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2015 marks the international community’s focus on human rights training of media professionals and journalists

GENEVA (4 February 2015) – Human rights training of media professionals and journalists is the main focus of the third phase of the World Programme for Human Rights Education, a global collective framework for national action adopted by all UN Member States at the UN General Assembly in 2004.

The Human Rights Council, in September 2014, decided to focus the 5-year period starting on January 2015 on the contribution of media professionals and journalists to the realization of human rights. The Plan of Action for the third phase of the World Programme emphasises that human rights training should infuse related education and training policies and practices. It also stresses that media professionals can effectively perform their functions only if access to information, freedom of expression and the safety of journalists are protected; it therefore also calls for laws, policies and enforcement mechanisms to ensure an enabling environment for media professionals to carry out their professional roles.

Speaking at a conference on Education For Peace, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein commented last month that the World Programme for Human Rights Education represents the belief of “all UN Member States … in the centrality of human rights education as a long-term strategy for the prevention of human rights violations and conflicts; for the promotion of equality and sustainable development; and to enhance people’s participation in decision-making processes.”

Still, Zeid added, “international programmes can only support – and not substitute for – committed, vigorous and concerted national action. I appeal to all Member States to continue, consolidate and strengthen their human rights education work, including in the context of the World Programme. Human rights education is an important investment in building just societies in which human rights are valued and respected.”

The World Programme for Human Rights Education is structured in consecutive phases that focus on specific target sectors. Within the current third phase (2015-2019), Member States are also encouraged to consolidate the work carried out during the previous two phases, which focused respectively on human rights education in school systems (2005-2009) and in higher education, for civil servants, law enforcement officials and the military (2010-2014). OHCHR is currently leading the evaluation process of the second phase of the World Programme.

World Programme for Human Rights Education webpage: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Education/Training/Pages/Programme.aspx

For further information, please write to wphre@ohchr.org.