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UN Declaration on right to know about human rights

UN Declaration on right to know about human rights

‘Everyone has the right to know, seek and receive information about all human rights and fundamental freedoms and should have access to human rights education’, according to article 1 of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Education and Training adopted on 19 Dec 2011.

In adopting the Declaration by unanimous vote the UN General Assembly was ‘motivated by the desire to send a strong signal to the international community to strengthen all efforts in human rights education and training through a collective commitment by all stakeholders’.

Work on the Declaration followed the 2005 World Summit in which Heads of State and Government supported the promotion of human rights education (HRE) and learning at all levels, including through the implementation of the World Programme for Human Rights Education.

The Declaration affirms that HRE is aimed as the development of ‘a universal culture of human rights’, and ‘encompasses education

(a)    about human rights, which includes providing knowledge and understanding of human rights norms and principles, the values that underpin them and the mechanisms for their protection;
(b)    through human rights, which includes learning and teaching in a way that respects the rights of both educators and learners;
(c)    for human rights, which includes empowering persons to enjoy and exercise their rights and to respect and uphold the rights of others.’ (article 2)

These are the principles that underpin the work of partners in New Zealand’s Human Rights in Education initiative – the sort of collaborative HRE effort envisaged by the World Programme and the Declaration.

The New Zealand Curriculum launched in 2007 requires respect for human rights to be ‘encouraged, modelled, and explored by students’. Unfortunately, according to the initiative's managing partner, the Human Rights in Education Trust, few other steps have been taken by the Government or Ministry of Education to make HRE an inherent and explicit characteristic of New Zealand education.

Last Updated (Wednesday, 21 December 2011 14:50)