Education : A Tool for the Elimination of Human Rights Violations
"Without education, we cannot see beyond ourselves and our narrow surroundings to the reality of global interdependence. Without education, we cannot realize how peoples of other races and religions share the same dreams, the same hopes. Without education, we cannot recognize the universility of human aims and aspirations."
— United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan
The need for human rights education has been emphasized in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international documents and treaties. Provisions from these instruments state that human rights education consists of efforts to build a universal culture of human rights through the imparting of knowledge and skills and the moulding of attitudes. Such education should be directed towards :
- Strengthening respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms;
- Fully developing the human personality and its sense of dignity;
- Promoting understanding, tolerance, gender equality and friendship among all nations, indigenous peoples and racial, national, ethnic, religious and linguistic groups;
Enabling everyone to participate effectively in a free society;
- Furthering United Nations activities for maintaining peace.
Education Objectives Come into Focus
A growing consensus holds that human rights education can both help reduce human rights violations and contribute to building free, just peaceful societies. Human rights, as inscribed in the Universal Declarations, form the common language of humanity.
The objectives of the United Nations in its human rights educational efforts is to teach the "common language of humanity" to people everywhere. The Organization strives to make humankind fluent in the vocabulary of human rights, and to enable people everywhere — student and farmer, police office rand soldiers, cabinet minister and teacher — to apply that vocabulary and meaning to their daily conduct. Through education, the UN proposes to build a universal culture of human rights.
Through the years, United Nations efforts to promote and encourage respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, without regard to race, sex, language or religion, have ranged from standard-setting to monitoring, from facilitating international dialogue and cooperation to providing technical assistance, and from commissioning technical studies to deploying large-scale peace keeping missions; the universal stands, international mechanisms, and an ethical and legal foundation of rights and responsibilities of nations and peoples.
There are three dimensions to the promotion of human rights through education :
- Knowledge — providing information about human rights and the mechanisms that exist to protect those rights;
- Values, beliefs and attitudes — promoting a human rights culture through the development of these processes; and
- Action — encouraging people to defend human rights and prevent human rights abuses.
Indian Institute of Human Rights Photo Gallery