"Human rights are our common heritage and their realization depends on the contributions
that each and every one of us is willing to make, individually and collectively, now and in the future."

Louise Arbour
United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights


HUMAN RIGHTS DAY 2004 - Human Rights Education Key Messages


  • Human rights education is an important strategy for achieving several important ends notably empowerment, participation, transparency, accountability, the prevention of conflict, conflict resolution, peacemaking and peace-building and the more effective protection and realization of all human rights for all
  • Human rights education, training and public information are essential for the promotion and achievement of stable and harmonious relations among communities and for fostering mutual understanding, tolerance and peace
  • The international community has increasingly expressed a consensus that human rights education constitutes a fundamental contribution to the realization of human rights
  • Human rights education aims at developing an understanding of everybody’s common responsibility to make human rights a reality in each community and in the society at large
  • Human rights education contributes to the long-term prevention of human rights abuses and violent conflicts, to the promotion of equality and sustainable development and the enhancement of people’s participation in decision-making processes within democratic system (as stated in resolution 2004/71 of the CHR)
  • Human rights can only be achieved through an informed and continued demand by people for their own protection.
  • Human rights promote values, beliefs and attitudes that encourage all individuals to uphold their own rights and those of others. It develops an understanding of everyone's common responsibility to make human rights a reality in each community.
  • Human rights education constitutes an essential contribution to the long-term prevention of human rights abuses and represents an important investment in the endeavour to achieve a just society in which all human rights of all people are valued and respected
  • Provisions on human rights education have been incorporated in many international instruments including:

    Universal Declaration of Human Rights (art 26)

    International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (art. 13)

    Convention on the Rights of the Child (art. 29)

    Convention on the Elimination of All Form of Discrimination against Women (art. 10)

    International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (art.7)

    Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action (Part 1, paras 33-34 and Part II, paras 78-82)

    Declaration and Programme of Action of the World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance (Paras 95-97 and Programme of Action paras 129-139)

  • Human Rights Education can be defined as education, training and information aiming at building a universal culture of human rights through the sharing of knowledge, imparting of skills and moulding of attitudes directed to:

    The strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms

    The full development of the human personality and the sense of its dignity

    The promotion of understanding, tolerance, gender equality and friendship among all nations, indigenous peoples and racial, national ,ethnic, religious and linguistic groups

    The enabling of all persons to participate effectively in a free and democratic society governed by the rule of law

    The building and maintenance of peace

    The promotion of people-centered sustainable development and social justice

  • Human rights education encompasses

    Knowledge and skills – learning about human rights and mechanisms for their protection, as well as acquiring skills to apply them in daily life

    Values, attitudes and behaviour – developing values and reinforcing attitudes and behaviour which uphold human rights

    Action – taking action to defend and promote human rights

  • Members states have adopted various specific international frameworks for action which encouraged the elaboration and implementation of comprehensive, effective and sustainable strategies for human rights education at the national level including

    World Public Information Campaign on Human Rights

    United Nations Decade for Human Rights Education 1995 – 2004 and its Plan of Action

    International Decade for a Culture of Peace and Non-Violence for the Children of the World (2001 – 2010)

  • A new world programme for human rights education will begin on 1 January 2005, and will be structured in consecutive phases, in order to further focus national human rights education efforts. The first phase (2205 -2007) will focus on primary and secondary school systems
  • By promoting a rights-based approach to education, human rights education enables the education system to fulfill its fundamental mission to secure quality
  • OHCHR is working to promote human rights education by:

    Developing human rights education and training materials;

    Supporting national efforts for human rights education in the context of its Technical Cooperation programme;

    Facilitating information-sharing, through international and regional seminars and Workshops and the development of educational resources;

    Supporting local efforts for human rights education through the Assisting Communities Together project, which provides financial assistance to human rights grass-roots initiatives