What is Human Rights Education?
In 1993 the World Conference on Human Rights declared human rights education as ‘essential for the promotion and achievement of stable and harmonious relations among communities and for fostering mutual understanding, tolerance and peace.’ Human Rights has been defined by the Council of Europe as ‘educational programmes and activities that focus on promoting equality in human dignity, in conjunction with other programmes such as those promoting intercultural learning, participation and empowerment of minorities.’ Amnesty International underlines that ‘human rights education is fundamental for addressing the underlying causes of human rights violations, preventing human rights abuses, combating discrimination, promoting equality, and enhancing people’s participation in democratic decision-making processes.’ Human Rights Education is thereby a process in which people learn about their human rights and the rights of others within an interactive learning environment. It seeks to develop the knowledge, skills and attitudes necessary for the creation of a human rights culture.
In December 2011 the General Assembly adopted the UN Declaration on Human Rights Education and Training. The declaration recognises that ‘everyone has the right to know, seek and receive information about all human rights and fundamental freedoms and should have access to human rights education and training; and that ‘human rights education and training is essential for the promotion of universal respect for and observance of all human rights and fundamental freedoms for all, in accordance with the principles of the universality, indivisibility and interdependence of human rights.’