Human Rights Education: to move forward
These recommendations were proposed by the NGO Working Group on Human Rights Education and Learning prior to the High-Level Panel Discussion on the 5th anniversary of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Education and Training at Human Rights Council last session.
Focus on implementation of human rights education within ot her global education initiatives such as Education First or GCED. All these programs and initiatives are excellent tools but they also bring challenges, including clarification of each vis-à-vis the other and the necessary coordination between them. It is essential to clarify the linkages between human rights education and these initiatives so as to both avoid misunderstandings and allow better implementation without loss of energy, time and resources. Human rights education is part of international law, the UN Declaration of HRET has already defined it clearly. It is different though from civic education, from moral education or from citizenship education, among others.
Create an international entity or reinforce an existing structure, dedicated to stronger synergy among initiatives of UN agencies, intergovernmental entities and governments. Article 12.1 and article 12.2 of the UN Declaration on HRET stress the importance of international cooperation and complementary and coordinated efforts at all levels in order to contribute to more effective implementation of human rights education. The proliferation of initiatives and programs require coordination, especially at international level.
Include human rights education in all States reports to United Nations human rights treaty bodies and the United Nations agencies. As stated in article 13.1 of the UN Declaration on HRET, international and regional human rights mechanisms should, within their respective mandates, take into account human rights education and training in their work. Review and monitoring at the national level will in many cases be the most important way to ensure that a State is meeting its obligations. We hope that the high-level panel discussion will be an opportunity to remind heads of State and governments of their commitments to engage in systematic implementation and review of human rights education.
Budget and allocate resources. The UN Declaration in its article 14 stresses the importance for States to make the necessary resources available as part of the appropriate measures to ensure the effective implementation of and follow-up to the Declaration. It is time to budget specific resources for implementing human rights education and we would like to see a transparent process in which a percentage of the GDP is specifically devoted to Human Rights Education and Training, including financing civil society research work on good practices, initiatives and programs.
Recognize and support the role of civil society. The UN Declaration on HRET in its Article 8.2 states that the conception, implementation and evaluation of and follow-up to such strategies, action plans, policies and programs should involve all relevant stakeholders, including the private sector, civil society and national human rights institutions, by promoting, where appropriate, multi-stakeholder initiatives.
Indeed, NGOs, in close collaboration with other actors, can support governments not only in promoting and providing human rights education as stated in resolution HRC/31/l.12 but also at all other stages, including the elaboration and monitoring of the national strategy. Our NGO Working Group remains committed to working in this direction and also to facilitate information sharing at all levels by identifying, collecting and disseminating information on good practices.
Claire de Lavernette, Chair Working Group