Summary of national initiatives undertaken within the Decade for Human Rights Education (1995-2004)
This is a summary of information received by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) from Governments, concerning their activities in the framework of the Decade for Human Rights Education (1995-2004). The information is updated as of October 2003, and is included in related reports submitted by OHCHR to the United Nations General Assembly and Commission on Human Rights. National initiatives are presented by country, under five regions (Africa; Arab countries; Asia/Pacific; Europe and North America; Latin America and the Caribbean).
At the national level, the Decade's Plan of Action provides for the establishment, upon the initiative of Governments or other relevant institutions, of a national committee for human rights education. This committee should consist of a broad coalition of governmental and non-governmental actors and should be responsible 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 for human rights education, in consultation with regional and international organizations. Such a plan should constitute an integral part of the overall national plan of action for human rights, when applicable, or should be complementary to it. The call for the establishment of such plans has been reiterated both by the General Assembly and the Commission on Human Rights.
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Although a national committee for human rights education has not been established, since the beginning of the Decade the Ministry for Human Rights has increasingly worked on the sensitization of human rights issues in all socio-professional sectors. The Ministry has developed a plan of action, which forms part of an overall national plan. At the time of completion of the questionnaire, it was expected that the plan would be concluded during the summer of 2000.
Last information received on: 28 June 2000
Contact:Centre de Promotion des Droits de la Personne Humaine et de Prévention du Génocide (C.P.D.H.P.G.)Cameroon
An overall national action plan for human rights is currently being developed with the assistance of OHCHR. The Government is favourable for the integration of a national plan for human rights education and information into the overall national action plan for human rights.
Last information received on: 19 May 1999
Contact: Office of the Prime MinisterCape Verde
The Government requested technical assistance from OHCHR for the development of an overall national plan for human rights, which would include a national plan for human rights education and information.
Last information received on: 2 February 1999
Contact: Ministry of Justice and AdministrationCentral African Republic
The Ministry of Justice, in close cooperation with MINURCA, organized a national seminar on "The impact of human rights in the national reconstruction process" in May/June 1999. This project was elaborated with the view to adopt a national plan of action for human rights education and promotion. The seminar gathered more than 200 participants,who included Government Officials, and members of political parties, religious communities, NGOs and the civil society.
There is no national plan of action in operation, however OHCHR and the Human Rights Department of the Bureau des Nations Unies en Centrafrique (BONUCA) are working together on a plan which is expected to be completed in Jan/Feb 2001. The introduction of human rights education in schools coupled with the adoption of a national plan are the goals envisaged for the next five years of the Decade at the national level.
Since its creation in November 1999, the Human Rights High Commission has disseminated information and organized seminars directed at all classes of society.
A national committee has not been established, however there are plans to do so at the beginning of the academic year 2000/01.
Last information received on: 5 July 2000
Contact: Haut Commissariat à la Primature chargé des Droits de l'HommeChad
A national committee for human rights education was established on 8 May 1998, in accordance with decision number 002/PM/98. The Prime Minister acted on a proposal from the National Human Rights Committee (CNDH). The aforementioned decision did not determine the mandate of the committee, however it is anticipated that the following functions will be included:
the development of education in the human rights domain
the adoption of an educational system which embraces peace and democracy
to ensure that human rights concerns are promoted increasingly at all levels of society
the strengthening of cooperation between OHCHR, African Commission on Human Rights and Populations, the Human Rights Centre, as well as all institutions and intergovernmental organisations in the area of human rights
The committee is comprised of eleven members in total, with six representatives from the following human rights associations:
Ligue Tchadienne des droits de l`homme (LTDH)
The Chad Section of the International Observatory
Tchad non Violence
L'association jeunesse anti-clivage
The Chad Fundamental Rights Association
The Association for Defense and Promotion of Human Rights
and five representatives from the following ministerial departments:
Family and Social Affairs
A plan of action, which is expected to be completed in May 2001, is underway. The principal actors include the following institutions:
National Human Rights Committee
National Education Committee
Human Rights NGOs
The Plan of Action will aim to sensitize the population to human rights. It will also establish human rights education programmes in schools and promote democracy. Training for teachers and the increased use of didactical materials will be focus areas in the plan. The human rights education plan will be a component of a global action plan for Chad, which is not limited solely to human rights issues.
Technical assistance is being provided by OHCHR, UNESCO and the PNUD.
Last information received on: 7 July 2000
Contact: Cabinet du Premier MinistreComoros
Although there is no national committee in existence, decree No. 99-001/PM calls for the establishment of a human rights delegation. Neither a national plan of action nor a human rights committee for human rights education have been established. Comoros is not in receipt of technical assistance.
Last information received on: 21 June 2000
Contact: Secretary General of Comoros GovernmentEthiopia
The Government of Ethiopia reported on-going activities undertaken by different ministries. The Ministry of Justice, through its Legal Education and Training Department and Women's Affairs Department, promotes legal education, which includes a human rights component. This is accomplished through the use of the media (newspapers, radio and television), and the organization of training programmes for judges, public prosecutors and women's groups. The Ministry of Education undertook a revision of school curricula in order that principles of human rights are included.
The Government of Ethiopia also noted the complementary role played by civil society in raising human rights awareness.
The Government of Ethiopia underlined the need for United Nations technical assistance to better integrate human rights education in its programmes and activities.
Last information received on: July 2001
Contact: Permanent Mission of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, GenevaGhana
The Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice advised as to some of the existing activities in the area of human rights education, such as seminars and workshops for professional groups and a mass education campaign to reach out to communities. In addition, the Faculty of Law at the University of Ghana has offered a course in international human rights law since 1994.
The Commissioner acknowledged the need for technical assistance in carrying out broad human rights education programmes, including the creation of a national committee for human rights education, and the establishment of a human rights resource and training centre. He expressed interest in facilitating the creation of a national committee for human rights education, and the establishment of a human rights resource and training centre. Specific proposals were made in that regard.
Last information received on: 5 September 1997
Contact: Commission on Human Rights and Administrative JusticeLesotho
There is no national committee in existence and no plans have been made to establish such a committee.
The Human Rights Unit of the Ministry of Justice has been the key actor in human rights education at the national level. Since the beginning of the Decade, the Human Rights Unit has worked increasingly in this area, and launched a Human Rights and Democracy Programme with the Danish Centre for Human Rights (1995-1997).
Lesotho is not in receipt of technical assistance, however assistance is requested in the form of documentation regarding the development of a plan. Furthermore, it is proposed that a workshop be organized, at which an expert would assist in the construction of the plan.
Last information received on: 10 July 2000
Contact: Human Rights Unit / Ministry of Justice, Human Rights and RehabilitationMauritius
The Ministry of Education has set up a curriculum panel team to revise materials, on human values education, for use in schools. This involves working in close cooperation with a national non-governmental organization dealing with teacher training.
Last information received on: 11 August 1998
Contact: Ministry of Education and Scientific ResearchMozambique
UNESCO provides technical assistance in the production of teaching and learning materials, and teacher training. Moreover, human rights education is integrated into the school curricula.
The creation of a national committee and a national plan are objectives for the next five years of the Decade.
Last information received on: 11 October 2000
No contact details provided.Namibia
The Inter-Ministerial Technical Committee for Human Rights (IMTCHR), established in 1995 within the Ministry of Justice and composed by representatives of different ministries, has been developing a number of human rights training programmes for police, prison and military officials since 1997. In 1998, a series of human rights training workshops for key sectors (the private sector, parliamentarians, women's organizations, regional Governors and NGOs) were also organized. Furthermore, the Committee has been active in curriculum development within the school system; a regional project involving Zimbabwe and Mozambique.
These projects were organized with the support of international organizations, in particular OHCHR, UNESCO, the Red Cross and the Commonwealth, and through bilateral cooperation. In addition, a Human Rights Documentation Centre (HRDC) was established at the Faculty of Law of the University of Namibia, on the initiative of the Ministry of Justice. The HRDC is mandated to disseminate human rights information materials.
Two other bodies contribute to human rights education: in the first place, the Justice Training Centre (JTC), which is responsible for human rights training for magistrates, prosecutors, judges and related personnel; in the second, the Law Reform and Development Commission (LRDC), which is active in legal research and ensures that national law conforms to international human rights standards.
They reported on the establishment of a series of institutions charged with the promotion of human rights, including the Inter-Ministerial Technical Committee on Human Rights serviced by the Ministry of Justice, which comprises representatives of different ministries and which has organized training sessions for professional groups such as police, immigration officers, community leaders, judges and lawyers. The Human Rights Documentation Centre, located at the University of Namibia, disseminates human rights information materials; the Justice Training Centre is responsible for human rights training for magistrates, prosecutors, judges and related personnel; the Law Reform and Development Commission is active in legal research and ensures that national law conforms with international human rights standards.
Last information received on: 18 July 2002
Contact: Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Information and BroadcastingNigeria
The Government reported on the existence of a National Human Rights Commission, which is mandated to promote human rights education.
Last information received on: 10 September 1998
Contact: National Human Rights CommissionSouth Africa
The South African Human Rights Commission is promoting human rights education and is working on Decade-related issues with the Ministry of Education.
Last information received on: 4 May 1996
Contact: Human Rights CommissionSudan
A national focal point has been established. National committees for human rights education at the state level are to be established in 1996.
Last information received on: 8 July 1996
Contact: Consultative Council for Human Rights / Ministry of JusticeSyria
The Ministry of Education reported on work undertaken towards the integration of international humanitarian law into academic curricula as well as the future integration in school curricula, in cooperation with the International Committee of the Red Cross. Educational activities were also undertaken to foster religious tolerance in the formal education system.
Last information received on: 8 January 2003Tanzania
There is no national committee in existence, however there are plans to establish one during the year 2000/01.
A number of human rights agencies and the Permanent Commission of Enquiry have held responsibility at the national level for human rights education. Since the beginning of the Decade, the Tanzania Ombudsman Office has dealt to a greater degree with human rights issues. The Tanzania Ombudsman Office was established in 1966 by the government. It conducts enquiries into abuse of authority of office by public officials and submits recommendations to the president following assessment. It comprises of five members, a chairperson and four commissioners, who are appointed by the president. It has no NGO representatives.
The development of a human rights education plan before the end of the Decade is proposed.
Last information received on: 14 November 2000
Contact:Prime Minister OfficeZimbabwe
The Human Rights National Committee was set up by the Government in 1993, to serve as an advisor on human rights issues and to attend to Zimbabwe's obligations regarding international instruments to which the country is a party. The committee is composed of twenty members in total who represent various government ministries, departments and the Presidents office. The committee is chaired by the Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs. There are no NGO representatives on the committee, though NGOs often play a key role during workshops. The Inter-Ministerial committee is currently developing a national Plan of Action and it is envisaged that it will be completed by August 2002.
UNESCO is assisting the Ministry of Education, Sport and Culture with the development of curriculum materials and the integration of human rights and democracy in education.
Last information received on: 24 August 2000
Contact: Inter-Ministerial Committee on Human Rights and Humanitarian Law / Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs
ARAB COUNTRIES Algeria
The Government has nominated the National Observatory for Human Rights as the focal point for the Decade and has translated the Universal Declaration of Human Rights into local languages.
Last information received on: 22 September 1997
Contact:National Observatory of Human RightsEgypt
Following a National Conference on the Development of Primary-level Curricula in 1993 and of Preparatory-level Curricula in 1994, the Centre for the Development of Curricula and Teaching Materials began incorporating human rights, and in particular human rights and the prevention of discrimination, therights of the child, in these two levels of formal education. The approach chosen was the infusion of these issues in all school subjects and textbooks rather than the creation of separate classes. As a result of meetings organized with human rights specialists, the infusion is taking place through varying courses of action: the incorporation of human rights in all schoolbooks, and the development of accompanying fascicles for students, containing practical activities, and teaching manuals for teachers. In addition, training courses for teachers, relating to appropriate teaching strategies, have been organized. The Ministry of Education is currently planning to hold a conference on the development of Secondary-level Curricula, and preparatory studies are being conducted.
Last information received on: 1 July 2003
Contact: Permanent Mission of the Arab Republic of Egypt, GenevaJordan
The Ministry of Education informed that a series of laws have been passed over the period 1990-2001, focusing on the importance of creating a democratic and human rights climate in schools. Information on international and national human rights law has been incorporated into school curricula and textbooks; teaching materials, also addressing the issue of teaching methodologies, have been developed. Human rights awareness-raising programmes have been designed to promote the role of women leaders, the rights of the child and conflict resolution methodologies; in cooperation with the Royal Human Rights Committee, the Ministry has contributed to the training of administration of justice officials. In cooperation with the Mizan Institute, human rights and children's rights clubs have been set up in a number of Jordanian schools. Jordan is further planning to develop human rights training for educational managers, in cooperation with UNESCO, and to establish a human rights education and training centre.
Last information received on: 20 March 2003
Contact: Ministry of EducationLebanon
The 1997 Decree concerning pre-university educational curricula made provisions for a special national education and civics curricula within the school system. This provides for s human rights and human=extensive coverage of the rights of the child, women rights in general. The National Centre for Educational Research and Development has been publishing related textbooks since the 1998/1999 academic year.
Last information received on: 27 September 1999
Contact: National Centre for Educational Research and DevelopmentMorocco
The Government initiated in 1994 a partnership between the Ministry for Human Rights and the Ministry for Education with the aim to elaborate a National Programme for Human Rights Education. In this context, the following activities have been undertaken: revision of school textbooks to ensure accordance with human rights standards; training seminars for teachers and their supervisors; pilot-testing of the National Programme in both urban and rural areas of the country. Morocco further reported on the initiative to hold the first Arabic gathering on human rights education within the Decade, in cooperation with UNDP and UNESCO, which led to the adoption of the Rabat Declaration on the elaboration of a regional strategy for human rights education. In partnership with OHCHR, Morocco has also established a Human Rights Training, Information and Documentation Centre, which develops related materials and organizes training sessions for prison officials, judges, NGO leaders, etc. Close working relationships have been developed with international and national NGOs as well as similar centers abroad.
The Programme is at its dissemination and final phase, which aims at institutionalizing programmes and materials previously tested. In 2003 the Ministry of Human Rights has also been focussing on human rights education in prisons and for police officials (in cooperation with Amnesty International/Morocco) and on non-formal awareness programmes for NGOs and political parties.
Last information received on: 19 May 2003
Contact: Permanent Mission of The Kingdom of Morocco, GenevaPalestinian National Authority
In October 1997 Amnesty International in Gaza organized a workshop, which recommended the development of a national plan of action and the establishment of a national committee for Human Rights Education. A committee consisting of representatives of the Authority and NGOs has subsequently been launched.
Last information received on: 1997
Contact: Observer Mission of the Palestinian National Authority, GenevaTunisia
A National Commission for human rights education has been established. It is chaired by the Minister of Education and composed of representatives from the Higher Committee for Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, relevant non governmental organizations and associations, the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research, the Ministry of Youth and Childhood, the Ministry of Women and Family, the Ministry of Culture, the Ministry of Information, the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of the Interior and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The National Commission has prepared a preliminary report, outlining the status of human rights education in primary schools, secondary schools and higher education, and providing information on existing programmes of human rights training for professional groups (such as law enforcement agents, magistrates and lawyers). Further information has been provided in relation to programmes addressed to vulnerable groups (children, including juvenile offenders, women, people with disabilities, detainees) at professional training centres, including the creation of "human rights clubs" and "ecological clubs". Existing information relating to human rights amongst the general public, with an emphasis on the role of the media was also included.
A Human Rights Documentation, Publication, Research and Study Centre linked to the Higher Committee for Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms has also been established.
In relation to formal education, the Government reports that human rights education takes place through the integration of human rights concepts in related programmes and materials, the organization of specific events, and the revision and elimination, in textbooks, of stereotypes contrary to tolerance. Tunisia has also been promoting the re-valorization of the teaching profession as part of the 1989 education reform: human rights modules have been included in pre-service training for future teachers in all subjects, while in-service human rights training sessions are also organized.
Furthermore, the Government stressed the important role of the Arab Institute for Human Rights, based in Tunis, in the dissemination of a culture of human rights. This is accomplished through the organization of several national and regional seminars.
In conclusion, the Government illustrated its envisaged national strategy for human rights education, which includes close co-operation with United Nations agencies.
Last information received on: July 2002
Contact: Permanent Mission of Tunisia to the International Organizations
In December 1998, the Attorney General announced the establishment of a National Committee for Human Rights Education, which brings together the expertise of business, community organizations and the Government in an endeavour to enhance human rights education in Australia.
The Government provided seed funding for the Committee, whose work-plan includes: conducting a comprehensive audit of human rights education needs of the Australian Community; identifying and assessing current initiatives in human rights education; developing a national action plan for human rights education in Australia, focussing on priority needs; providing assistance in the development of comprehensive and effective human rights education programmes in priority areas, in consultation with education delivery agencies; developing effective communication strategies for human rights education; communicating with international agencies and counterparts in other countries to make available best techniques and resources; supporting human rights education initiatives addressing Asia-Pacific needs; developing effective partnerships between Government, business and community sectors; reviewing implementation and reporting progress. No national Plan of Action has been developed as of yet.
The National Committee on Human Rights Education, a cooperative venture among relevant governmental and non-governmental agencies as well as the business and community sectors, is the focal point for the Decade and is financially supported by the Government. In addition to the National Committee, State Committees on human rights education have been established in most Australian States and Territories. In August 2002, the National Committee organized a National Strategic Conference on Human Rights Education, which involved many sectors and produced recommendations for a coordinated national strategy. The Committee also designed the "Citizenship of Humanity" Project, which aims at sensitizing primary school students to the rights and values contained in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Human rights education is also a main focus of the work of the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission, the Australian's national human rights institution, which in 2001-2002 developed a human rights education programme for teachers of upper primary and secondary schools. The programme is composed of a series of cross-curricular (history, legal studies, religious studies, etc.) modules and other teaching materials (videos, worksheets, etc.). In addition, the Commission developed a specific portal on its website to help teachers and other partners in their related efforts. For this programme, the Commission received the 2002 "Award for Excellence in Educational Publishing" by "The Australian" newspaper. The Commission also runs, since 1999, a programme which brings together thousands of secondary school students and their teachers during a one-day workshop on human rights and responsibilities, in order to prevent discriminative behaviours; supporting materials are distributed during the seminars. Finally, the Commission has developed awareness raising activities in private companies to counteract sex- and race-related harassment. NGOs are involved or consulted in most of the above activities.
The Federal Government has also supported a series of educational programmes on democracy, multiculturalism, and prevention of racism targeting schools, higher education and adult community education. It has promoted human rights education in Asia by supporting training of administration of justice personnel, strengthening of legal institutions and treaty reporting training in China, Vietnam and Indonesia, as well as by providing significant funding to the Asia-Pacific Forum of National Human Rights Institutions.
Last information received on: 17 July 2003
Contact: Human Rights Branch / Commonwealth Attorney-General's DepartmentChina
The Government informed that human rights education is provided through legal education programmes for all citizens, focusing on the study the law and on how to apply it; in this regard, three 5-year plans have already been designed and implemented, reaching so far about 640 million people. As a result of these programmes, citizens are more familiar with the law and are increasingly using it for suing public officials, while the latter are more careful to act in accordance with the law.
In the formal education system, both moral and legal education are provided. Moral education focuses on issues such as love for the country and for life, respect for the elders and for the family, concern for the environment and for society, awareness of the moral standards of the society and willingness to abide by them, and a sense of discipline. Legal education focuses on fostering respect for the authority of constitutional law, development of awareness of democracy and the legal system, the lawful enjoyment of civil rights and the performance of civil obligations as set forth in the Constitution. Specially trained teachers deliver such courses, using specific textbooks and various methodologies; also, legal education is a compulsory subject in teacher training courses. Within universities, the subject of international law, as taught in law schools, includes human rights law; other university and college students undergo legal education programmes, also through out-of-school and community activities. Research on human rights and on human rights education is carried out in various universities.
Last information received: 8 July 2002
Contact: Permanent Mission of the People's Republic of China, GenevaFiji
The Government reported that the new Constitution (July 1998) provides for the establishment of a human rights commission, whose tasks include the promotion of human rights education.
Last information received on: 15 October 1998
Contact: Fiji National Human Rights Commission India
The Government of India has constituted a Coordination Committee, under the chairmanship of the Secretary, comprising of secretaries of other ministries and departments. The Committee requested the National Human Rights Commission to draft a national plan of action for human rights education. This task was accomplished in 2001, when the National Action Plan for Human Rights Education was finalized. The plan focuses on strategies for human rights awareness-raising and for sensitizing specific target groups (students, officers in the administration of justice, etc.). Civil society is involved in the implementation of human rights education programmes, as well as the National Human Rights Commission. The Government also reported on specific activities undertaken in the secondary and higher education sector, including the establishment of a curriculum revision committee to revise textbooks; the development of a number of training modules for teachers in English, Hindi and local languages by the National Council of Teacher Education; the provision of financial assistance, by the University Grants Commission, to universities and colleges for the development of specific courses in human rights. India further reported on a project to establish a national resource centre at the Indira Gandhi National Open University, which would include human rights materials, with a focus on educational tools
Last information received on: 23 May 2002
Contact: Permanent Mission of India to the United Nations OfficesIslamic Republic of Iran
In collaboration with UNDP and OHCHR, the Faculty of Law and Political Science of the University of Tehran is implementing a project for strengthening national capacities for human rights research and training, which will bring together faculty members, students and university graduates. It is expected that as a result of the project, a volume of literature on different crucial human rights subjects will be published.
In addition, the Government highlighted educational programmes carried out by NGOs (in particular, the Network of Women NGOs), the judiciary branch (which organized courses for lawyers and judges) and the Islamic Human Rights Commission (which organizes courses for various groups involved in law enforcement).
Last information received on: 25 August 1999
Contact: Mission of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the United Nations, GenevaJapan
The Headquarters for the Promotion of Human Rights Education was established in December 1995. In July 1997, a broad national plan of action for human rights education was released, which included the promotion of human rights education and training at all levels (school, general public, corporations and civil society movements, professionals), specific programmes for special groups (women, children, the aged, people with disabilities, people with HIV infection), and the promotion of international cooperation and other public information activities, such as symposia and conferences.
The Headquarters, which is Japan's national committee, is composed of a chairperson (the Prime Minister), a vice-chairperson (the Chief Cabinet Secretary), the Minister of Justice, the Minister for Foreign Affairs, the Minister of Education, Science, Sports and Culture, the Director General of the Management and Coordination Agency Members, the Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary, and administrative vice-ministers of all the ministries and agencies. The total number of members is 28. There are no NGO representatives on the committee as the objective of establishing committees under the Cabinet, is to encourage each of the administrative agencies to exercise their administrative functions and to promote certain measures in a coordinated manner.
Several non-governmental organizations, such as the International Movement Against All Forms of Discrimination and Racism/Japan Committee, the Buraku Liberation League, the National Dowa Educators Association, the Japan Teachers Union and the International Human Rights NGO network, have been actively involved in these initiatives. This includes the elaboration of the Plan, the organization of training programmes and symposia, and the production of publications.
The Ministerial Liaison Council for Training related to Human Rights Education was established in July 1998, to promote the exchange of information on training programmes and materials in related ministries and agencies.
In addition, major efforts are being undertaken at the prefectural level; 35 prefectures have established local task forces to pursue the Decade's objectives, and 26 have developed a local plan for human rights education. Municipal governments are also taking similar action.
In 2001, the National Plan was updated and evaluated by the Government. The Headquarters have promoted human rights education through different means and to different target groups. The latter include primary, junior high and high school students, as well as adults, companies and other societies and people engaged in specific occupations (such as lawyers, social workers and immigration officers). The means to carry out this plan include, apart of formal education, several training programmes, distribution of human rights education materials and other awareness-raising activities.
Last information received on: 6 March 2001
Contact: Permanent Mission of Japan to the International Organizations, GenevaNew Zealand
Since 1993, the New Zealand Human Rights Commission, as mandated in its statute, has been developing human rights education and awareness-raising programmes. Among its activities, the following have been reported:
preparation of educational materials for parliamentarians and distribution to each member of the Parliament (1996)
development, in consultation with the Ministry of Education and with Teachers'Associations, of training resource materials for schools on the prevention of sexual harassment, and related training (1996-1997)
publication of training resource materials for people with disabilities, in cooperation with the disability sector, and related training (1997-1998)
development, in cooperation with the Ministry of Education and UNICEF, of a human rights module for primary, intermediate and secondary schools (1998-1999)
In 1999, an agreement was signed with the New Zealand Association of Citizen's Advice Bureau, who maintains more than 90 offices on the national territory, providing each office with a human rights education presence.
In addition to the Commission, the Human Rights Unit of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade has been engaged in raising awareness of human rights issues in the country.
Last information received on: 6 September 1999
Contact: New Zealand Permanent Mission to the United Nations, Geneva Pakistan
Although a national committee has not been set up, plans are underway to do so.
The Human Rights wing of the Ministry of Law, Justice and Human Rights has been entrusted with the responsibility of Human Rights Education at the national level. The Human Rights wing has only recently been assigned this task, but has launched a human rights awareness campaign and held a Human Rights Convention in April 2000.
The Human Rights wing is currently preparing the national plan for human rights education and it will be finalized in a few months, upon the establishment of the national committee. The national Plan of Action will introduce the subject of human rights through curriculum development at school, college and university levels, and through extra curricular activities such as debates, essays, paintings, puppet shows, songs, stage plays, community service and linkages with under privileged school children.
In relation to technical assistance, UNESCO is providing printed material to approximately 300 schools involved in the project on human rights education.
Last information received on: 21 June 2000
Contact: Ministry of Law, Justice and Human Rights / Human Rights WingPhilippines
A National Plan of Action for human rights education was prepared by the Philippine Commission on Human Rights. The Plan includes clear objectives, target audiences (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) and programmes, including the creation of a human rights training, documentation and research centre (the Human Rights Academy).
In the implementation of the Plan, 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. They include Amnesty International/Philippine Section, 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 Defence, the Department of Education, Culture and Sports, and the Commission on Higher Education.
This coalition has conducted consultative workshops to elaborate human rights education plans at the national and regional levels, since November 1996. A national gathering of all regional delegates, human rights practitioners and advocates from both the private, non-governmental and government sectors was hosted by Amnesty International/Philippine Section in February 1997, in order to produce a long-term national plan inclusive of a national vision, mission and objectives for human rights education in the Philippines. Among the recommendations of the consultation were: the passing of an executive order creating a national inter agency committee to implement the national plan; the establishment of an ad hoc inter agency task force for each region; the development of a memorandum of agreement with all concerned agencies; the creation of the National Association of Human Rights Educators, formed by all participants to the consultation and endowed with specific responsibilities in the implementation of the Plan.
Finally, the years 1998-2007 have been proclaimed the Decade for HRE in the Philippines.
Last information received on: 18 January 1998
Contact: Philippines Commission on Human RightsRepublic of Korea
A variety of measures have been undertaken to promote human rights awareness, including the dissemination of human rights treaties through their publication and translation into Korean, the intensified provision of human rights education to public officials, the organization of a national programme of public lectures and symposia on human rights, and the provision of legal aid services, through which fundamental human rights are publicized in medium and small-sized cities coupled with farming and fishing communities.
In addition, South Korea hosted a sub-regional Training Workshop on Human Rights Education in Northeast Asia (Seoul, Republic of Korea), from 1 to 4 December 1999. The Workshop, organized by OHCHR in cooperation with the Government, aimed at providing a forum within which selected participants from Northeast Asia occupying a position of influence in their respective educational systems could explore and discuss strategies and components for the development of human rights education in schools. It was organized both as a follow-up to the Asia-Pacific Framework for Regional Technical Cooperation agreed upon in Teheran in 1998 and as a contribution to the Decade.
No national committee for human rights education has been established, however a bill has been passed in the National Assembly providing that a national commission for human rights shall be established to promote human rights education. There is no other institution which holds responsibility at the national level for this area. No national Plan of Action has been developed as attention has been directed at the passing of a national human rights law in the National Assembly. With the passage of the law, the Republic of Korea will take a series of measures to promote human rights education over the next five years of the Decade. A national committee will be set up to strengthen human rights programmes both in formal education settings and in non-formal education. This committee will also take the responsibility for elaborating a national human rights education plan which is to be implemented by relevant government authorities.
Last information received on: 24 July 2000
Contact: Permanent Mission of the Republic of Korea, Geneva
Ministry of Foreign Affairs / Human Rights Division
Ministry of Education Sri Lanka
A Management Committee responsible for the formulation of a national plan of action for human rights education has been established. The Committee is composed of ten members, five representing the governmental sector, and five the non-governmental and civil society sector. The Committee was established with the technical assistance of OHCHR and UNDP.
Last information received on: May 2001
Contact: Ministry of Constitutional Affairs and Industrial DevelopmentThailand
A sub-committee on the Rights of the Child was established following Thailand's ratification of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. It promotes child rights education and other issues.
The Office of the National Commission on Women`s Affairs (ONCWA), as the secretariat body of the national machinery for the advancement of women, has implemented legal literacy programs for local women and published materials on the topic of Women and the Law.
In 1998, a National Committee was set up to draft the National Policy and Plan of Action on Human Rights, which was completed and approved by the Parliament in October 2000. One of the 11 sections of the document concerns human rights education. The National Policy and Plan of Action on Human Rights is implemented through inter-ministry coordination, and the Ministry of Education is the focal point for the specific section on human rights education.
The Government has also advised of educational activities undertaken by the Office of the Attorney-General (focusing on public information activities for vulnerable groups and training of legal professionals), the Ministry of Education (focusing on children's rights, including the development of school curricula, materials and training for teachers, and the elaboration of related legislation) and the Ministry of Interior (focusing on the empowerment of community organizations).
Last information received on: August 2001
Contact: Permanent Mission of Thailand to the United Nations Office and other International Organizations in Geneva
EUROPE AND NORTH AMERICAAustria
In 1997, the Federal Ministry for Foreign Affairs, the Federal Ministry for Education, Science and Culture and the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Human Rights jointly established the Service Centre for Human Rights Education, which subsequently developed into Austria ’s leading institution for the development of human rights education in schools and for advice and assistance to teachers. Among its manifold activities are workshops and teachers´ training courses as well as the dissemination of educational materials, such as the UNESCO publication “Human Rights Questions and Answers”. The Service Centre has also developed networking and information tools such as a website and an electronic newsletter, as well as training programmes (teacher training, peer training) and materials.
The Service Centre’s website:
National legislation on the education system incorporates human rights education. In primary and secondary schools, human rights are included in subjects such as civic education, history, and philosophy. Specific anti-discrimination and anti-racism educational programmes are carried out. The Austrian school system has a long-standing tradition of civic education, and the relevant department in the Ministry for Education, Science and Culture plays a major role in human rights work. The Ministry also encourages regional educational authorities and teachers to develop their own human rights programmes and celebrate specific occasions, such as the Anniversary of the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child and Human Rights Day.
An inter-agency network of human rights coordinators, one in each Federal Ministry and in each of the administrations of the nine Austrian Regions (Länder) has been created. Their responsibility, inter alia, is in the field of human rights education.
The Federal Academy of Public Administration established a human rights programme in 1999 which is open to the human rights coordinators as well as other employees from all branches of government, especially teachers, the police and army, immigration officers, prison staff, social workers, judges and prosecutors.
The Ministries of the Interior and of Justice as well as the Regions’ administrations work with NGOs active in human rights education in developing and implementing training courses for their personnel. One of the programmes having the largest impact is one of “Anti-bias” training, compulsory for all newly enlisted policemen and –women, conducted in cooperation with the NGO “Anti-Defamation League”.
Public authorities, such as for instance the city of Vienna , conduct women’s rights education projects in cooperation with NGOs. The Austria-wide coalition of institutions providing assistance to women and girls affected by violence (named “Frauennotrufe”) offers courses of women’s rights in the framework of its programme of prevention.
In the area of adult education, Austria´s network of adult colleges (Volkshochschulen) offers lectures, seminars and publications in the field of Human Rights.
At the local level, in February 2001 the Municipal Council of Graz proclaimed the city of Graz a human rights city, with the aim of mainstreaming human rights into all activities and decision-making processes of the City´s administration. This includes human rights training for local government officials. In addition, the European Research and Training Center for Human Rights and Democracy (ETC), which is based in Graz , provides Human Rights training programmes in Austria and abroad.
The ETCs weblink:
In the international field, the Government promotes human rights education in the framework of the Stability Pact for South Eastern Europe , the Human Security Network and bilateral development cooperation projects.
Since 1999, Austria is pursuing an initiative in international fora to strengthen human security through human rights education.
In the course of its chairmanship of the Human Security Network (HSN), May 2002 - May 2003 Austria made human rights education a priority issue. At the Graz Ministerial Meeting concluding the Austrian HSN Chairmanship, 8-10 May 2003, the Network adopted the Graz Declaration on Principles of Human Rights Education and Human Security and “Understanding Human Rights” - a Manual on Human Rights Education, which was published by the ETC Centre in Graz (see above).
The Graz Declaration states, inter alia, that human rights education and learning is a strong instrument for conflict prevention and the prevention of human rights violations.
The Manual on Human Rights Education is a very practice-oriented training tool which contains flexible learning modules that are adaptable to a large range of environments and target groups. Its original edition is in English, and it has been translated into German, French, Spanish, Arabic and Albanian. Translations into Chinese and Russian are being prepared.
Last information received on: 11 February 2005
Contacts: Service Centre for Human Rights Education / Ludwig Boltzmann Institute of Human Rights
Permanent Mission of Austria to the United Nations, Geneva
In June 1998, State Programme for Human Rights Protection, whichAthe President approved the provides for the Government to take specific measures in the following areas:
development of specialized training in human rights, in particular through international exchanges
infusion of human rights in the school curricula, and publication of related materials
organization of various events with a human rights theme, such as school competitions and art exhibitions
publication in the national language of international human rights instruments
production of specific material (newspapers, magazines, posters) to increase human rights awareness
In July 1998, the Government signed a technical co-operation project with OHCHR, which also included human rights education and training activities.
Last information received on: 28 September 1999
Contact: Permanent Mission of the Republic of Azerbaijan, GenevaRepublic of Belarus
In March 1999, the Council of Ministers approved a National Plan on the Development of Education in Human Rights, covering the period 1999-2004. The Plan focuses on the school system and has six components:
a public information component, including the dissemination of main United Nations and UNESCO instruments, and relevant national legislation
the inclusion of human rights in the school curricula, as part of the subjects "Man and the World", "Man, Society and the State", and "Fundamentals of the Law of the Republic of Belarus"
the development of human rights courses at the higher education level
the organization of other educational activities, such as competitions, exhibitions, film festivals and tours
the development of relevant school textbooks and teaching materials, and the carrying out of related research at the National Education Institute, the Republican Institute for Higher Schools, the Belarusian State Pedagogical University and a number of regional universities
the training of teachers, facilitated by international symposia, and national seminars, training courses and conferences
cooperation with other countries and international organizations such as the ICRC and UNICEF
The Ministry of Education, together with other institutions, has commenced work on the development of textbooks for schoolchildren, the organization of seminars for teachers from various educational establishments, and a National Conference on Human Rights in the Structure and Contents of Professional Education.
The Ministry of Education established The National Commission for Children's Rights on 18 March 1996, which serves as a national committee for human rights education. One of the main tasks of the Commission is to provide wide-ranging information to children, parents and the public at large regarding the Rights of the Child Act and other international and national human rights instruments, and to promote the study of these instruments in educational establishments. The Commission comprises of representatives from the Presidential Administration, the Council of Ministers, the National Assembly, the Supreme Court, the Procurators Office, ministries, other central government agencies, local authorities and administrative bodies, and voluntary associations concerned with the protection of children's rights. The total number of members of the committee is 25; there is one representative from an NGO.
The Belarus government is receiving technical assistance from the UN office in Belarus.
In 1995, the government established a National Plan of Action for the Protection of Children's Rights, which included the introduction of a special 10-hour course on children's rights at all school levels, as well as in teacher training institutes; in 1998, a course on human rights was included in all education establishments; in 1999, the government ratified the National Plan for the Development of Human Rights Education (1999-2004), which outlines the contents of the human rights course, i.e. human rights, the rights of the child and humanitarian law; specific university courses, in particular for law and pedagogy faculties, were introduced and related materials, such as textbooks, support materials for teachers and pamphlets on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Convention on the Rights of the Child and national relevant legislation, were prepared and widely disseminated. In 2000, the government also organized a competition to award the most original contribution for human rights education; it also held international conferences under the auspices of the Council of Europe.
Last information received on: 8 January 2003
Contacts: Ministry of Education
Permanent Mission of the Republic of Belarus, Geneva Canada
Canada has prepared and is making available to the public a thematic and country by country human rights report, based on United Nations sources, entitled For the Record (available at http://www.hri.ca).
On the occasion of the 50th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the federal Department of Canadian Heritage, in partnership with provincial ministries of education and non-governmental organizations, delivered several human rights awareness campaigns and programmes aimed at all ages. The Canadian Human Rights Commission also advised that human rights education is a regular part of its work and that it would support the establishment of a national plan, if such an initiative were undertaken in Canada.
Last information received on: 22 February 1999
Contact: Federal Department of Canadian HeritageCroatia
The Government of the Republic of Croatia established a National Committee for Human Rights Education in 1996. This is a consultative body headed by the Minister of Education and consisting of 17 experts. The Committee has established a National Programme of Human Rights Education based on national and international human rights instruments, and focusing on integration with programmes carried out in the framework of co-operation with international organizations (UNICEF, UNESCO).
The Croatian Programme has been developed on the basis of a survey of other countries' programmes conducted by a group of pedagogical science experts from the University of Zagreb and is composed of two sections. The first section has been completed and is now being implemented in all schools: it targets pre-school education, lower and higher school classes and all types of secondary schools. A cross-curricular approach was adopted, with the integration of human rights and civic education topics in all suitable school subjects, and various extracurricular activities. Furthermore, a project with UNESCO entitled "Peace and human rights education for Croatian primary schools" has begun. Its implementation has been entrusted to the Department of Pedagogical Sciences within the Zagreb University Faculty of Arts. This project incorporates field research and the publication of textbooks.
The second section of the Programme, which deals with human rights education for adults and the media, has recently been completed; the university level is still to be approached.
The implementation of the Programme is the responsibility of governmental authorities, educational establishments and NGOs. The Government of Croatia, in cooperation with OHCHR, opened a Human Rights Documentation and Education Centre in October 2000 in Zagreb, which is accessible to all interested citizens, offers a range of books and documentation and organizes seminars and roundtables, as well as training for human rights educators. The Government also reported the organization of a series of public information activities, such as dissemination of human rights documents and publications. The Programme is currently being implemented in all schools. The second part of the Programme, which deals with human rights education for adults and the media, has recently been completed; the university level is still to be approached.
Last information received on: 15 July 2002
Contact: National Committee for Human Rights Education
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Permanent Mission of the Republic of Croatia to the United Nations Office, GenevaCyprus
The Government has taken the initiative to set up a National Institute for Human Rights aiming at the widest possible representation. The main objectives of the Institute are:
to raise public awareness for human rights
to further educate civil servants, teachers, lawyers on human rights
to strengthen human rights education in Cyprus educational system at all levels
to strengthen the capacity of the mass media for human rights education through the use of appropriate means
to promote active engagement of national NGOs in the realization of the goals of the Decade
to establish a human rights library in order to enhance public awareness
Furthermore, the Ministry of Education, having reviewed the current status of human rights education in schools, is developing new curricula and new teaching methods.
Last information received on: 25 November 1998
Contacts: Ministry of Education and Culture
National Institution for the Protection of Human RightsCzech Republic
The Government Human Rights Council was established in 1998 by the Government (resolution No. 809 of December 9, 1998), to monitor the domestic compliance with fundamental human rights standards. It is comprised of Government representatives and representatives of civil society. In 1999 it created an expert Working Group for Human Rights Education. The Working Group was tasked to act as a focal point for the purposes of the Decade and played a significant role in drafting a comprehensive report on human rights education in the Czech Republic, which was commissioned by the Government in the year 2000.
The report builds on material submitted by the Ministries of Education, Justice, Finance, Labor and Social Affairs, Interior, Defense, Culture and Foreign Affairs. The Working Group also included information received from specialized educational establishments, institutes of higher education, professional organizations and non-governmental organizations. It focused on human rights educational efforts in schools and higher education establishments, and on the human rights training of teachers, Ministry of Finance's employees, police, Army, prison officials, legal professionals, social workers and health professionals.
The structure of the Government Human Rights Council permits an active participation of the general public in the protection of human rights: it comprises of an equal number of representatives of state administration authorities at the level of deputy ministers and of representatives of the general public. Currently, the Council has 21 members, including the chairman. Each Section that the Council administers, consists of representatives of relevant ministries, other state or academic institutions and NGOs.
The Section (Working Group) on Human Rights Education, which currently plays the role of the national committee for human rights education, has 17 members and the coordinator from the Office of the Government. The coordinator also heads the secretariat of the Human Rights Council. Apart from the ministerial representatives, there are 4 representatives of various civic associations, 1 representative of UNHCR, 4 representatives of various universities and one independent expert.
A national Plan of Action is to be completed by the end of 2000, when the Human Rights Commissioner is to submit a report on activities in the Czech Republic to the Government. The Commissioner will submit a draft resolution to the Government based on the findings of the report. While the report will analyze activities already undertaken, it will also propose steps to be taken to improve efforts in this area.
Last information received on: 29 June 2000
Contact: Office of the Czech Republic Government / Human Rights CouncilDenmark
As a joint project between the Ministry of Education and the Danish Centre for Human Rights, a plan of action has been established with the purpose of strengthening human rights education in Danish primary and lower secondary schools, and among the youth. The aim of the plan is to enable key personnel from training institutions and professional organizations to carry out their own training of teachers. This will be the basis for concrete training courses and the development of human rights education programmes in schools. Two courses for teachers were held in the Spring 1997 with the participation of representatives from teaching aid centres, county resource centres, teacher training colleges, the Royal Danish School of Educational Studies, the Danish Red Cross, the Danish Refugees Council, Amnesty International, DanChurchAid and a number of experts. As a resource tool for those courses, a bibliography of human rights education materials (including textbooks and magazines, audiovisual materials and databases) was compiled. Furthermore, a human rights education bibliography will be published.
Implemented activities led to a variety of projects on human rights in schools, educational resource centres and teacher training institutions. Furthermore, in December 1998, the Ministry of Education hosted an International Conference on Human Rights Education, organized in cooperation with the Danish Centre for Human Rights and the National Commission for UNESCO, which gathered teachers from all levels of education. Further initiatives to be launched during the second half of the Decade are now being considered.
Last information received on: 27 June 2000
Contacts: Danish Centre for Human Rights
Ministry of Education / Department of Adult EducationFinland
There is no national committee in existence. The National Board of Education devises the framework curricula for schools. The activities of the UNESCO Associated School Project are coordinated by the National Board of Education.
Last information received on: 31 July 2000
Finnish National Commission for UNESCO / Ministry of EducationFrance
A National Committee for Human Rights Education and Training has been established jointly by the National Commission for UNESCO and the National Consultative Commission for Human Rights. It includes representatives from 11 relevant Ministries, such as Justice, Education, Defence, Foreign Affairs, Social Affairs, Interior, Culture, Youth and Humanitarian Action. Its mandate consists of:
Four working groups have been constituted within the Committee to assess the state of human rights education in the following areas: primary and secondary schools; universities and higher education; adult education, including several professional groups (police, armed forces, judges, teachers, social workers); and activities undertaken by NGOs, associations and trade unions. The Committee presented a report on the civic and human rights education curricula at the secondary school level, which illustrates the pedagogical objectives, and the contents and reference materials for such courses. It is also organizing a series of colloquia (2001/2003) for experts and educators on various human rights education issues.
In addition, a national centre for information and training on human rights, publicly accessible and provided with a broad range of human rights documentation, was inaugurated in November 1996.
Last information received on: November 2001
Contact: French Committee for Human Rights Education and TrainingGermany
The Government of Germany informed the Office that its contribution to the Decade is focusing on three areas. The first area is human rights education in schools. The Basic Law, Lander Constitutions, laws, legal and administrative regulations, and several resolutions of the Conference of Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs, specify human rights education as one of the educational objectives in all federal states, even where those states have sovereignty over their school systems. Accordingly, human rights education is deeply rooted in a number of subjects in schools, of all types and at all levels.
Secondly, a public relations and information campaign, aimed at encouraging the integration of foreigners and the dismantling of mutual prejudices among citizens, has commenced. This is accomplished through an information service, editorial services for local newsletters, radio programmes for foreigners and Germans, and seminars for people working with foreigners.
Finally, some development cooperation projects aim at creating learning conditions, which will enable broad sections of the population to gain an insight into social and administrative processes, and thus to exercise their rights.
The Government of Germany stressed the importance of human rights education in combating racism and xenophobic attitudes. Among the activities undertaken at the Länder (State) level, which is primarily responsible for schools, it mentioned the inclusion of intercultural education in school curricula and the incorporation of the contents of the Convention on the Rights of the Child in school programmes and textbooks, as well as the adoption, by the Standing Conference of Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs of the Länder, of a revised "Recommendation for the Promotion of Human Rights Education" (2000), which made human rights education a priority in all state constitutions and laws on education. The Federal Ministry for Education and Research has launched a series of anti-discrimination and anti-violence programmes at all levels of the school system, including pilot research, evaluation projects and the development of multi-media tools. The government mentioned three specific educational programmes. The programme XENOS has been designed especially for the labour market; it targets companies, trade unions, firms and other institutions and supports projects in the areas of conflict management and intercultural training. The programme ENTIMON, which focuses on youth, aims at combating violence and right-wing extremism and supports local activities such as conference, theatre festivals and workshops which have a great impact through media coverage. The programme CIVITAS support similar projects in the five eastern federal Länder.
Other actors involved in human rights education in Germany are the German Institute for Human Rights, founded in 2001 by a broad range of civil society actors, the German Commission for UNESCO and the UNESCO Chair of Human Rights Education, also founded in 2001 at the Magdeburg University; they undertake studies and conduct human rights awareness-raising activities.
Last information received on: 9 December 2002
Contact: Conference of Ministers of Education and Cultural AffairsGreece
Greece reported that the Greek National Commission for Human Rights has undertaken a series of initiatives to promote human rights education at the university level, with the aim to establishing specific courses on human rights. Also, in 2001/2 the Commission promoted a research study on national mass media and the promotion of stereotypes and discrimination attitudes, held consultations with the Ministry of Public Order and the National School of Public Administration concerning the establishment of human rights education programmes for policemen and civil servants, and undertook the translation of OHCHR's related materials.
Last information received on: 14 July 2003Holy See
The Holy See undertook surveys on the existing human rights education programmes within the network of Catholic institutions (schools, colleges, parishes, training centers and institutes). These surveys demonstrated the special attention given to the foundations of human rights in general, the legal aspects of human rights and the promotion of economic and social rights.
Catholic educational institutions focus on specific human rights issues (such as bioethics and the right to development) or on specific groups (such as disabled persons, indigenous peoples and minorities). In order to carry out human rights education programmes, which are directed not only towards members of the clergy but also to children and students attending Catholic schools, partnerships have been established with United Nations agencies, the International Committee of the Red Cross and civil society. The Holy See stressed that in some Catholic schools children and teachers from other religions are present in large numbers, and this promotes tolerance and peaceful coexistence.
Last information received on: July 2001
Contact: Sezione per i Rapporti con gli Stati / Segreteria di StatoHungary
No national Committee for human rights education has been established, although plans to do so are under consideration. There is no national plan of action for human rights education.
Human rights education has been incorporated at all levels of education through the legislative process. Such education exists in the presentation and study of the national Constitution and relevant international human rights treaties; however, human rights are not taught as a separate subject.
Hungary is a participant in the European Community Action Programme in the field of Education, Training and Youth, the CIVITAS Programme, and other programmes co-organized, inter alia, with the Soros Foundation.
Various specific programmes targeted at specific social or professional groups are also implemented.
Last information received on: August 2000
Contact:Head of Department of International Organizations / Ministry of Foreign AffairsIreland
The Government provided information regarding two initiatives, developed within the Department of Foreign Affairs and in consultation with NGOs, towards the elaboration of a national plan of action.
In addition, it referred to the work of the National Committee for Development Education (NCDE), which is composed of representatives from a broad range of groups involved in development education. This includes the former education sector, women's and community groups, and NGOs. NCDE provides grant support for activities, including human rights education projects, undertaken by these groups. It is also involved in the integration of human rights in the school curricula.
Last information received on 23 October 1998
Contact: Office of the TaoiseachItaly
A joint effort of the National Academy of Scientists and the Italian Government has produced a survey of human rights education and information in Italy. This contains information on human rights education in primary schools, secondary schools and higher education (collected through specific questionnaires), on existing programmes for human rights training for professional groups (police, prison personnel, magistrates and lawyers, teachers, health personnel), and on human rights among the public in general, emphasising the role of the media.
All the current activities of governmental and non governmental agencies active in this area are reviewed, and detailed suggestions for improvement are addressed to the Italian Government. Annexed to the survey is a list of documents relating to human rights education translated into Italian (including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and several United Nations documents, including the Plan of Action for the Decade). A list of the addresses of all institutes and governmental and non governmental agencies dealing with human rights education, which can be contacted and can provide materials for developing further programmes, is also attached. The survey has been published and has been disseminated throughout the country, particularly in all educational establishments.
Last information received on: 1996
Contact: Presidency of the Council of MinistersKazakhstan
Kazakhstan has not established a national Committee for human rights education, and no national plan of action for human rights education has been developed, thus far.
The Government emphasized the need for technical assistance on the part of relevant UN bodies.
Human rights have been integrated into school curricula at all levels of education; such integration involves the study and the use of relevant international human rights treaties. Moreover, three universities have developed programmes on human rights teaching and research.
Last information received on: June 2000
Contact: Department of International Law and ProtocolLatvia
Within the school system, human rights are taught in primary schools as part of the compulsory Civics subject, and in secondary schools as an optional course "Politics and Rights".
In September 1995, as a contribution to the Decade, the University of Latvia established, within its Faculty of Law, a Human Rights Institute. The purpose of which is to provide human rights education to law students and students from other faculties; carry out human rights research; publish study materials, monographs and articles on human rights; establish a human rights library; and organize conferences and seminars.
In 1995, the Centre for the Protection of the Rights of the Child was also established at the Ministry of Education and Science. It organized related seminars for school personnel and s rights.=conferences on children
Furthermore, the Government highlighted the on-going human rights education activities carried out by the Latvian National Human Rights Office, such as the production of publications, a series of TV broadcasts, and the maintenance of an Information and Documentation Centre.
Last information received on: 23 November 1998
Contact: Office of the Prime MinisterLithuania
There is no national Committee for human rights education established in the country. Human rights education activities are predominately under the responsibility of the Lithuanian Centre for Human Rights. Numerous activities (seminars, lectures, workshops) take place, and are conducted both by governmental entities and civil society members, as well as UN agencies and programmes.
The Consultative Council of Children's Affairs was set up in 1996. It deals with all aspects relating to the human rights of children and has a large education and information component.
Human rights are incorporated into school curricula at all levels of the education system; laws and policies were passed to that end.
Last information received on: August 2000
Contact: International Co-operation and European Integration DepartmentLuxembourg
In addition to specific activities undertaken within the commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Ministry of National Education informed of various initiatives, such as the creation of a multi-disciplinary working group for the integration of human rights in the school curricula, the training of teachers in human rights and the support of human rights initiatives undertaken independently by various schools, in collaboration with NGOs.
Last information received on: 30 December 1998
Contact:Ministry of National EducationMalta
Malta's authorities informed of the inclusion of human rights principles in the National Minimum Curriculum; they are reflected in the syllabuses of subjects like social studies, European studies, history and Personal and Social Education. Related training sessions for teachers are organized. Activities aimed at sensitizing students to human rights issues are regularly held in the classes. A particular emphasis is put on citizenship and global education, in cooperation with the Council of Europe; in this context, Maltese schools organized events in 2001 on the occasion of the Council of Europe's Global Education Week, entitled "Children and Youth Rights Now". The government of Malta underlined the cooperation developed with NGOs in the area of human rights education, as that between the Social Sciences Unit of the Department of Education of Malta and national non governmental organizations. In this case, the result of this cooperation has been a broad programme of human rights awareness in schools and the preparation of training materials on the rights of the child, on tolerance and on human rights in general. It has also promoted in service courses for teachers on human rights, tolerance and peace.
Last information received on: 12 July 2002
Contact: Office of the Prime MinisterMoldova
Human rights have been incorporated into the primary and secondary school curricula. Activities are developed accordingly: seminars, workshops, and essay competitions. A specific course on human rights is also available for law students at the State University of Moldova.
The Department of National Relations and Languages of the Republic of Moldova regularly organized meetings, workshops, conferences, seminars, and art festivals on ethnic and minority rights.
Last information received on: August 2000
Contact: Department of International Relations / Ministry of Education and ScienceMonaco
There is no national Committee for human rights education or a national action plan for human rights education.
Human rights education is included in curricula, particularly in history and civic education classes, at all levels of education (except at university as there is no university in Monaco), with a focus on children's rights.
Cooperation on human rights education takes place through partnerships with NGOs.
Last information received on: August 2000
Contact: Directeur de l'Éducation nationale, MonacoThe Netherlands
The Government is continuing discussions on the possible establishment of a national platform for human rights education.
However, various related activities are currently being undertaken: in relation to the school system, teaching materials are prepared mainly by NGOs on their initiative or in cooperation with the authorities, while the level of teaching human rights in the classroom is often left to the teacher's discretion. At the university level, as a result of the collaboration of several law faculties, the School of Human Rights Research was established. Human rights training for public officials, police and the military is institutionalized, as well as for people from developing countries.
Public information campaigns are organized on relevant issues, such as refugees and immigrants.
Last information received on: 7 December 1998
Contact: Office of the PresidentNorway
In 1980 a Working Group on Human Rights Education was established within the Advisory Committee on Human Rights, under the direction of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. It was assigned new terms of reference in 1995, in connection with the proclamation of the Decade. The Group, which has an advisory role, considers and discusses, on its own initiative or upon request from the Ministry, issues relating to human rights education. The UN Association in Norway serves as the secretariat for the working group and is composed of representatives from relevant ministries (the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Education, Research and Church Affairs), the Norwegian National Commission for UNESCO, Amnesty International, the Norwegian Red Cross, teachers` unions, the Norwegian Agency for International Development, the Norwegian Refugee Council and the Norwegian UNICEF Committee.
A national Plan of Action has been developed within the framework of a more general plan for Human Rights, which is entitled "Focus on Human Dignity". It was submitted to the Government in December 1999 as a White Paper. The Plan of Action was developed in response to a request from parliament to the Government to draw up a "general plan of action to provide information, instruction and education with a view to protecting and promoting human rights in Norway." An inter-ministerial working group, chaired by the Ministry of Education developed the Plan in conjunction with various ministries, including the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Social Affairs, and the Ministry of Children and Family Affairs. The Plan of Action has been summarized as follows:
"The Government will implement measures to increase the expertise of the teaching staff at the teacher training institutions and teachers in primary, lower secondary and upper secondary schools. Measures will also be carried out to enhance the knowledge of human rights to employees in the central government administration, the defence forces and the legal profession. The Government will take steps to ensure that instruction in human rights is included to a greater extent in continuing education for various professional groups, and will evaluate the instruction in human rights that is provided at certain educational institutions. Emphasis is placed on providing information on and promoting sound attitudes towards human rights, and the Government will initiate information campaigns to encourage commitment to and create awareness of human rights among the population at large. The Government places emphasis on research as an important source of knowledge and expertise, and will strengthen the Norwegian Institute for Human Rights."
Last information received: 28 June 2000
Contacts: Norwegian Ministry of Education, Research and Church Affairs UN Association of NorwayPoland
Human rights, focusing on children's rights and other rights defined in treaties to which Poland is a party, are a component of curricula at all school levels. Poland works in close partnership with UNESCO and the Associated School Project, through which particular emphasis is given to human rights education.
Two human rights chairs have been created at two universities and the Annual Students Human Rights Knowledge Contest has been launched.
Human rights training is compulsory for many professional groups such as civil servants, border guards, fire fighters, judges, prosecutors, police officers, prison officials, social workers and teachers.
The Government of Poland has enhanced cooperation with NGOs in the area of civic education.
Last information received on: August 2000
No contact details.Portugal
The "National Commission for the Commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the United Nations Decade for Human Rights Education" was created through a resolution of the Council of Ministers in April 1998. Although functioning within the framework of the Council of Ministers, the Commission is independent from the Government, due to its statute and the majority of its members, who are institutional representatives, representatives of NGOs or independent individuals.
The Commission is presided over by the former President Mário Soares and is composed of representatives from the Parliament, the Ombudsman office, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Education, the s Office, the Secretary of State of the Council of=Deputy Prime Minister Ministers and the Secretary of State for the Media. In addition, all major national human rights non-governmental organizations (Civitas - Association for s Rights, the Forum for Justice and=the Defence and Promotion of Citizen Liberties, Amnesty International/Portuguese Section, Law and Justice - Portuguese Section of the International Commission of Jurists, and the Portuguese Association of Women Jurists) are represented in the National Commission.
The National Commission has developed a broad Plan of Action for the Decade, which covers the period 1999-2004. The Plan comprises of eight strategic areas:
main instruments for promoting the UN decade for human rights education
activities to be undertaken with the sovereign bodies, namely government departments
organization of seminars, congresses and other events for human rights dissemination
activities to be developed with schools and learning establishments
activities to be developed with the civil society
activities to be developed with the municipal authorities
activities to be developed with the media
publications promoted by the national commission, or with its sponsorship or cooperation
At the national level, the National Commission is planning to publish educational dossiers aimed at students (of different school levels) and teachers. During the first half of the Decade, publications were mainly intended to disseminate general human rights matters. The National Commission now intends to dedicate the second half of the Decade to publish materials targeted at specific groups.
The Commission also disseminates human rights education information, either directly or through communities present in the African Portuguese-speaking countries, as well as East Timor. Apart from information and training activities, the committee promotes seminars and conferences, and publishes materials specifically aimed at those societies and their particular concerns.
Last information received on: 19 June 2000
Contact: Gabinete de Documentação e Direito Comparado / Procuradoria-Geral da República Romania
Romania has informed OHCHR of the establishment of a National Committee in February 1996, whose secretariat is assured by the Romanian Institute for Human Rights, and whose members are representatives of relevant ministries and non-governmental organizations.
Human rights education has been incorporated into all levels of the school system: mostly in civic education classes, through legislative procedures. Relevant teaching materials have been produced.
There are specialized courses on human rights available at the University of Bucharest and at the National Institute for Human Rights (Bucharest).
Last information received on: September 2000
Contacts: Direction de l'intégration européenne / Ministère de l'Éducation nationale
Romanian National Committee for Human Rights Education for the UN Decade of Human Rights Education
c/o Romanian Institute for Human RightsRepublic of San Marino
The Government distributed a copy of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to every secondary school student in the country in December 1998. In addition, it has financially contributed to s project for the global dissemination of the Universal Declaration ofthe OHCHR Human Rights, which constitutes one of the objectives of the Decade.
There is no national Committee in existence. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Education have been jointly responsible for human rights education at the national level. These institutions have adopted initiatives and launched programs in this area since the beginning of the Decade.
Given the limited size of the Republic of San Marino (61 sq. km, population 27,000) and in light of past experiences, the San Marino Government has considered it inappropriate to establish a national committee and ad-hoc bureaucratic structures for the Decade. They believe that the system adopted enables the government and NGOs to cooperate in a rapid and fruitful manner.
Last information received on: 30 June 2000
Contact: Department of Foreign Affairs / Directorate of Cultural Affairs and InformationSlovak Republic
The Slovak Republic presented a survey on human rights education in schools, at the university level, and for armed forces and police officials. As far as the formal education system is concerned, activities recently undertaken included the "Human Rights Olympiad for Secondary Schools", the development/adaptation of methodological guides for teachers (such as First steps, a guide developed by Amnesty International and endorsed by the Ministry of Education), the organization of seminars for methodologists and teachers of civic education and training courses for teachers organized by the Human Rights Department of the Comenius University of Bratislava.
There is no national committee in existence, however there are plans underway to establish such a committee as soon as the Board of Directors of Slovak National Centre on Human Rights has completed its reform process.
The Ministry of Education has worked increasingly in this area since the last parliamentary elections in autumn 1998. Previously, NGOs did the majority of the work in the human rights education domain.
No national Plan of Action has been developed in the Slovak Republic. The relevant public administration body for human rights education is the Ministry of Education. The Ministry believes that human rights education is well integrated into the educational system at all levels.
Last information received on: 20 July 2000
Contact: Section on Human Rights and Minorities / Government Office of the Slovak RepublicSweden
In January 1998, the Ministry of Education appointed a committee to survey human rights education at the national level and to make recommendations for improvements. Meanwhile, human rights are taught in schools at all levels, and related materials (including free access to the Internet) are made available. At the university level, several law faculties have compulsory courses in human rights (at Lund University the Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law is active).
Specific public information campaigns against racism and xenophobia and on the Holocaust have recently been launched. Various human rights publications are widely disseminated, such as a bibliography of human rights literature published in Sweden over the past 50 years, which is a joint project between the Ministry of Education and various NGOs. Furthermore, training material for teachers have been developed by a broad NGO coalition. There is no national committee for human rights education. However, the Government has initiated work towards an overall national action plan for human rights education. The consultation process involves representatives from governmental institutions as well as representative from civil society, including NGOs, trade unions, academics and Ombudspersons. Special attention to the Decade will be given in this context.
Last information received on: September 2000
Contact: Division for Democratic Issues / Ministry of JusticeSwitzerland
The Federal Department of the Interior has appealed to the Swiss Conference of Cantonal Directors of Public Education to enhance human rights education in schools. In addition, it has advised various national agencies and non governmental organizations, such as the Federal Commission against Racism, the Swiss Foundation "Education and Development" and the Swiss League for Human Rights, who regularly organize human rights education and public information campaigns.
Switzerland has not established a national committee for human rights education. However, there are consultations within the country on the opportunity to create a specialized governmental body dealing with all issues related to human rights, including human rights education. The federal system prevailing in Switzerland does not necessarily favour such an establishment at the federal level because education issues are under the responsibility of the cantons. However, the federal authorities do play a role by encouraging the cantons to educate and inform on the treaties to which Switzerland is a party, and monitoring the content of teaching materials. Human rights education is dealt by the cantonal entities, although human rights have not been incorporated into the cantonal laws related to education. NGOs are also very active in this area and work together with the relevant public bodies.
Last information received on: September 2000
Contact: Section de la politique des droits de l'homme / Département fédéral des Affaires étrangèresRepublic of Tajikistan
A national human rights education programme is being established.
Last information received on: June 2001
Contact: Center for Strategic ResearchTurkey
In May 1998, the Human Rights Coordinating High Committee adopted the "Regulation on the establishment of the National Committee for the Decade for Human Rights Education" and established a national advisory committee for the Decade. The committee consists of representatives of the Prime Minister's Office, the Ministries of Justice, the Interior, Foreign Affairs, National Education, Health, and Culture, four representatives of relevant voluntary institutions, and academics with experience in this field.
In July 1999, the National Committee published the Human Rights Education Programme of Turkey (1998-2007), which is composed of the following parts:
priorities of human rights education in Turkey and main target groups
present state of human rights education and relevant proposals of the National Committee, directed to the following sectors: primary schools, high schools and universities
law enforcement officers attached to the Ministry of Justice
law enforcement officers attached to the Ministry of Internal Affairs
the mass media
Among the activities mentioned, there are:
the training of trainers for civil society entities and for the police
the inclusion of human rights issues in in-service training and entrance examinations for civil service posts
the conduct of research on human rights concepts, with the support of UNESCO
various awareness-raising activities
The programme is now being implemented in cooperation with different partners, including intergovernmental organizations (United Nations, Council of Europe) and civil society organizations.
Following the proclamation of the Plan, a circular was issued by the Prime Minister in August 1999 to ensure implementation of the Plan by the Ministries of National Education, Interior and Justice, who will report periodically on this issue to the Human Rights Coordinating High Council.
The Government of Turkey reported on the recent activities of the National Committee on the Decade for Human Rights Education, which is composed of university professors, representatives of ministries and NGOs. From September 2001 to June 2002 the Committee organized human rights seminars for deputy governors of several provinces of the country; training sessions, in partnership with the Council of Europe, for police and gendarmerie trainers, as well as in-service training programmes for judges and public prosecutors; essay and drawing competitions for prisoners and prison officials, as well as poster and cartoon competitions for young people; and human rights training for social workers working with street children.
Last information received on: 8 July 2002
Contact: Turkish National Committee on the Decade for Human Rights EducationUkraine
In May 1995, the Government issued a decree regarding the programme of legal education for the population of Ukraine, which provides for a wide range of activities in the field of human rights education. In pursuance of this resolution, educational programmes in the field of human rights targeted to different age groups are being developed throughout the country. However, priority is given to children. Within this general framework, the Government has requested OHCHR to provide a number of institutions (ministries, institutions of higher education and libraries) and human rights publications, in order that governmental officials, students, researchers and readers, may have easy access to international instruments and information on human rights.
There is no national Committee in existence to serve as the focal point for the Decade, however there are plans under way to establish one.
The Ministry of Education and Science is the responsible institution at the national level for human rights education. The Ministry of Education and Science is developing a national Plan of Action as part of an overall national plan for human rights. It is expected to be completed by the beginning of 2001.
Last information received on: 1 July 2000
Contact: Ministry of Education and Science
Ministry of JusticeUnited Kingdom
With regards to the school sector, the July 1997 White Paper "Excellence in schools" provided for collaborative consultations in order to review the National Curriculum. Within that framework an Advisory Group on Education for Citizenship and the Teaching of Democracy in Schools, including human rights education, was set up.
The coming into force of the Human Rights Act in 2000 has been accompanied by several training programmes and materials.
They reported that the Department for Education and Skills has introduced citizenship education into the national curriculum for England; it was first introduced in primary school teaching in 2000 and then became a statutory national curriculum subject in secondary schools in 2002. All schools have received guidelines on how to implement the curriculum; more information is available on-line at the address: http://www.dfes.gov.uk/citizenship.es.gov.uk/citizenship.
Last information received on: 27 November 2002
Contact: UK Mission to the UNOG
Department for Education and Employment
LATIN AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEANAntigua & Barbuda
A national plan for human rights education is in preparation; a national consultation is being undertaken so as to reform relevant constitutional law and to adopt a national policy. Activities such as meetings, workshops and media education addressing human rights issues are regularly organized by the Ministry of Social Improvement and the Ministry of Education, and are directed particularly towards police and prison guards, teachers, children, parents, nurses, and trainers.
The study of human rights is incorporated at all levels of education; components on human rights education as such, are also provided in sociology and social studies classes. Awareness-raising campaigns on human rights questions, specifically on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, children's rights and prisoners' rights also take place in the country. Civil society is involved in these activities.
Since 1995, the government developed new curriculum materials for school education related to human rights, designed training workshops for specific professional groups, conducted national consultations for a national plan and a national policy and disseminated materials on human rights.
The Government highlighted the need for a broader regional cooperation and policy on human rights education, and the need for emphasized education programmes for professional groups and specific vulnerable groups (migrant workers, people living with HIV/AIDS, the disabled, the elderly).
Last information received on: November 2001
Contact: Ministry of EducationArgentina
Argentina designated the National Direction for the Promotion of Human Rights, within the Office of the Under Secretary of Social and Human Rights, of the Ministry of Interior, a focal point for human rights education. Through a project of technical cooperation established with OHCHR, it has carried out, in collaboration with non governmental organizations, a series of activities. These include:
training courses on human rights for teachers aimed at the establishment of a national network of teachers for human rights education
the dissemination of human rights documents, such as the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Convention on the Rights of the Child
the establishment of a publicly accessible National Documentation Centre
the preparation and dissemination of a bibliography on human rights education, which has been distributed to all educational establishments, governmental and non governmental agencies, libraries and international organizations
human rights training for police officials and trainers
workshops on human rights and the penitentiary system
human rights training for lawyers and other members of the legal profession
the establishment of a series of agreements with provincial and national universities in order to carry out joint projects
the production of a publication on human rights ("Facts and rights")
Recent activities have included:
human rights training for administration of justice officials (police, security forces, judges), teachers and governmental officials
conclusion of cooperation agreements with private and public universities and organization of joint initiatives
development of education plans at the provincial level
special events, such as school competitions, conferences and sports games
public dissemination of the Universal Declaration, also through a television and radio campaign
Argentina has also developed a national Plan of Action. Since 1992, the program on the Rights of the Child and the Youth have developed educational strategies and disseminated information in order to sensitize teachers and give guidelines to schools on the subject of the International Convention on the Rights of the Child. A variety of manuals were produced for this program containing teaching resources, audio-visual materials and a number of different information leaflets aimed at young children. Some of these manuals also dealt with activities for long distance teaching. Furthermore, pamphlets were distributed regarding the maltreatment of children, giving examples of conceptual and methodological tools to deal with such situations.
In addition, since 1995 the Government has incorporated human rights in the school curricula, as part of the content of Ethics and Citizenship Education. Among the issues dealt with are the respect and the dignity of the person, respect of differences, discrimination as a violation of human rights, peace and international human rights documents. Democracy, rule of law and justice, as well as individual responsibility in the promotion and the protection of human rights, are also included, and analysis of concrete cases and current events is envisaged.
In 1997/98, the Federal Council of Education also included human rights as a compulsory topic in the training of all teachers.
In 2000, the Federal Council of Culture and Education decided to devote 19 April as day of conviviality and cultural diversity. In this context, numerous events were organized on 19 April 2001: a forum on the Holocaust, meetings on literature and cultural diversity.
In 2001 the programme "Learning to Live Together" was initiated, which supports schools in their efforts to strengthen citizenship education. This programme is implemented together with, inter alia, UNICEF and UNESCO. It provides schools with information and teaching materials on conflict resolution and culture of peace. Other activities undertaken within this programme are as follows: organization of educational experiences involving children playing the role of policy makers, and regular gatherings of teachers, students, parents and other actors.
The Government of Argentina is undertaking the following projects for the period 2001-2003:
strengthening working partnerships with NGOs (through increased provision of documentation, training and workshops)
elaborating projects focused on teenagers
organizing a network of partners to better circulate information on human rights throughout the country
The Federal Law on Education (1993) provides a legislative framework for human rights education in schools. Specific measures have been taken to combat discrimination in schools, for instance addressing access to education in rural areas and for children with special needs, as well as introducing multilingualism and the teaching of indigenous people languages and cultures to promote mutual understanding among different cultures. The Ministry of Education also promoted the training of 106 provincial trainers on "Ethical and Citizenship Education", who then trained teachers in local schools. Other initiatives in this area included: the development of classroom materials; the proclamation, within the school calendar, of 19 April as "Day of Living Together in Cultural Diversity" and the development of a number of related activities in schools, throughout the country. In addition, the Ministry of Education has devoted a special attention to eradicating gender-based stereotypes and to reproductive rights and sexual health. Finally, work has been undertaken to introduce in various schools the "School System of Coexistence", i.e. democratic principles, norms and practices ruling the relationship among members of each educational establishment.
Last information received on: 17 July 2003
Contact:Ministry of Education
Ministry of Foreign AffairsChile
Chile forwarded some general information on human rights education in schools. The establishment of an interministerial committee for the Decade is under consideration. The Ministry of Education in Chile has informed the Office that some related activities have been undertaken at the school level, such as the implementation of the education and democracy and women programmes, which include the dissemination of human rights pedagogical materials in schools, the training of teachers and the organization of school competitions.
The Educational Reform currently being undertaken in order to include, within the school system, education for democracy, peace and human rights, involves four specific areas:
In addition, relevant complementary extracurricular activities are envisaged.
The Ministry noted, however, that in order to implement Decade activities at the national level correctly, an inter ministerial task force would need to be created.
Since the 1980's, many activities take place in the country. Some are organized by the Ministry of Education, others are conducted by NGOs. The following ministries also take part in such initiatives: Interior, Foreign Affairs, Justice, and Army school. The Government emphazises the role played by NGOs in the democratic reconstruction process of the country. NGOs built a network on human rights and education in 1993, with the aim of obtaining technical support on the part of the State.
Human rights are a component of curricula at all educational levels; presentations on the foundations of human rights, international human rights law and judicial procedures to have one's rights respected. At university, specific courses on human rights are offered to students in various areas. There is also an initiative, which aims at educating children from indigenous groups both in their language and in Spanish.
Specific activities were undertaken, as follows:
national competition of students on human rights education (1992)
international seminar on methodologies for human rights education (1993)specialized course on human rights education for education supervisors (1993-1994)
national seminar on human rights education (1994-1995)
design of methodological tools for human rights education (1993-2000)
national essay competition "Jorge Millas Annual Prize" for intellectuals and writers (1993-2000)
They highlighted the integration of human rights as a cross-curricular topic in the basic and middle education system, in particular in social sciences and history, as well as the pilot project "Exploring International Humanitarian Law", developed in 2002 in 32 upper secondary schools and supported by the International Committee of the Red Cross. A specific focus of other educational activities has been the promotion of a positive school climate with the development of activities aimed at the peaceful coexistence of all actors, including training of teachers on conflict resolution methodologies and the involvement of parents.
Last information received on: 14 January 2003
Contact: Ministry of EducationColombia
The vice-president of the Human Rights Office in Colombia initiated the establishment of a national Committee for human rights education. The committee's main function is to assist in the formulation of the pedagogical strategy and human rights training. The committee is comprised of 13 members from NGOs, academic institutions at the national level, journalists, politicians, private enterprise and universities.
Colombia has received technical assistance in the elaboration of the national Plan of Action, as well as a number of other projects.
The Government of Colombia highlighted a number of activities undertaken by the Ministry of Interior aimed at raising awareness on human rights and humanitarian law. This was accomplished through radio programmes, distribution of publications and television spots, with a focus on the protection of human rights defenders and on the respect of differences. The target audiences were: the general public (both in cities and in rural areas), police forces, NGOs, indigenous communities, and other actors.
Capacity-building programmes and training sessions for civil servants working for the central and the local Government are also organized, often in partnership with UN agencies, including UNHCR and OHCHR.
The Government of Colombia further reported on the role played by the Defensoría del Pueblo in human rights education. This institution produces and disseminates relevant publications and audio-video materials, organizes training sessions for governmental and municipal civil servants, designs and implements awareness-raising campaigns, and undertakes other related efforts. Each programme focuses on a specific right or issue (such as reproductive health or domestic violence) or on a set of rights (economic and social rights, political rights, children's rights).
Last information received on: November 2001
Contact: Vice President of the Republic of ColombiaCosta Rica
The infusion of human rights education in the school system is a process which began in 1986 in cooperation with the Inter-American Institute for Human Rights. Then, between 1990-1994, a Curricular Reform was implemented, which included the integration of the Convention on the Rights of the Child in the juridical and educational system.
Between 1994-1998, the "Comisión Nacional para la Formación y el Fortalecimiento de los Valores", responsible for the development of values education, including human rights education, was strengthened. In 1995, a course on the promotion and defence of the human rights and responsibilities was included in the Open Education Programmes for Youth and Adults, through a self-learning module.
Finally, in 1998 the Ministry of Education, in coordination with other Ministries within Central America, published a series of modules for adult literacy, one of which was dedicated to the promotion of human rights.
In cooperation with OHCHR, Costa Rica organized an international Consultation on Pedagogical Foundations of Human Rights Education from 22 to 26 July 1996.
The Government of Costa Rica reported that, according to Article 63 of the 1997 Children and Youth Code, which is based on the provisions of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, teaching institutions shall promote children's rights among the students, and teaching and administrative personnel.
In addition, the National Education Plan of the Ministry of Public Education promotes human rights awareness-raising among students.
Cooperation between the Government and other bodies, such as the University for Peace, the Interamerican Institute for Human Rights and UNESCO, have resulted in joint human rights education projects. These include workshops for teachers, members of NGOs and representatives of governmental institutions and the development of educational materials.
The Government further reported the setting up of a specific room, devoted to the rights of the child, in the Costa Rica's Child Museum. Furthermore, a survey in the country and in Panama was undertaken to analyze the state of human rights education in the secondary school system, which prompted a publication and a regional meeting of educators.
A national committee for human rights education was initiated at the beginning of 2000 by the Minister of Education. NGOs are represented in the committee.
One of the main objectives of the National Education Plan in Costa Rica is that pupils know their rights; to this end, the "Values" and the "Culture of Peace" Projects are implemented. Special attention is devoted to pre-service human rights training for teachers; in this area, the Government highlighted the work of the Institute for Interdisciplinary Studies on Childhood and Adolescence (INEINA) within the National University (UNA). At the university level, human rights education programmes are carried out by, among others, the Law Faculty of the Costa Rica University, the National University and the State Distance University (UNED); the University for Peace offers a Master degree in International Law and Human Rights. Human rights training for administration of justice officials is organized by the Judicial School (whose activities are also occasionally open to the public), the National Police Academy as well as the National School of Penitentiary Police. The Government of Costa Rica also highlighted the many educational activities undertaken by the Inter-American Institute for Human Rights, which include training courses, production and distribution of materials, the development of a human rights section within the Children's Museum, etc.
The national Plan of Action was initiated by Counsellor Dr. Flor de María Pérez, of the Ministry of Education. Other third level educational institutions also participated in the development of the Plan.
The Costa Rican government has received technical assistance from the OEI and UNESCO.
The Costa Rican government reported that one of the main objectives of the national education plan is that pupils should know their rights; to this end, the "Values" and the "Culture of Peace" Projects are implemented. Special attention is devoted to pre-service human rights training for teachers; in this area, the Government highlighted the work of the Institute for Interdisciplinary Studies on Childhood and Adolescence (INEINA) within the National University (UNA).
Last information received on: 18 August 2002
Contact: Ministry of Education
Permanent Mission of Costa Rica, GenevaCuba
Cuba has reported some initiatives in the area of HRE, in cooperation with international organizations such as UNESCO and UNICEF. The Government has focused on the goal of making education accessible to all Cubans.
Cuba reported that the development of responsible citizens respectful of human rights, democracy and peace has been a permanent objective of Cuban educational policy, as part of the realization of the right to education. Specific subjects in the school curricula are aimed at values education, including civic education in secondary schools. The Government of Cuba also stressed the need to educate law enforcement agencies and the judiciary in human rights, and human rights have been integrated into the pre-service training of governmental officials. Cuba further noted the active role played by civil society in human rights education. For example, the National Union of Jurists of Cuba, in cooperation with relevant ministries, regularly organizes human rights workshops for legal professionals; it has also organized human rights seminars for Cuban and Latin-American legal and academic professionals. In January 2002, the Union and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs jointly issued a compilation of human rights instruments that are in force in Cuba, which was disseminated nationwide
In Cuba, primary school curricula include values education, aiming at promoting peace and respect for others and for nature; a civic education subject is taught in secondary schools. Specific related programmes include "Educate your Child", "For Life" and the Audiovisual Programme, which consists of television programmes on various themes to stimulate analysis and debates on human rights-related issues. A major achievement of the educational system, according to the government, has been the full eradication in the country of any race- or gender-based discrimination. The government also stressed the need to target law enforcement agencies and the judiciary; training on national and international law related to human rights is included in the general training programmes of relevant academies. Civil society's active role in human rights education is exemplified by the work of the National Union of Jurists which, in cooperation with relevant ministries, the Parliament or judicial institutions, organizes regularly seminars and debates for professionals working in the administration of justice, with the participation of academicians from Latin-American countries, and has issued and disseminated, as a joint project with the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, a compilation of human rights instruments in force in the country.
Last information received on: 6 June 2002
Contact: Ministry of Foreign Relations Permanent Mission of Cuba, GenevaEcuador
A national action plan for human rights education should be finalized in 2002. The National Permanent Commission on Human Rights is designing it and it comprises of both State and civil society representatives. The Ministry of Education will implement the Plan, in cooperation with other State and civil society actors. The national action plan for human rights education is part of the national plan for human rights, adopted in 1998. The national action plan for human rights education will reach all levels of the educational system, by revising curricula and education tools to eliminate intolerance stereotypes.
The following State actors work on human rights education:
the National Council of Women
the Defensoría del Pueblo
the Ministry of Education and Culture
the Ministry of Police
the Ministry for Foreign Affairs
In civil society, the following partners work on human rights education:
Defensa de Niños Internacional
Instituto Nacional del Niño y la Familia
Foro Nacional de la Niñez
Centro de Investigaciones de la Mujer Ecuatoriana
CEPAM, Tribuna del Consumidor
Centro de Derechos Económicos
Sociales y Culturales
Fundación Pueblo Indio
Governmental and non-governmental human rights specialists jointly undertake many activities.
Human rights education components have been included at all levels of education, and studies are conducted with specific and appropriate means and tools. Specific courses and programmes have also been designed for police and army forces, judges and lawyers, fiscal agents, teachers, and journalists. The following vulnerable groups are also targeted by specific programmes: niñez, teenagers, women, indigenous people, refugees, migrant workers and the elderly. All these courses and programmes are designed and implemented by governmental entities in full partnership with NGOs.
Five human rights awareness raising campaigns took place or are still taking place in the country, through schools, media, workshops, conferences.
Last information received on: November 2001
Contact: Ministry of Education
Ministry for Foreign Affairs
In April 1999, a National Committee for Human Rights Education was established, with the objective to formulate and implement a National Plan of Action for Human Rights Education. The committee was also created to improve relations between the Government, inter-government organizations, NGOs, professionals, individuals and civil society in general. The following are a list of the committee's functions:
to develop and approve a National Plan of Action having held national consultations
to develop and approve regular action plans
to authorize activities, including those that are not expressly included in the Plan of Action
to conduct the activities included in the Plan of Action
to initiate the participation of different sectors of El Salvadorian society
to delegate activities to institutions or organizations that are active in the committee, or request the cooperation of other entities or persons
to receive and authorize the report of activities
to allocate resources so that activities may be conducted
to modify the present guidelines and instructions
to deal with anything that may be considered relevant to the area
The committee is comprised of representatives from the following:
the Ministry of Education
the Ministry of External Affairs
the Procuraduría para la Defensa de los Derechos Humanos
the Executive Technical Unit of the Coordinating Commission of the Justice Sector
the Doctorate program of Human Rights and Peace Education at the University of El Salvador
a consortium of human rights NGOs
the International Defence of the Child (DNI)
the Institute of Women's Studies (CEMUJER)
The Plan of Action is being prepared at present and is expected to be completed by July 2000. The objectives of the plan are:
to consolidate the national reconciliation
to promote the culture of peace based on the respect of human rights and fundamental freedoms
to prevent human rights violations, survey vulnerable sectors and to prevent potential agents from committing human rights violations
to promote democracy, sustainable development, the importance of law and the protection of the environment and peace
The main topics:
basic conceptual aspects of human rights
the rights of victims of crimes and abuse of power
rights of women
rights of children
rights of elderly people
right to a healthy environment
duties of man
the formal education system
staff of the department of justice
the public administration
undertake consultations regarding the human rights education plan of action
undertake analysis of human rights education in El Salvador
promote, stimulate and support development of education in the area of human rights
sensitize the state departments and civil society to human rights
organize a campaign to disseminate information regarding human rights and the culture of peace
set up libraries and documentation centres dealing specifically with human rights
promote a culture of peace
award persons and institutions for their work in the area of human rights and culture of peace
The National Committee for Human Rights Education organized a National Consultation, with the participation of representatives of governmental institutions and non-governmental organizations in July 1999, in order to identify the needs and priorities for human rights education in the country.
Last information received on: 3 July 2000
Contact:Ministry of EducationGuatemala
Guatemala informed the Office of a broad range of activities undertaken by various actors in the country. In particular it affirmed that the signing of the Peace Agreement in 1996 created a new impetus to human rights education. The following most recent initiatives can be highlighted: the Ministry of Education elaborated textbooks for human rights education in schools, developed related training for its staff and courses by correspondence for adults.
The Presidential Commission of Human Rights (COPREDEH) commissioned several human rights publications, organised seminars and radio programmes, and a produced a CD-ROM containing more than 400 human rights and related documents. In addition, it organized seminars for trainers of the Ministry of Education and activities involving the general public, such as seminars and conferences, which totalled 170 in 1998. In 1999, it began the development of a Documentation Centre and the implementation of a General s personnel and judges=Cooperation Agreement with OHCHR to train the Commission and lawyers.
The Procuraduría de los Derechos Humanos, together with the Ministry of Education, is developing a programme for the integration of human rights education at the primary school level. In addition, it is implementing three specific training programmes targeting community leaders, public officials and the Procuraduría's staff.
At the university level, professors training, development of postgraduate programmes, the establishment of human rights chairs and related activities have been assumed, under the coordination of the Consejo Superior Universitario Centroamericano. Most of the activities referred to were carried out with the support of various international organizations and aid agencies, such as UNESCO, OHCHR, UNDP, the European Union and DANIDA.
There is no national committee for HRE in existence, however the Ministry of Education and COPREDEH are working together and envisage the committee being established by July 2001.
Both the Ministry of Education and the Attorney`s Office for Human Rights are currently responsible at the national level for Human Rights Education. COPREDEH has been increasingly active since the beginning of the Decade, principally in the dissemination of information on human rights instruments and contributes in the area of capacity building of civil servants, particularly the armed forces and police. Furthermore, they have circulated information regarding the content and obligations of the Plan of Action for the Decade, and on the declaration and program of action of the Culture of Peace of the UN.
Although no national Plan of Action has been developed, the government of Guatemala has made proposals of educational reform at the national level and have undergone a rethinking of the education system generally, placing emphasis on the teaching of human rights through both formal and informal education. Similarly, at the University level, the curricula are being re-evaluated to integrate the theme of human rights. Two UNICEF experts have been working full-time on the restructuring of the curricula, however there is a need for further technical assistance regarding the remuneration of experts working on the formulation of an education plan.
The establishment of a National Committee to serve as a mechanism of communication between institutions and other human rights organizations is seen as an important task to be met in the next five years of the Decade.
Last information received on: July 14, 2000
Contact: Presidential Commission on Human RightsGuyana
From 1994 to 1997, the National Centre for Educational Resource and Development of the Ministry of Education, the Guyana Human Rights Association and Amnesty International/Guyana Section developed the Programme "Human Rights Education for Citizenship", for primary and secondary schools.
It was adopted in the form of three cycles of national workshops. The aims of these workshops were the training of teachers and other school personnel, and curriculum and materials development. In addition, campaigns to sensitize parents and the general public regarding human rights education were developed.
In 1999, the Teachers' Manual for Caribbean Schools was published as a result of the project, and was launched during the First Caribbean Human Rights Education Conference for Chief Education Officers and Curriculum Specialists (Trinidad & Tobago, April 1999).
Last information received on: September 1999
Contact: Ministry of EducationHaïti
There is no national committee for HRE in existence, however it is expected that one will be established by the incoming government.
Rather than one particular institution holding the sole responsibility for human rights education, it appears that various government departments engage themselves with the issues.
The failure to implement a national HRE Plan of Action in the framework of the Decade is attributed to the socio- political crisis that has affected the country since 1996. However, it has been noted that during this time, different national entities have nonetheless developed programmes in the area of human rights education. Most notably the following institutions: MCI, MENJS, MJSP, MCFAG and the Ministry of Social Affairs (MAS).
Last information received on: 26 June 2000
Contact: Office of the Prime MinisterMexico
On the initiative of the National Human Rights Commission, and in cooperation with various governmental agencies, a broad series of activities were undertaken in 1997 1998, including:
· training courses for public officials (immigration officers, police, security forces, prison officials, armed forces, health personnel)
· courses on the rights of particularly vulnerable groups, in cooperation with those groups (women, indigenous peoples, children, migrants, prisoners, persons with disabilities and with HIV/AIDS)
· within the formal education system (including higher education and vocational training institutes), integration of human rights in the curricula, training of trainers, conferences and other activities
· a public information campaign (including the development of the Documentation Centre of the National Commission, television and radio programmes, the development of the Commission Website, national awards and various publications)
The Government of Mexico informed OHCHR that as part of the 1993 educational reform, human rights principles have been infused in the primary and secondary school curricula, in different subjects such as history (political rights), geography (environment related rights, ethnical diversity, biodiversity) and natural sciences (right to life, health related rights). Such integration has been in accordance with the age of the children and with an approach relevant to their daily life. Since the 1999-2000 school year, a course of civic and ethics studies, which aims at raising awareness among teenagers on risks which can affect the free exercise of their rights, has been introduced. Furthermore, the Ministry of Public Education has developed materials for students and for teachers, which address human rights issues, and has revised textbooks and teaching guides accordingly.
The Government of Mexico reported of a series of initiatives, including: the establishment in 2001 of a working group on human rights education involving governmental and non-governmental representatives, in order to strengthen human rights education nationally, as part of a broader cooperative initiative in the area of human rights; the request, in August 2002, of the Mexican President to the Secretary of Public Education to set up a national programme on human rights education; and the signature, still in 2002, of an agreement between the government and UNESCO to implement a series of human rights educational activities including surveys, research and organization of seminars, in collaboration with the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México and the Universidad Iberoamericana.
Last information received on: December 2002
Contact: National Commission on Human RightsNicaragua
Nicaragua reported the inclusion of human rights, as contained in international, regional and national human rights documents, in pre-school and school curricula, as a cross-cutting issue and in specific subjects such as moral and civic education; related programmes involve also teachers and parents. In secondary schools, "student governments" have been established so as to prepare students to civic and political responsibilities. Nicaragua has also been promoting democracy education since 1990 through training sessions for teachers and social workers, both on principles as well as appropriate teaching methodologies; elaboration of teaching materials; organization of drawing and essay competitions; strengthening of governmental bodies responsible for this area; development of extra-curricular activities; and other public awareness activities, for instance through the media. Educational programmes are also specifically elaborated on the rights of specific groups such as people living with HIV/AIDS and the disabled.
Last information received on: 19 September 2002
Contact: Ministry of Education, Office of Human Values Panama
Panama, in cooperation with the Inter-American Institute for Human Rights, UNESCO and DANIDA, has developed a comprehensive national plan of action for human rights education in schools. It includes:
a survey on the state of human rights education in schools
a revision of textbooks
training of teachers
the establishment of both a network of human rights trainers and of a National Commission to Promote Human Rights Education and Learning.
An agreement between the Ministry of Education and the Inter-American Institute of Human Rights was signed, concerning technical cooperation for human rights education related activities. The Ministry of Education and the Panamanian Electoral Tribunal have concluded a civic electoral education agreement, with the aim of fostering democracy among young Panamanians through education.
A five-year community project was initiated in 1995, with the support of Tolerance and EducationAUNESCO and the Celestìn Freineth Institute, entitled , as part of the Unitedfor Democracy, Human Rights, Peace, and Development Nations Year of Tolerance.
Last information received on: 1995
Contact: Ministry of EducationPeru
The National Council for Human Rights reported on initiatives undertaken within:
the school system (in particular, the scope and content of the New Curricular Proposal for secondary schools),
the Ministry of Justice (events targeted at administration of justice officials, such as judges and lawyers, and at teachers and students; preparation of publications)
the Ministry of Defence and the Interior (training courses for armed forces and police, and the elaboration of related materials; and the development of specific joint programmes with NGOs, UNICEF and the Ministry of Education for the training of governmental officials on the rights of the child).
In May 2002, Peru adopted Law No. 27741, which establishes a national human rights educational policy. The law provides that human rights education is compulsory at all levels of education, whether civil or military, in Spanish and also in various indigenous languages. The law also requests the executive power to develop a related national plan of action. As a follow-up, all educational establishments, including universities and police and military training institutions, will have six months to revise their curricula in order to comply with the law.
Last information received on: 24 June 2002
Contact Details: National Council on Human RightsTrinidad & Tobago
There is no national committee for HRE in the country. However, human rights education is being developed by the following Ministries, which undertake specific activities:
Ministry of Education:
includes human rights education as part of its Social Studies curriculum in secondary schools; a relevant booklet has been produced in this regard
Ministry of Communications and Information Technology:
disseminates information on human rights to the general public through TV and radio broadcasts, including retransmission of the UN Secretary Generals speeches on occasions commemorating human rights issues
Ministry of Community Empowerment, Sport and Customer Affairs:
chairs an inter-ministerial National Plan of Action Committee, which strives for the attainment of the goals of the 1990 World Summit for Children; relevant Divisions have developed educational programmes (including workshops and lectures) on children's rights, on women's rights, gender-based violence, and the use of drugs
Ministry of Health:
published a draft Patient's Charter of Rights, and also develops a National AIDS Programme, which includes public education aspects
Ministry of Labour, Manpower, Development and Industrial Relations:
works inter alia on child labour issues, together with the ILO Office in the country
A Human Rights Unit was established in 1998 at the Ministry of the Attorney General and Legal Affairs. The aims of the Unit are to promote the rights contained in the treaties to which the country is a party and to prepare the periodic reports that have to be submitted to the relevant UN Treaty Bodies. The Unit is composed of six persons, four professionals and two non-professionals.
The Government is planning to launch a Children's Authority, which was created by statute, and which will play the role of advocate for the rights of children in the country.
The Government works in partnership with UNESCO towards human rights education at all levels of the educational system, through the UNESCO Associated Schools Projects. Activities consist of workshops with children and parents, and distribution of leaflets, information and documentation on children's rights, including copies of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
On 10 December 1999 (Human Rights Day), the Government held a commemoration at the closing ceremony of a one-week workshop on human rights reporting, co-organized with the ILO Training Centre of Turin.
The Government emphasizes the role played by the civil society, including NGOs, in raising awareness on human rights issues; grants are regularly allocated to such entities so as to empower them in their activities (organization of workshops, dissemination of human rights related information).
Last information received on: November 2001
No contact details. Venezuela
Human rights education is being introduced as an integral part of the national human rights plan. It is developed as a joint effort of governmental authorities, non governmental organizations and the National Commission of Human Rights. An inter-sectorial committee developed the plan, in conjunction with the government and civil society. Technical assistance was given to assist in the development of the plan.
Workshops and regional meetings of teachers are organized by the Ministry of Education in cooperation with various NGOs, such as Amnesty International/Venezuela, the Red de Apoyo para la Justicia y la Paz and the Programa Venezolano de Educación Acción en Derechos Humanos (PROVEA).
Relevant materials (such as the Valija Didáctica: Educando en Valores developed by Amnesty International/Venezuela) are disseminated in all schools.
An International Seminar on Human Rights, in which representatives of different sectors and NGOs involved in educational activities participated, was organized in July 1998.
The Ministry of Education informed OHCHR that various school programmes, activities and educational materials on the rights of the child have been developed in cooperation with UNICEF and the Centros Comunitarios de Aprendizaje (CECODAP).
There is no national committee for HRE, however the National Commission of Human Rights, which was set up in 1997, is working on the establishment of a national committee.
The Defensoría del Pueblo and relevant governmental entities regularly organize activities aimed at raising awareness on human rights: fora, seminars, training sessions and workshops. The target audiences of such activities are: judges and lawyers, civil servants, and police officers. Specific programmes and activities are carried out for vulnerable groups: children, women, indigenous groups, refugees and prisoners. Numerous information campaigns and workshops were held on human rights in general, and on children's and teenagers' rights.
Last information received on: November 2001
Department of Environment, Education and Community Participation / Ministry of Education