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New advanced studies courses on human rights in Bolivia and Kenya

Bolivia’s Plurinational School of Administration and Laikipia University in Nyahururu, Kenya, launched new human rights education programmes with the assistance of the UN Human Rights Office.

A Master’s Programme will train Bolivia’s current and future civil servants in human rights norms on the prevention of racism and all forms of discrimination. Participants will be able to challenge prejudice and develop more inclusive and non-discriminatory approaches to public sector work. 

This new course is part of Bolivia’s on-going efforts to address the deeply entrenched discrimination and racism that have affected indigenous peoples and Afro-Bolivians, that country’s most marginalized groups. Bolivia has also undertaken a number of political and social reforms to combat this scourge, including new rights for marginalized groups and prohibitions of racism in its new Constitution.

Felix Cárdenas, Vice-Minister of Decolonization, recognized that in many instances indigenous peoples and people of African descent are stigmatized by public authorities. “These are not only acts of racial discrimination but also incite the recurrence of such acts, resulting in the creation of a vicious circle which reinforce racist attitudes and prejudice in public institutions. We need to educate public officials at all levels in order to change these attitudes and behaviour. Education is a determining factor to prevent and combat the spread of racism.”

The Master’s course was developed in collaboration with Bolivia’s National Committee against Racism and all Forms of Discrimination, the Vice-Ministry of Decolonization and the UN Human Rights Office.

Laikipia University’s new common first year course on human rights for all its undergraduate students not only meets international human rights standards, but is also sensitive to peculiarities of Kenya’s legal system. The course aims to improve inculcate in future leaders the values, beliefs, attitudes and knowledge that will encourage them to uphold their own rights and those of others.

This pilot programme will gradually be introduced in five other Kenyan universities that approached the UN Human Rights Office for support in devising a course outline.

“Human Rights education contributes to promoting the dignity of all human beings and to building societies where human rights are valued and respected,” said the UN Resident Coordinator for Kenya, Nardos Bekele. “Taking cognisance of the fact that universities are fountains of knowledge and best suited as avenues for valued transformation of society, the United Nations System in Kenya commends Laikipia University for accepting to revise its curriculum in order to inculcate in its students the values and principles of human rights underlined by the Kenyan 2010 Constitution.”

30 December 2013

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