Skip to main content

3. Guidelines for National Plans of Action for Human Rights Education (1997)

Navigation Blocks

Human Rights Education and Training

Select Select
Navigation Blocks

Human Rights Education and Training

(A/52/469/Add.1 and A/52/469/Add.1/Corr.1, 20 October 1997 and 27 March 1998)



1. The present "Guidelines for National Plans of Action for Human Rights Education" have been developed by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in the framework of the United Nations Decade for Human Rights Education (1995 2004). The Guidelines are intended to assist States in responding to several resolutions of both the General Assembly and the Commission on Human Rights, in which States were called upon to develop national plans of action for human rights education. [1]

2. In its resolution 49/184 proclaiming the Decade for Human Rights Education, the General Assembly welcomed a related Plan of Action submitted to the Assembly by the Secretary-General, and requested the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to coordinate its implementation. The final version of the Plan of Action (see A/51/506/Add.1, appendix) seeks to stimulate and support national and local activities and initiatives. It is built upon the idea of a partnership between Governments, intergovernmental organizations, non governmental organizations (NGOs), professional associations, individuals and large segments of civil society.

3. The Plan of Action has five objectives:

(a) The assessment of needs and formulation of strategies;

(b) Building and strengthening human rights education programmes at the international, regional, national and local levels;

(c) Developing educational materials;

(d) Strengthening the role of mass media;

(e) Global dissemination of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

4. With regard to the building and strengthening of human rights education programmes at the national and local levels, Member States are urged to establish a national committee for human rights education and to draw up a national plan of action.

5. Since governmental and non-governmental organizations and individuals have important roles to play in ensuring that human rights are respected, national human rights education strategies and plans of action should be developed and implemented by a creative mixture of all of such entities. These Guidelines are not intended as a blueprint for a nationally coordinated effort in human rights education. Rather, they aim at providing concrete suggestions for developing and implementing a comprehensive (in terms of outreach), effective (in terms of educational strategies) and sustainable (over the long term) national plan of action.

6. In those countries with a federal system, plans of action may be developed at both the federal and state/provincial levels. Therefore, "national plan", as used in this document, may refer to state/provincial plans as well.

7. The Guidelines are structured in the following sections:

(a) Introduction;

(b) Principles governing a national plan of action for human rights education;

(c) Steps towards a national plan of action for human rights education.

8. The preparation of the Guidelines has benefited from the valuable input of several experts and practitioners in the area of human rights education, including Mr. Carlos Basombrio, Mr. Clarence J. Dias, Mr. Frej Fenniche, Ms. Nancy Flowers, Mr. Chris Madiba, Mr. Abraham Magendzo, Mr. Vitit Muntarbhorn, Mr. Marek Nowicki, Mr. Ralph Pettman, Ms. Magda Seydegardt, Ms. Cristina Sganga, Ms. Felisa Tibbitts, Mr. David Weissbrodt and Ms. Louisa Zondo. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the Council of Europe also participated in the process of discussing and drafting the Guidelines.

9. Three complementary documents to these Guidelines have also been prepared and will be made available by the OHCHR:

(a) Human Rights Education Programming, a paper which includes ideas and suggestions for the implementation of targeted human rights education programmes regarding (i) public awareness; (ii) the schooling sector; (iii) other priority groups, and a resource guide to assist in programme implementation;

(b) The Right to Human Rights Education, a compilation of full texts/excerpts of international instruments pertaining to human rights education;

(c) Human Rights Trainers Guide, a methodological approach to the human rights training of professional groups.


A. Definition of human rights education

10.  References to the concept of education in and for human rights appear in a number of international human rights instruments, including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (art. 26), the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (art. 13), the Convention on the Rights of the Child (art. 29), and, most recently, the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action (sect. D, paras. 78-82). Taken together, these instruments provide a clear definition of the concept of human rights education as agreed by the international community.

11. In accordance with those provisions, and for the purposes of the Decade, human rights education may be defined as training, dissemination and information efforts aimed at the building of a universal culture of human rights through the imparting of knowledge and skills and the moulding of attitudes, which are directed towards:

(a) The strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms;

(b) The full development of the human personality and the sense of its dignity;

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

(d) The enabling of all persons to participate effectively in a free society;

(e) The furtherance of the activities of the United Nations for the maintenance of peace (see A/51/506/Add.1, appendix, para. 2).

B. Why human rights education?

12. There is growing consensus that education in and for human rights is essential and can contribute to both the reduction of human rights violations and the building of free, just and peaceful societies. Human rights education is also increasingly recognized as an effective strategy to prevent human rights abuses.

13. Human rights are promoted through three dimensions of education campaigns:

(a) Knowledge: provision of information about human rights and mechanisms for their protection;

(b) Values, beliefs and attitudes: promotion of a human rights culture through the development of values, beliefs and attitudes which uphold human rights;

(c) Action: encouragement to take action to defend human rights and prevent human rights abuses.

C. Why national plans of action for human rights education?

14. National plans serve to:

(a) Establish or strengthen national and local human rights institutions and organizations;

(b) Initiate steps towards national programmes for the promotion and protection of human rights, as recommended by the World Conference on Human Rights;

(c) Prevent human rights violations that result in ruinous human, social, cultural, environmental and economic costs;

(d) Identify those people in society who are presently deprived of their full human rights and ensure that effective steps are taken to redress their situation;

(e) Enable a comprehensive response to rapid social and economic changes that might otherwise result in chaos and dislocation;

(f) Promote diversity of sources, approaches, methodologies and institutions in the field of human rights education;

(g) Enhance opportunities for cooperation in human rights education activities among government agencies, non-governmental organizations, professional groups and other institutions of civil society;

(h) Emphasize the role of human rights in national development;

(i) Help Governments meet their prior commitments to human rights education under international instruments and programmes, including the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action (1993) and the United Nations Decade for Human Rights Education (1995-2004)

D. Why guidelines for national plans of action?

15. The Guidelines are intended to:

(a) Promote a common understanding of the purposes and content of human rights education and the Decade;

(b) Highlight minimum standards for human rights education;

(c) Identify processes/steps needed to design, implement, evaluate and redesign a national plan for human rights education;

(d) Draw attention to the human, financial and technical resources needed to adopt a national approach to human rights education;

(e) Encourage effective interaction between national and international human rights institutions and organizations and promote the implementation of international human rights standards at the national level;

(f) Provide mechanisms for setting reasonable human rights education goals and measuring their achievement.


A. General principles

16. Education in and for human rights is a fundamental human right. Governments should develop national plans that:

(a) Promote respect for and protection of all human rights through educational activities for all members of society;

(b) Promote the interdependence, indivisibility and universality of human rights, including civil, cultural, economic, political and social rights and the right to development;

(c) Integrate women's rights as human rights in all aspects of the national plan;

(d) Recognize the importance of human rights education for democracy, sustainable development, the rule of law, the environment and peace;

(e) Recognize the role of human rights education as a strategy for the prevention of human rights violations;

(f) Encourage analysis of chronic and emerging human rights problems, which would lead to solutions consistent with human rights standards;

(g) Foster knowledge of and skills to use global, regional, national and local human rights instruments and mechanisms for the protection of human rights;

(h) Empower communities and individuals to identify their human rights needs and to ensure that they are met;

(i) Develop pedagogies that include knowledge, critical analysis and skills for action furthering human rights;

(j) Promote research and the development of educational materials to sustain these general principles;

(k) Foster learning environments free from want and fear that encourage participation, enjoyment of human rights and the full development of the human personality.

B. Organizational and operational principles

17. All procedures and practices for the elaboration, implementation and evaluation of the national plan should guarantee (a) the pluralistic representation of society (including NGOs); (b) transparency of operation; (c) public accountability; and (d) democratic participation.

18. All government authorities should respect the independence and autonomy of the various organizations in the implementation of the national plan.

C. Principles for educational activities

19. All educational activities conducted under the national plan must foster:

(a) Respect for and appreciation of differences and opposition to discrimination on the basis of race, national or ethnic origin, gender, religion, age, social, physical or mental condition, language, sexual orientation etc;

(b) Non-discriminatory language and conduct;

(c) Respect for and appreciation of diversity of opinions;

(d) Participatory teaching and learning;

(e) "Translation" of human rights norms into the conduct of daily life;

(f) Professional training of trainers;

(g) Development and strengthening of national capacities and expertise for the effective implementation of the plan.


A. Step 1: establishing a national committee for human rights education


20. A national committee should be established in each country, according to national conditions and should include representatives of appropriate government agencies and non governmental organizations with experience in human rights and human rights education or with the potential to develop such programmes (see box).


The members of the national committee should include institutions, organizations and individuals that intend to work in accordance with the purposes and principles of the United Nations, including the principles on which the Decade is based. A sample list might include, inter alia:

Representatives of national/local bodies, such as:

  • government representatives (which would then liaise with relevant ministries);
  • the national commission for UNESCO and other similar national agencies (in Europe, for instance, the Information and Documentation Centres on the Council of Europe);
  • independent human rights national institutions (human rights commissions and/or ombudsmen);
  • national human rights resource and training centres;
  • national/local human rights groups/organizations, including, for example, national committees for UNICEF, and other community-based organizations, including women's and social justice groups;
  • national chapters of international human rights non-governmental organizations, including, for example, national United Nations associations;
  • representatives from parliament (in particular, from the education, human rights and development committees);
  • key representatives of civil society, including trade and professional unions;
  • representatives from the judiciary;
  • business community;
  • teachers' associations/unions;
  • cultural/social and community leaders;
  • youth organizations;
  • minority groups;
  • educators and university scholars;
  • media representatives.

Observers may, as appropriate, be invited, such as national representatives/ offices of international agencies present in the country, including, inter alia:

  • the United Nations resident coordinator (who often is the United Nations Development Programme resident representative);
  • the United Nations information centre or service;
  • the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) national delegation;
  • the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights field presence;
  • the office of regional intergovernmental organizations (Organization of African Unity, Organization of American States, Council of Europe, Commonwealth, Francophonie, etc.).

21. The initiative for forming the national committee should be taken by the appropriate branch or agency of the Government. In this respect, the Government should respond to relevant initiatives from a national human rights commission, similar national institution or non-governmental organization.

22. The first step in establishing a national committee could be through the selection of a temporary liaison officer or convener for the purpose of establishing the committee. At this stage, it is important that efforts be made to embrace in the committee at least all institutions and organizations already significantly active in the area of human rights education. The Government should notify the OHCHR when the national committee is convened.


23. The committee should be directly responsible for the development of the national plan, including (a) the commissioning/conduct of the baseline study (step 2); (b) the formulation of a comprehensive national plan of action, including identifying objectives, strategies, programmes and financing (steps 3 and 4); (c) the facilitation of the implementation of the national plan (step 5); and (d) the periodic evaluation, review and follow-up of programmes and the achievements of national goals (step 6).

24. With regard to the international level, the committee should remain in contact with regional and international bodies involved in implementing the objectives of the Decade and should channel international and regional inputs, information and support to the local and grass-roots levels. The Committee should also report periodically to the OHCHR on needs, proposals and progress made towards the realization of the goals of the Decade, so that this information can be included in the High Commissioner's reports on the implementation of the United Nations Plan of Action for the Decade and can constitute a basis for further action.

Methods of work

25. A coordinator should be elected by the committee, who may be guided by a small representative advisory board. A secretariat could be established, eventually within one of the member organizations of the committee.

26. The committee should operate with a free exchange of views and information, in an atmosphere of trust and collaborative interest in seeing that a comprehensive, intersectoral and multidisciplinary strategy for human rights education can take place in the country.

27. Procedures for decision-making, as well as for requesting, receiving, reviewing and discussing the contributions of concerned individuals, groups and organizations should be developed at an early stage. 


28. Where not already existing, a national committee should preferably be established at the beginning of 1998, the year of the fiftieth anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It should work at least for the period of the Decade (1995-2004).

B. Step 2: conducting a baseline study


29. If it has already not been undertaken, a baseline study or needs assessment will be a critical aid in determining the more pressing local and national needs.

30. Accordingly, once the committee is constituted, one of its early activities should be to conduct or commission a systematic study about the state of human rights education in the country, including the areas where human rights challenges are greatest, the available level of support and the extent to which the basic elements of a national strategy are already in place. This inquiry and any subsequent activities will require that the committee have a clear understanding about what constitutes human rights education.


31. The study might deal with present activities, needs and human and institutional resources for human rights education, including such basic issues as:

(a) Existing programmes for human rights education (for the general public, formal schooling sectors and specific groups);

(b) Existing curricula for human rights and democracy issues at all levels of education;

(c) Current activities of governmental and non-governmental agencies active in human rights education;

(d) Existence of legal norms concerning the promotion of human rights and their implementation;

(e) Availability of key human rights documents in national and local languages as well as in simplified language form;

(f) Availability of other materials, both textual and other, for use in human rights education and their accessibility;

(g) Overall level of organizational and financial support for human rights education, including institutions and individuals most likely to assist in this area;

(h) Existence of national development plans and other relevant national plans of action already defined (general human rights plans of action or those for women, children, minorities or indigenous peoples);

(i) Obstacles to human rights education that should be overcome;

(j) An overall needs assessment for human rights education, including identification of human rights problems in the country and consequently emerging priority groups in need of human rights education.

32. The study might also include (a) knowledge about human rights among the general population, as well as potential target groups; (b) social, political and economic conditions relevant to human rights education; (c) human rights educational access for marginalized groups; and (d) treatment of human rights issues by the mass media (including television, radio, newspapers and popular magazines).


33. To be the basis for the development of the national plan of action, this baseline study must be seen as legitimate, credible and objective. This question of legitimacy extends to the organization(s) commissioned to conduct the study, as well as the data collection methods themselves.

34. The study can be undertaken through the distribution of questionnaires, [2] through interviews and collection/reviewing of materials. Information can also be obtained through the canvassing of existing groups, many of whom may already be on the national committee. A bottom-up approach for the assessment of needs should be encouraged, i.e., a participatory approach at the grass-roots level. Local seminars and workshops among basic educators in the rural areas, for example, or the participation of representatives of NGOs working in those areas could be a way of assessing needs as widely as possible.

35. Also, the study should review State reports to the United Nations treaty bodies on the implementation of human rights education provisions of international instruments [3] as well as the observations and recommendations made by those bodies in this regard. National reports elaborated in accordance with other international or regional monitoring procedures should also be reviewed.

36. The study should identify and make recommendations on high-priority groups in need of human rights education, proposed programme areas to address gaps in programme coverage and suggestions for improving the human rights education activities of existing groups.

37. The study must be made public and be widely disseminated and could have attached a useful annex of addresses of all national and local institutes and governmental and non-governmental agencies dealing with human rights education that may be contacted and may provide materials for further development of programmes. [4]

C. Step 3: setting priorities and identifying groups in need

38. Priorities in human rights education will need to be established for the short, medium and long term on the basis of the findings of the baseline study. These priorities might be set on the basis of the most pressing needs (for example, among groups that are clearly in need of human rights education) and on the basis of the opportunity (for example, if certain groups or institutions have requested assistance in setting up human rights education programmes).

39. Groups in need of human rights education may include:

(a) Administration of justice officials: (i) law enforcement personnel, including police; (ii) prison officials; and (iii) judges and prosecutors;

(b) Other government and legislative officials: (i) members of the legislature; (ii) public officials involved in drafting legislation, developing and implementing policy; (iii) the military and other security forces; and (iv) immigration and border officials;

(c) Key professional groups: (i) teachers and curriculum developers; (ii) social workers; (iii) the medical profession; (iv) the media and journalists; and (v) the legal profession;

(d) Organizations and groups: (i) women's organizations; (ii) indigenous peoples; (iii) minority groups; (iv) trade unions; (v) development agencies (vi) business community; (vii) workers' and employers' organizations; (viii) community leaders; (ix) groups with a special interest in social justice issues; and (x) religious leaders;

(e) Schooling sectors: (i) children; (ii) youth; and (iii) professional trainees;

(f) Others: (i) refugees and displaced persons; (ii) rural and urban poor, especially women; (iii) migrant workers; (iv) other vulnerable people, such as people with HIV/AIDS infection, disabled persons, persons in extreme poverty, the aged; (v) prisoners and others under detention; and the (vi) general public.

D. Step 4: developing the national plan


40. In response to the needs identified in the baseline study and to the national context, a national plan of action should include a comprehensive set of objectives, strategies and programmes for human rights education and evaluation mechanisms.

41. Accordingly, the plan of action should include the following components:

(a) An affirmation of the overall goals or objectives for human rights education in the country (on the basis of a clear definition of human rights education, as contained in international instruments);

(b) Strategies for reaching the general public, formal schooling sectors and special target groups;

(c) Programmes for the realization of these strategies, composed of specific activities;

(d) Short-, medium- and long-term steps for carrying out the Plan;

(e) Realistic identified results to be achieved and criteria for monitoring/evaluating;

(f) Special opportunities for human rights education;

(g) The role of the National Committee in the implementation of the Plan;

(h) Mechanisms for individuals and groups to contact the Committee and become part of the national human rights education effort;

(i) Contact information for key local human rights education organizations. [5]


42. The objectives of the national plan should be consistent with the principles outlined in section II above.


43. A comprehensive national strategy for human rights education should include (a) a general public awareness campaign; (b) the infusion of human rights themes into all levels of formal schooling; and (c) an educational effort customized for specific groups in need of human rights education.

44. The national plan of action should constitute an integral part of the national development plan and be complementary to other relevant national plans of action already defined (general human rights plans of action or those relating to women, children, minorities, indigenous peoples, etc.).


45. The national plan of action should include a national-specific framework for implementing and monitoring human rights education programmes. With regard to existing programmes for human rights education, the plan could indicate how those programmes should be strengthened or reformulated. Also, the plan should aim at strengthening local programmes and capacities.

46. The following types of activities and approaches could constitute courses of action in support of the attainment of national strategy goals:

(a) Networking support: building practical relationships/networks among individuals, groups and institutions; promotion of meetings and collaborations; and identification and sharing of useful resources and experiences among those conducting human rights education. A general principle for the involvement of organizations is that their complementarity should be promoted;

(b) Institutional/organizational support: identification, support and, if necessary, establishment of individual institutions or agencies, as well as coalitions of such organizations, to promote and coordinate human rights education training, materials development and other means of education. This course of action should include the establishment (or strengthening) of a publicly accessible national human rights resource and training centre to support the work of the national committee (see A/51/506/Add.1, appendix, para. 61). The centre should be able to offer technical assistance (for example, in the form of publications, training materials and roster of national trainers, experts and institutions) to those interested in implementing human rights education programmes. Where such a centre is already existing, its work should be evaluated. Where not already established or where an existing centre is not effective for the purposes of the Decade, it could be set up, according to national conditions, for instance in the framework of a university or a national institution (such as a human rights commission or an ombudsman's office). A new organization might also be established by the committee in cases where there is no obvious vehicle for the delivery of human rights education programming;

(c) Integration of human rights education into all levels of formal education: after a thorough revision of existing programmes and curricula, key human rights themes and topics should be included in professional and technical training programmes and in professional codes of conduct or operating procedures, as well as at the pre-school and primary, secondary, university and other institutions of higher learning levels of education;

(d) Education of groups in need: development and maintenance of comprehensive training programmes for the various groups in need of human rights education, including vulnerable groups, groups which are more likely to affect human rights advocacy, and influential persons/groups in the society in order to promote awareness of sectoral-based human rights challenges and actions to enhance human rights practices;

(e) Public awareness campaign: undertaking of activities to increase public and professional access to and awareness of international human rights standards, of local, national and international mechanisms of protection and of human rights conditions locally, nationally and internationally, through the mass media, informal education techniques and existing agencies and non-governmental networks;

(f) Production and revision of materials: development of national language/simplified versions of key international human rights documents and human rights training materials, for all levels of literacy and for persons with disabilities; and revisions of educational materials to bring their content in line with international human rights standards;

(g) Research and evaluation: facilitation of research into and evaluation of human rights education programming in order to foster its improvement and share experience of what is effective;

(h) Legislative reform: promoting reform in relevant public policy sectors, including reviewing existing and proposed legislation and elaborating new legislation (for instance, the incorporation of human rights in the educational curricula at all levels of the formal educational system could probably entail legislative or policy action, such as changes in licensing requirements for teachers).


47. A financial strategy for the national plan should be developed. Funding could be raised at the local, regional, national and international level. Consideration could be given to the establishment of a national fund.

48. The development of a national plan of action should be linked to a corresponding policy declaration and the freeing up of resources to help realize the programme goals. In this regard, the committee should make as much use as possible of institutional, human and financial resources already available, according to national conditions, by reorienting available resources for national programmes. Additional resources could be sought from the private sector and donor agencies.

49. Once the plan has been elaborated through a process of broad consultation, an immediate task of the committee should be to identify organizations and ways that can help in its realization. Partnerships with and between human rights groups and university faculties, trade unions, government agencies and other non-governmental organizations should be established.

E. Step 5: implementing the national plan

50. Effective implementation is essential for the credibility of the national plan. The plan should bear in mind the possibility of a variety of inputs in federal systems and the relevance of the regional and local levels.

51. Implementation is linked to a number of measures including responsive policies, law, mechanisms and resources (human, financial, information and technological), and may vary from country to country. However, in each country implementation should be based on the principles covered in section II above.

 F. Step 6: reviewing and revising the national plan

52. The plan should be reviewed periodically and revised as necessary to ensure effective responses to the needs identified by the baseline study. It is recommended that periodic reviews, through the participation of independent evaluators, be organized by the committee, the first to take place one year after the initiation of the plan of action, and thereafter periodically. These reviews would ideally involve self-evaluation and independent evaluations. They would be a learning tool for understanding the strengths and weaknesses in the design and implementation of existing programming, and for making revisions as necessary with effective follow-up.

53. Conditions vary greatly within countries regarding data, human and financial resources available for evaluation. Moreover, the methods chosen must be appropriate to local cultures. But it is always possible to build an evaluation component into educational activities, especially at the time they are taking place. Evaluating comprehension can be very different from evaluating attitudinal change or skills development. The more participatory the methodology used for human rights education, the more effective is likely to be the evaluation.

54. Clearly, each national programme will need to devise its own plans for evaluation. What follows is intended to be purely suggestive of some of the issues and questions involved.

55. National evaluations should examine, at a minimum, three areas: (a) the national plan of action; (b) programme implementation; and (c) the functioning of the national committee.

National plan of action

56. Are the objectives contained in the national plan of action being met:

(a) In terms of programme coverage? Data source: contrast objectives in the National Plan with current human rights education programming;

(b) In terms of programme effectiveness (within the sectors of public awareness; education in the primary, secondary, university and professional/technical educational levels; education of groups in need)? Possible indicators: see "Programme implementation" below.

57. Have there been any developments in the human rights or human rights education fields, either locally, nationally or internationally, that would affect elements of the national plan of action, including the need to focus more or less on certain groups, or new opportunities for human rights education programming? Data sources: recent human rights reports, new national legislation or court decisions, new relationships with potential human rights education deliverers or collaborators, new communication technologies, local/ national/regional/international events that highlighted need for human rights education.

Programme implementation

58. For the various sectors of programming (e.g., public awareness campaigns, etc.), how are the programmes meeting the criteria of comprehensiveness (including non-discriminatory and affirmative action measures)?  Are the programmes having maximum outreach to target audiences and/or having outreach with a core group, which in turn, has leadership, visibility and motivation to influence others in their respective sector?

(a) First set of indicators: outreach mechanisms and numbers reached:

(i) Public outreach: print readership, television viewers, radio listeners (including articles, programming and ad campaigns), use of visuals such as posters and artistic programmes;

(ii) Outreach to key leadership in relation to the national plan of action, including possibly the media, educational authorities, governmental officials, social justice groups, trainers and so forth;

(iii) Sector-specific outreach: (1) written: readership of professional newspapers and magazines, dissemination of special information brochures, educational materials used in awareness and training; (2) oral: participants in awareness and educational/training activities; and (3) other: dissemination of visual materials such as posters, videos; 

(b) Second set of indicators: contrast numbers reached with total numbers desired;

(c) Third set of indicators: projection of further outreach based on future programming, relationship with key agencies.

59. For the various sectors of programming, are the programmes effective for educating learners in the knowledge/understanding, attitudes/values and skills/behaviour necessary to support national respect for and protection of human rights? Possible data sources: (a) pre- and post-surveys of programme participants on their knowledge about and attitudes towards human rights and related issues, including relevance to everyday life (if it is not feasible to survey all participants, could do a random sampling of those with exposure to human rights education, including use of control groups); (b) individual and focus group interviews with participants concerning their knowledge about and attitudes towards human rights, evaluation of the rights education programming they participated in, and any plans for application of human rights principles; and (c) longitudinal data collection on impact including follow-up surveys and interviews on above topics.

60. For the various sectors of programming, are the programmes sustainable?

(a) Can the human rights education programme strategies be sustained either through the direct continuation of programming and/or through the expertise catalysed by the original programme? (An example of the first are training activities conducted directly by staff; example of the second would be training activities conducted by those originally trained by staff);

(b) Has human rights education expertise been expanded? Possible indicators: future programme plans (including outreach numbers and techniques, funding sources), cadre of human rights education specialists that can be drawn upon for future programming, local spin-off programming, networking and coalitions with other groups;

(c) Have the programmes been institutionalized? Possible indicators: insertion of human rights in all teaching institutions' curricula and establishment and functioning of a national human rights resource and training centre.

National committee

61. How timely and effective has the national committee been in developing the national plan of action (including commissioning the baseline study and formulating national objectives, strategies and programme priorities)? Data sources: interviews with key members of the committee. Comparison between time-frame set (if available) and time-frame met.

62. How successful has the committee been in facilitating cooperative behaviour between government agencies, intergovernmental organizations, non-governmental organizations, professional associations, individuals and other civil society groups? Data sources: interviews with members of the national committee, leadership of cooperating agencies and leadership of non cooperating agencies.

63. How successful has the committee been in generating political and financial support for carrying out the national plan of action? Indicators: organizational representation from governmental and non-governmental organizations on the national committee itself; support and endorsement from key agencies for implementation of human rights education programming; funds or support in kind contributed from government sources, from donor agencies and from cooperating intergovernmental agencies and NGOs.


[1]  See General Assembly resolutions 49/184, 50/177 and 51/104; and Commission on Human Rights resolutions 1995/47 and 1996/44 and decision 1997/111.
[2]  A questionnaire developed by the OHCHR to conduct a survey of human rights programmes, materials and organizations at the national level is available and may be requested from the OHCHR.
[3]  Relevant United Nations treaty bodies include the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the Human Rights Committee, the Committee on the Rights of the Child, the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women and the Committee against Torture.
[4]  Inspiration for the content and methods of the baseline study was taken from the Italian example, as reported in A/51/506, para. 44 (e) and the Tunisian example, as reported in E/CN.4/1997/46, para. 23 (g).
[5]  An example of a comprehensive Plan of Action for Human Rights Education which has already been developed is the Philippine case, as reported in E/CN.4/1997/46. The Philippine Plan of Action, forwarded to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights by the Philippine Commission on Human Rights, "includes clear objectives, target audience (organized and unorganized elements of society), strategies (trainers' training, organization of networks, integration of human rights in all educational curricula, utilization of village-level officials to reach out to the community level, promotional campaigns including artistic and cultural activities, development of monitoring and evaluation systems, etc.) and programmes, including the creation of a human rights training, documentation and research centre (the Human Rights Academy). In the elaboration of the Plan, and in view of its implementation, the Commission has entered into a number of formal agreements with other national partners for human rights education, to define in detail specific areas of responsibility. These partners include: the Department of Interior and Local Government, the Liga NG MGA Barangay (an organization of barangay captains or village chiefs), the Department of Justice, the Department of National Defense, the Department of Education, Culture and Sports, the Commission on Higher Education and Amnesty International/Philippine Section" (E/CN.4/1997/46, para. 23.f).