultural context.Through such activities, learners are empowered to identify and addresstheir human rights needs and to seek solutions consistent with humanrights standards. Both what is trained and the way in which it is trainedshould reflect human rights values, encourage participation and foster alearning environment free from want and fear.
The Plan of Action: key elements • Educational policies • Policy implementation • The learning environment • Teaching and learning • Education and professional development of school personnelWhatever the status of human rights education or the situation or type ofeducation system, the development of human rights education should beon each country’s agenda. That is why each country should establishrealistic goals and means for action in accordance with nationalcontext, priorities and capacity.
Human Rights Topics1. Protecting life and the individual in society To establish a clear sense of humanity as a composite of individuals, the teacher can explore with students the concept of what being “human” means. This is a more sophisticated form of the activities in Chapter Two on confidence and respect. Human beings are social creatures; we have individual personalities, but we learn most things by living with others. Hence work about the individual is work about society too.
Human Rights Topics2. War, peace and human rights The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) was written in response to the devastating events of the Second World War. Since peace, disarmament, development and human rights are interrelated issues, a comprehensive approach to teaching for human rights is studying the international political and economic issues that would deepen students’ understanding of why peace is so hard to preserve. A study of developmental imbalances and ecological problems are also endemic; they are not only violent in themselves, but may contribute to sowing the seeds of war.
Human Rights Topics3. Freedom of thought, conscience, religion, o pinion and expression Freedom of thought, conscience, religion, opinion and expression is central to a human rights culture. The Convention on the Rights of the Child gives these rights to children based on their developing maturity, including the freedom to change religion or belief, to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.
Human Rights Topics4. The right to privacy Article 16 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child gives a child the right to protection from interference with privacy, family, home and correspondence and from libel or slander. However, like many other rights guaranteed to children in the Convention, the extent to which it can be exercised depends on the child’s evolving capacity.
Human Rights Topics5. The freedom to meet and take part in public affairs The freedom for communities’ members to meet together and organize their affairs make communal involvement very important, while its denial would deprive society of one of its richest resources: the skills and talents of its own people. To students, opportunities for community service outside the school can, for instance, become the basis for a lifelong contribution to social and political affairs.
Human Rights Topics6. Social and cultural well-being The Universal Declaration and the Convention on the Rights of the Child provide for people to rest, learn, worship as they choose, share freely in the cultural life of the community and develop their personalities to the full. Schools should give students access to the arts and sciences of their region and the world and foster respect for the child’s cultural identity, language and values, as well as those of others. Article 18 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child recognizes the joint primary responsibility of both parents for bringing up their children and article 20 provides for special protection for children without families, either in an alternative family or in an institution.
Human Rights Topics7. Discrimination No person is more of a human being than another and no person is less. Essentially we are all equal, and equally entitled to our human rights. Suggesting that one group is superior or inferior simply because of race, colour, sex, language, religion, political opinion or national or social origin, this is discrimination. No teacher can avoid the issue of discrimination. Human equality, and the life-chances and life-choices it promotes, does not just happen. It has to be taught, not least by exploring stereotyped attitudes and prejudices, by helping students to understand that they can be competent and caring, and by providing appropriate and accurate information.
Human Rights Topics8. The right to education Although everyone has the right to education, many never receive an education that fulfills article 29 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child and fosters “the development of the child’s personality, talents and mental and physical abilities to their fullest potential” (CRC, article 29.1). Millions of children never have the opportunity to attend school at all, with the consequent limitation for them to enjoy other human rights.
Human Rights Topics9. Development and the environment The issues of development, human rights and the environment are interdependent, since development is meant to be people-centred, participatory and environmentally sound. It involves not just economic growth, but equitable distribution, enhancement of people’s capabilities and widening of their choices. The right to development includes: full sovereignty over natural resources, self-determination, popular participation in development, equality of opportunity, the creation of favourable conditions for the enjoyment of other civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights.