United Nations

A/50/698


General Assembly

Distr. GENERAL  

27 October 1995

ORIGINAL:
ENGLISH


Fiftieth session
Agenda item 112 (b)


           HUMAN RIGHTS QUESTIONS:  HUMAN RIGHTS QUESTIONS, INCLUDING
           ALTERNATIVE APPROACHES FOR IMPROVING THE EFFECTIVE ENJOYMENT
OF HUMAN RIGHTS AND FUNDAMENTAL FREEDOMS

Note by the Secretary-General


  The Secretary-General  has the  honour to transmit  to the members  of the
General Assembly  the report  of the  United Nations  High Commissioner  for
Human Rights  on the  implementation of the  Plan of Action  for the  United
Nations  Decade for  Human  Rights  Education, in  accordance  with  General
Assembly resolution 49/184 of 23 December 1994.

























95-32767 (E)   081195/...
*9532767*
ANNEX

         Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
         on the implementation of the Plan of Action for the United
Nations Decade for Human Rights Education


CONTENTS

  Paragraphs  Page

I.  BACKGROUND ...........................................1 - 123

  A.  World Conference on Human Rights .................2 - 53

  B.  General Assembly:  forty-ninth session ...........6 - 94

  C.  Commission on Human Rights:  fifty-first session .10 - 114

  D.  Plan of Action for the United Nations Decade for
      Human Rights Education ...........................     125

II.  IMPLEMENTATION OF THE PLAN OF ACTION FOR THE UNITED
  NATIONS DECADE FOR HUMAN RIGHTS EDUCATION ............13 - 415

  A.  Publicizing and seeking support for the Plan of
      Action ...........................................13 - 175

  B.  Information on current activities ................18 - 417

III.  FUTURE ACTIVITIES ....................................42 - 4914



I.  BACKGROUND


1.  The question of the proclamation of a decade for human rights  education
has been discussed at  several sessions of  the General Assembly and of  the
Commission on Human Rights.   In March 1993, the Commission on Human  Rights
1/  recommended that  the  General  Assembly  take appropriate  measures  to
declare  a decade for human rights education,  following the recommendations
of the  International Congress on Education  and Democracy  organized by the
United Nations Educational,  Scientific, and Cultural Organization  (UNESCO)
and the Centre for Human Rights in Montreal, Canada, in March 1993.


A.  World Conference on Human Rights

2.   At the World  Conference on  Human Rights,  convened in Vienna  in June
1993, the issue of  human rights education  was a major point of  discussion
at all stages of  the preparatory process as well as during the  Conference.
In  its  Vienna Declaration  and  Programme  of  Action,  2/ the  Conference
reaffirmed that,  in accordance  with  international instruments,  including
the Universal Declaration of Human Rights  and the International Covenant on
Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, States  were obligated to ensure  that
education   was  aimed  at   strengthening  respect  for  human  rights  and
fundamental freedoms.   Education should  promote understanding,  tolerance,
peace and  friendly relations  among nations,  and all  racial or  religious
groups, as  well as encourage the  development of  United Nations activities
in pursuance of those objectives.

3.  The  World Conference declared that human rights education, training and
public information were essential for stable  and harmonious relations among
communities.   It  called on  States to  aim  at eradicating  illiteracy, to
direct   education  towards  the   development  of  the  individual  and  to
strengthen  respect for  human rights  and  fundamental  freedoms.   It also
recommended that human rights, humanitarian law,  democracy and the rule  of

law should  be included  as  subjects in  all formal  and informal  learning
institutions.

4.   The World Conference further  recommended that  States develop specific
programmes and  strategies to ensure widespread  human rights education  and
the dissemination of public information, taking  into account the World Plan
of  Action on Education for  Human Rights and  Democracy adopted at Montreal
in  March  1993,  and  particularly  the   human  rights  needs  of   women.
Intergovernmental  organizations, national institutions and non-governmental
organizations (NGOs) were called upon to assist Governments in those tasks.

5.   In  addition,  the  World Conference  called for  strengthening  of the
current World  Public Information Campaign for  Human Rights  carried out by
the  United  Nations.    The  advisory  services  and  technical  assistance
programmes  of  the  United  Nations  system   should  be  able  to  respond
immediately to requests from  States for educational and training activities
in the field  of human rights, as well  as provide for  the special training
of groups such as military  forces and law enforcement and health personnel.
Finally,  the World  Conference stated  that  the  proclamation of  a United
Nations decade  for human rights education should be considered  in order to
promote, encourage and focus the above-mentioned educational activities.


B.  General Assembly:  forty-ninth session

6.   Pursuant to the suggestion  made by the  World Conference, the  General
Assembly,  in its resolution 49/184  of 23 December 1994, proclaimed the 10-
year period beginning on  1 January 1995 the United Nations Decade for Human
Rights Education,  and welcomed the  Plan of  Action for the  United Nations
Decade for Human Rights Education, 1995-2004 contained  in the report of the
SecretaryGeneral.  3/  The Assembly invited Governments  to submit comments,
with  a  view  to supplementing  the  Plan  of  Action,  and  requested  the
Secretary-General to  submit proposals for that purpose, taking into account
the views expressed by Governments.

7.  The General Assembly also appealed to  all Governments to contribute  to
the  implementation of the  Plan of  Action and to step  up their efforts to
eradicate illiteracy and  to direct  education towards the full  development
of the human  personality and the strengthening  of respect for human rights
and  fundamental  freedoms.    The  Assembly  urged  governmental  and  non-
governmental educational  agencies to intensify  their efforts to  establish
and implement  programmes of human rights  education, as  recommended in the
Plan of Action, in particular by  preparing and implementing national  plans
for human  rights education.   It further requested the  United Nations High
Commissioner for Human Rights to coordinate  the implementation of the  Plan
of Action.

8.   In the same  resolution, the General  Assembly invited the  specialized
agencies  and  United   Nations  programmes  to  contribute,  within   their
respective  spheres of  competence, to  the  implementation  of the  Plan of
Action.  It further called upon a wide range of NGOs and others to  increase
their involvement  in formal and non-formal  education in  human rights, and
requested the existing human rights monitoring  bodies to place emphasis  on
the implementation  by Member  States of their  international obligation  to
promote human rights education.

9.  The Assembly  requested the Centre for  Human Rights of  the Secretariat
and  the Commission  on Human  Rights,  in  cooperation with  Member States,
human  rights  treaty-monitoring  bodies,   other  appropriate  bodies   and
competent NGOs, to support efforts of  the United Nations High  Commissioner
for  Human  Rights  to  coordinate the  Plan  of Action;  and  requested the
Secretary-General to  bring the resolution to  the attention  of all members
of  the   international  community   and  to   intergovernmental  and   non-
governmental  organizations concerned with  human rights and education.  The
Assembly also  requested the  Secretary-General to  consider establishing  a
voluntary fund  for human rights education,  with special  provision for the

support  of   the  human  rights  education   activities  of   NGOs,  to  be
administered by the Centre for Human Rights.


C.  Commission on Human Rights:  fifty-first session

10.  At its fifty-first session, in resolution 1995/47 of  3 March 1995, the
Commission  on Human Rights  called upon  all Governments  to contribute, in
cooperation  with NGOs, educators  and the  media, to  the implementation of
the Plan  of Action  and in  particular to  consider the establishment  of a
national  focal point  for human  rights  education,  the development  of an
action-oriented national  plan for human  rights education  and the creation
of a  national resource and training  centre for human  rights education, as
envisaged  in the Plan of Action; Governments were  also invited to transmit
to  the  High  Commissioner  for  Human  Rights  comments  with  a  view  to
supplementing the  Plan of  Action, and  the Commission  requested the  High
Commissioner to  submit  at  its  fifty-second  session  his  proposals  for
supplementing the  Plan of Action, taking  into account  the views submitted
by Governments.

11.   The  Commission further  requested  the  High Commissioner,  with  the
assistance of  the Centre for  Human Rights and in  cooperation with UNESCO,
to  carry  out  the  survey  on  human  rights  education  and  prepare  the
preliminary report provided for in the Plan of  Action as soon as  possible,
and  to  convene,  at  the  appropriate  time,  the  international  planning
conference for the Decade.


              D.  Plan of Action for the United Nations Decade for
                  Human Rights Education

12.  The  Plan of  Action submitted  to the General  Assembly at its  forty-
ninth session was the result of  extensive consultations with the Commission
on Human Rights, Member States, human  rights treaty bodies, the specialized
agencies,  other  appropriate bodies,  and  competent  NGOs  which had  been
carried out by the Centre for Human Rights. 4/  The  Plan of Action has five
objectives:    the  assessment  of  needs  and  formulation  of  strategies;
building and  strengthening human  rights  education programmes;  developing
educational   material;   strengthening   the   mass   media;   and   global
dissemination of  the  Universal Declaration  of  Human  Rights.   The  Plan
focuses  on stimulating  and supporting  national and  local activities  and
initiatives  and   is  built  upon  the   idea  of   a  partnership  between
Governments,  international organizations,  NGOs, professional associations,
individuals and large segments of civil society.


        II.  IMPLEMENTATION OF THE PLAN OF ACTION FOR THE UNITED NATIONS
             DECADE FOR HUMAN RIGHTS EDUCATION

A.  Publicizing and seeking support for the Plan of Action

13.  The United Nations High Commissioner  for Human Rights attaches special
importance to  that part  of his  mandate entrusting  him with  coordinating
relevant United Nations  education and public information programmes in  the
field of  human rights.   The  resolutions of  the General Assembly  and the
Commission on Human Rights  relating to the United  Nations Decade for Human
Rights Education and the Plan of  Action place specific responsibilities  on
the High Commissioner and the Centre for Human  Rights in the implementation
of the  Plan of  Action.   It has  been a  principal objective  of the  High
Commissioner to mobilize widespread support for  the Decade and the carrying
out of the activities foreseen under the  Plan of Action.  For  that purpose
a  pamphlet  containing   the  Plan  of   Action  and   succinct  background
information has been prepared for wide distribution.

 14.  The High Commissioner, during his visits to countries, emphasizes  the
importance of  human rights  education and  encourages national  initiatives

within the  framework of  the Plan  of Action.   The High  Commissioner took
part  in the  discussion on  human  rights  and education  organized by  the
Committee on  Economic, Social  and Cultural  Rights and  has  met with  the
Independent Commission  on Human  Rights Education in  New York.   The  High
Commissioner also addressed the  meeting of IUS PRIMI VIRI, held in Rome  in
October 1994, on  the proclamation  of the United  Nations Decade for  Human
Rights Education.

15.  In  order to generate support for the  Decade at the highest levels  of
government, the  High Commissioner addressed letters  to the  Heads of State
or Government  of Member States  and observer States of  the United Nations.
In his letters, the  High Commissioner stated his  belief that an investment
today  in human rights education would be repaid many times in the future in
stronger, more  prosperous and peaceful societies  and achieving that  noble
goal would  require leadership,  in particular  from the  highest levels  of
government.   The High  Commissioner  also sought  support for  establishing
national committees for human rights education,  as focal points for  Decade
activities; he asked that achievable  goals be set and that the intellectual
and material resources necessary to reach them  be provided.  Notes verbales
were also  addressed to all Governments  drawing their  attention to General
Assembly  resolution  49/184 and  Commission  for  Human  Rights  resolution
1995/47, and  soliciting comments with  a view to supplementing  the Plan of
Action.   In  addition, attention  was  drawn  to the  Commission's specific
requests  to  Governments  to consider  in  particular,  in accordance  with
national conditions, the establishment of a  national focal point for  human
rights education,  the development and  implementation of an  actionoriented
national  plan for  human rights  education and the  creation of  a national
resource and training  centre for human rights education, as foreseen in the
Plan of Action.  No suggestions were received for supplementing the Plan  of
Action.

16.    The  High  Commissioner  also  addressed  letters  to  United Nations
specialized    agencies    and   programmes,    regional   intergovernmental
organizations,  human rights  treaty  bodies, institutes  of  research,  the
United Nations University and other organizations,  transmitting the Plan of
Action, encouraging  each organization  or body to  contribute to  achieving
the  Plan's  objectives  and  seeking  to   establish  a  solid  basis   for
cooperation.  In the High Commissioner's  view, progress in promoting  human
rights education  would  depend  in large  measure on  the  strength of  the
partnership  that  could  be  built  up  between  all  those  interested  in
promoting human rights education.

17.  The Assistant Secretary-General for  Human Rights addressed letters  to
NGOs drawing  their attention  to the  relevant resolutions  of the  General
Assembly and  the Commission  on Human  Rights relating  to the Decade,  and
inviting them to submit proposals for the implementation of the Decade.


 B.  Information on current activities

1.  States

18.  The  Governments of Italy  and South Africa  have provided  information
illustrating activities  undertaken at the national  level in the  framework
of the Decade.

19.  The Government of Italy pointed out two initiatives that it had  taken.
First,  in December 1993, the country had hosted  the European Conference to
Launch  the Decade  for Human  Rights Education,  held in  Rome in  December
1993,  with  a  view  to sharing  experience  at  the  European  level;  the
proceedings  of  the Conference  were  published  in  1995.   Secondly,  the
Government had promoted the publication  of an "Enquiry on  the teaching and
information concerning  human rights  in Italy" conducted  by the  Committee
for  the Defence  of Human  Rights of  the Accademia  Nazionale  dei Lincei,
which had  been completed in 1994.   The "Enquiry"  contains an analysis  of
the way  in  which teaching  and  information  concerning human  rights  are

carried  out in Italy at all  levels of schools  and universities and in the
various professional categories.

20.   The Government  of South  Africa described  its action plan  to combat
racial  prejudice and  racial  discrimination;  it affirmed  that  the  full
resources of the nation's educational system  would be mobilized in  support
of  the practice of  fundamental rights,  freedoms and responsibilities, and
the  Ministry of Education  would become  associated with  the Commission on
Human  Rights to  establish a  human rights  culture  in  the country.   The
Government  also  described  the  general  legislative  measures  taken   to
eliminate racial discrimination  in education, the special measures taken to
ensure equality and to help the  economically disadvantaged, and pointed out
its commitment to the  goal of providing access to general education for all
children, funded by the State at an acceptable level of quality.


2.  United Nations Secretariat

(a)  Centre for Human Rights

21.  As  envisaged in the  Plan of  Action, the Centre  for Human Rights  is
increasing  its   involvement  in   human  rights   education  through   its
information programme, including  the World Public Information Campaign  for
Human Rights, and through the Programme  of Advisory Services and  Technical
Assistance in the Field  of Human Rights.   The activities undertaken  under
the  two programmes  are described  in some  detail in  the reports  of  the
Secretary-General to  the Commission on Human  Rights on  the development of
public information  activities in the field  of human  rights, including the
World  Public Information  Campaign for  Human  Rights,  5/ and  on advisory
services in the field of human rights. 6/

22.   Detailed  information about  the activities  of the  Centre for  Human
Rights  for  the promotion  of  human  rights  education  was also  provided
extensively in the report of the  Secretary-General to the General  Assembly
on the preparation  of a  plan of  action for  a United  Nations decade  for
human rights education. 7/

  (b)  Department of Public Information

23.   The  United Nations  Department  of Public  Information is  planning a
number  of activities to  raise public awareness  of basic  human rights, to
provide and broaden substantive knowledge of key human rights  issues and to
mobilize  greater support for  action to  promote human  rights worldwide by
Governments and  NGOs. It will continue to produce printed material on human
rights (brochures,  fact-sheets, United  Nations documents,  etc.) which  is
distributed worldwide  to the  media, NGOs  and the  public in general  in a
variety  of  languages  through  the  network   of  the  67  United  Nations
information centres and  services, and electronically through the  Internet.
Within the context of  the Decade, the Department will issue, before the end
of  1995, an  illustrated wall  chart "United  Nations and Human  Rights", a
concise brochure  describing the United Nations human rights mechanisms, and
an  illustrated  poster/brochure  containing  the  text  of  the   Universal
Declaration of Human Rights.

24.  Information  about the role of the United Nations and its activities is
also  disseminated   through  radio  and   television  programmes   produced
regularly by  the Department in  a variety of  languages.   In this respect,
several "UN  in Action"  television programmes  produced for  the CNN  World
Report  (in English  and in  additional  languages for  wider  distribution)
featured  issues related to human  rights.  Radio documentaries will also be
developed  throughout the Decade,  as part  of the  regular 15-minute weekly
radio series  the Department produces in  15 languages.   Press conferences,
briefing, seminars  and round tables are  other activities  organized by the
Department to inform the  media about the work of  the United Nations.   For
instance, on 9 December 1994, to launch the United Nations Decade for  Human
Rights  Education,  the Department,  in  collaboration  with the  Centre for

Human Rights, organized a panel discussion  at Headquarters on human  rights
issues, with the participation of the  United Nations High Commissioner  for
Human  Rights.   A round  table for  journalists on  the role of  the United
Nations and emerging human rights issues  will be organized at  Headquarters
in  connection  with  the General  Assembly's  discussion  of  human  rights
questions in November 1995.

25.   With regard to  future activities in the framework  of the Decade, the
Department  suggested that  it could  produce educational  videos and  study
guides on  human rights  themes for use  in primary,  secondary schools  and
universities; it  could collaborate with the  Centre for Human Rights in the
implementation of the Decade  at the local level,  in particular in schools,
through coordinated  action of the  United Nations  information centres  and
services, which will also  be asked to conduct a survey of existing  printed
local  language  versions  of the  Universal  Declaration  of Human  Rights.
Finally, the  Department will continue to  publish the  Declaration in local
and  indigenous languages,  and other  human  rights  material, such  as the
revised version of the publication Human Rights:  Questions and Answers. 8/


 3.  Human rights treaty bodies

(a)  Chairpersons meeting

26.   During their  sixth meeting, held  in Geneva  from 18  to 22 September
1995, the chairpersons of  the human rights treaty bodies drew attention  to
the importance  of their contribution  to the Decade.   In  that regard, the
chairpersons recommended that each treaty body,  in its examination of State
reports,   assiduously  investigate   compliance  by   States  parties  with
obligations regarding education and the  provision of public  information on
human rights.  They affirmed that  they should,  inter alia,  inquire as  to
whether in States parties the translation  and dissemination of human rights
instruments had been  promoted and whether satisfactory training  programmes
for  public  officials  had  been  put  in  place.   The  chairpersons  also
recommended that treaty bodies elaborate reporting  guidelines and offer  to
individual  States  concrete  suggestions  on  the  implementation  of   the
obligations  they  had assumed  regarding  education  and the  provision  of
public information on human rights.

(b)  Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination

27.   The Committee on the  Elimination of  Racial Discrimination considered
the Plan of Action  for the decade  during its forty-sixth session in  March
1995 and  adopted a  contribution to the  Decade. 9/   The Committee  stated
that it  would continue to  monitor the implementation  of article  7 of the
Convention on the Elimination of All  Forms of Racial Discrimination,  which
dealt  with  education. The  Committee  also  pointed  out  that there  were
certain features  of racial discrimination which  were specific  to it, such
as the dissemination of doctrines of  racial superiority, and expressed  its
belief that teaching about racial discrimination  could be presented as part
of teaching  about discrimination  in general,  including discrimination  on
other grounds.  The  Committee also supported  the proposals in the Plan  of
Action for  information campaigns  and popular  education,  and stated  that
education in human  rights would best be  arranged within institutes of  law
and  political science.   The Committee  further supported  training for the
occupational  groups  listed  in  the  Plan  of Action  and  stated  that it
inquired  about  such  training  during  its  consideration  of  State party
reports.    It  also  drew  attention  to  its  general  recommendation XIII
concerning  the   training  of  law   enforcement  officials,  and   general
recommendation  XVII  on  the  establishment  of  national  institutions  to
facilitate the implementation of the Convention.

(c)  Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights

28.  The Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the treaty  body
responsible  for  the  implementation  of  the  International  Covenant   on

Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, devoted  its day of general discussion
of its  eleventh session  (December 1994)  to human  rights education.   The
discussion was  attended by the United  Nations High  Commissioner for Human
Rights  and participants  from State  parties, treaty  bodies,  other United
Nations  organs  and   specialized  agencies   and  various   international,
intergovernmental  and  non-governmental  organizations.   The  participants
informed  the Committee  members of  the  action  being undertaken  by their
organizations  in  the field  of  human  rights  education.    The need  for
concerted action in promoting human rights  education was emphasized and the
idea  of launching  a  United Nations  decade  for human  rights  was  fully
supported.  The important role that  treaty-based bodies, and in  particular
the  Committee  on Economic,  Social  and  Cultural  Rights,  could play  in
monitoring  implementation   of  recommendations  related  to  human  rights
education,  was  emphasized.    It  was  suggested  that  the  human  rights
education component  be integrated into  relevant programmes of  specialized
agencies and  the United  Nations organs,  so that  they could  play a  more
active role in promoting, through human  rights education, universal culture
of human  rights.   The  Committee  decided to  defer until  its  thirteenth
session, to be held  in November 1995, adoption  of its conclusions from the
day of general discussion.

(d)  Committee on the Rights of the Child

29.  The Committee  on the Rights of the  Child, in its dialogue with States
Parties, deals  with the  articles of  the Convention  on the Rights  of the
Child relating  to  education.    In  recent  concluding  observations,  the
Committee  has drawn attention to the United Nations Decade for Human Rights
Education  encouraging  the State  Party concerned  to  consider using  that
opportunity to promote  the incorporation of  education about the Convention
in  curricula  for schoolchildren,  it  being  understood that  the children
would  be  taught about  their  rights  by  suitably  trained and  qualified
teachers.


4.  United Nations specialized agencies and programmes

(a)United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization

30.   In  view of the  survey to  be undertaken  by the  United Nations High
Commissioner  for  Human  Rights on  existing  human  rights  programmes and
initiatives  at the  international,  regional and  national  levels,  UNESCO
noted that since  1986 it had  had a permanent system of  reporting on steps
taken by Member States to apply  the Recommendation concerning Education for
International Understanding,  Cooperation and Peace  and Education  relating
to Human  Rights and Fundamental Freedoms  (Paris, 1974).   National reports
were submitted every six  years on the basis  of a questionnaire that should
include questions concerning  human rights education.   According to UNESCO,
the questionnaire might serve as an advance survey on existing human  rights
programmes  and  initiatives to  be  carried out  in  the framework  of  the
Decade.

31.   UNESCO underlined two tools in its sphere of competence which could be
useful in the framework of the Decade:

  (a)    The  Declaration  and  Draft  Integrated  Framework  of  Action  on
Education for  Peace, Human Rights and  Democracy proposed  by the Ministers
of Education of the UNESCO member States at  the forty-fourth session of the
International  Conference  on  Education  (Geneva,  October  1994),  to   be
considered by the General Conference of  UNESCO at its twenty-eighth session
(Paris, OctoberNovember 1995).

  (b)   The UNESCO Advisory  Committee on Education  for Peace, Human Rights
and Democracy established  in 1995, responsible for following up,  promoting
and supervising the implementation of the World Plan of  Action on Education
for Human  Rights and  Democracy (Montreal,  1993) and  the Declaration  and
Draft Integrated  Framework of Action on  Education for  Peace, Human Rights

and Democracy.   The  first session  of the  Committee (Paris, April  1995),
composed of  experts, was of the  opinion that a  compilation of all  policy
documents in the field  of education, including the  Plan of Action  for the
Decade and  the contribution of  UNESCO to the  Decade, should be  monitored
systematically and comprehensively.

32.  UNESCO has recently prepared  teaching and guiding materials, including
the "International  practical  guide on  the  implementation  of the  UNESCO
Recommendation   concerning   Education  for   International  Understanding,
Cooperation   and  Peace   and  Education  relating  to   Human  Rights  and
Fundamental  Freedoms", the  manuscript  of an  "Educational Art  Booklet on
Human Rights", "Guidelines and criteria for  the evaluation and revision  of
curricula,  textbooks and other educational materials from  the viewpoint of
international  education", "La  culture  democratique:   un  defi  pour  les
ecoles", and  "A new partnership: indigenous  people and  the United Nations
system".   The organization  is planning to prepare,  for the biennium 1996-
1997, a classroom manual for primary and secondary schools.

33.   Finally,  UNESCO underlined  the  importance  of its  two  educational
networks,  i.e.   the  Associated  Schools   Project  (which  promotes   the
introduction  of  human rights  in  school  curricula  and  teacher-training
programmes, and included, in  September 1995, more  than 3,200  institutions
in 124 countries) and the International  Textbook Research Network, aimed at
promoting exchanges  of innovative experiences in textbook research in order
to  improve  the  textbooks  from  the  viewpoint  of  peace,  human rights,
intercultural  dialogue, tolerance and  democracy.   In September  1995, the
Network included more  than 200 participating institutions from all  regions
of the world.   A third network, of  human rights chairs  at the  university
level, is currently being established.

(b)  World Bank

34.   In  its  response, the  World  Bank  pointed  out that  it  considered
education to  be one  of its  strategic priorities,  since it was  a crucial
means of  enabling the poor both  to contribute to  development and to  take
advantage  of the  opportunities  that  development created.    Within  that
framework, human  rights education  was important  to make  people aware  of
their rights  and learn  to respect the  rights of others.   Therefore,  the
World Bank supported the goals and the guiding  principles of the Decade and
was prepared  to support the  efforts of  those member countries  that would
seek the Bank's assistance in implementing them.  It also welcomed the  call
in  the Plan of  Action for  more systematic  coordination among specialized
agencies, regional  organizations, national institutions  and NGOs, and  the
assignment  of that  responsibility to  the High  Commissioner;  coordinated
international action in the  area of human rights  education would result in
more effective  assistance to individual  countries without weakening  their
sense of "ownership" of curricula reforms.

(c)  United Nations Development Programme

35.   The  United Nations  Development Programme  (UNDP) stated  that it had
included  human rights in  its training  at all levels, and  was preparing a
study on the contribution  of UNDP development work to the promotion of  all
human rights, to  be used to  further sensitize its  staff, as  well as  its
development partners,  to human rights  issues.  It envisaged  that over the
next few years its  work would concentrate on  poverty eradication, in order
to assist  countries in their efforts  to achieve social  development.  UNDP
was  also working  for gender  equality  and,  through policy  and programme
support, was actively supporting the rights  of indigenous people.  Finally,
even if  the limited material  and human resources  would not  allow UNDP to
make  central funds available  for the  Decade, it would be  able to respond
directly to  national concerns,  to raise  specific issues  and to  mobilize
funds  at the national  level through  its country  offices. Their attention
would   be  drawn   to  the   objectives   of   the  Decade,   and  resident
representatives  would be  invited  to seek  opportunities to  promote those
objectives through the ongoing work of UNDP.

(d)  United Nations Children's Fund

36.   In  connection  with  the  United  Nations  Decade  for  Human  Rights
Education,  the United  Nations  Children's Fund  (UNICEF)  stated  that its
advocacy programme for the promotion of the Convention on the Rights of  the
Child incorporated the education of young  people as an important component.
Experience  with that programme  had determined  that involving children and
young people in learning about their  rights necessitated the development of
a  sound  educational strategy  for  teaching  and  learning  that not  only
introduced  the Convention  on the  Rights  of the  Child, and  other  human
rights, to  young people  but showed  how it  applied to  their lives.   The
Education for Development Section of  UNICEF addressed concerns  about human
rights  education that  were common  to both  industrialized  and developing
countries.   By  supporting and  providing  technical  assistance to  the 38
national  committees  of  UNICEF  and  an  increasing  number  of  its field
offices, the following strategies were pursued:

  (i)Promotion of the  Convention, while broadening thinking to the  concept
of human rights generally;

    (ii)Emphasis on  educational strategies which  help children  appreciate
the relevance  of human  rights issues  - child  rights in  particular -  to
their own lives and own communities.  (It was discovered that many  existing
materials on  human rights tended  to focus on  the concerns  of children in
other parts of the  world rather than drawing on the immediate experience of
the child  and the  situation in  their own  country.   That tendency  could
reinforce  the   very  stereotypes  that   education  for  development   was
attempting to lessen.);

   (iii)Identification of strategies for developing skills and attitudes  of
personal commitment which assist  young people to  become actively  involved
in rights issues in their own communities.

37.   As part of that strategy,  UNICEF was conducting a number of training-
oftrainers workshops to familiarize educators with  those approaches and had
also developed  prototype material which emphasized  methodology as well  as
content in teaching about  human rights.  That material was currently  being
adapted  to  suit  different  situations  and  cultures  around  the  world.
Further, a communication network of educators  and others involved in  human
rights and child rights was being  established, facilitating the exchange of
experiences and ideas.

38.  Human rights education must permeate the  ethos of the whole school  or
educational  institution.    The  impact  made  by  a  teacher  striving  to
sensitize young people in human rights  and justice issues was  considerably
diluted  if the  wider  context  of the  school in  which they  operated was
excessively authoritarian,  if the discipline was  cruel and  harmful, or if
the  participation  of children  and  young  people  was  discouraged.   One
contribution  which  UNICEF was  planning  to make  to  the Decade  was  the
preparation of a  discussion paper (in the form  of a "ladder") which  would
explore the application of a  child rights approach to the wider educational
processes.

(e)  United Nations Institute for Training and Research

39.    In  its  response,  the  United Nations  Institute  for  Training and
Research (UNITAR) affirmed that it made  efforts to include modules on human
rights  in the  training  programmes  which  were  organized  regularly  for
members of the permanent missions to the United Nations at Geneva, New  York
and Vienna.   In January  1995, UNITAR had  organized the  first briefing on
the  Commission  on  Human  Rights  for  Geneva-based  diplomats,  in  close
cooperation with the Office  of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.   In
addition,  lectures on human  rights formed an  integral part  of the United
Nations/UNITAR  Fellowship  Programme   in  International  Law,   which  was
addressed to  mid-level government  officials and  university lecturers  and
took  place at  The  Hague on  an  annual  basis.   Finally,  the  Institute

indicated  that  it  had  very  recently  embarked  on  a  research  project
regarding training in the field of the human rights of women.

(f)  United Nations Research Institute for Social Development

40.  The United Nations Research  Institute for Social Development  (UNRISD)
affirmed  that progress  in the  field of  human rights  often depended upon
achievements in social  development generally.  Therefore, its  contribution
to  the  Plan  of Action  would  seek  to  highlight that  key  issue.   The
Institute  envisaged its contribution to the Decade through several specific
activities:

  (i)By making  available to the Office  of the High  Commissioner for Human
Rights the  publications  that impinged  directly  upon  the themes  of  the
Decade, which could serve as background material for training courses or  as
inputs  to  the preparation  of training  manuals  by the  Centre for  Human
Rights.   The Institute  made reference,  for instance,  to the publications
relating  to the  UNRISD  projects  on "Ethnic  conflict  and  development",
"Ethnic diversity and  public policy", "Rebuilding wartorn societies",  "The
social  consequences   of  the  peace   process  in  Cambodia",   "Technical
cooperation  and women's  lives",  and "Volunteer  contributions  to  social
integration in cities";

    (ii)By assisting in the development of  the planned activities on  human
rights education  at the  national and  local levels,  through the  national
researchers and social activists collaborating with UNRISD in the field;

    (iii)By  offering UNRISD comments on the preliminary, mid-term and final
reports to be prepared by the High Commissioner and by participating in  the
international conferences planned to support those reports.


5.  Non-governmental organizations and institutions

41.    Several non-governmental  organizations  and  institutions  forwarded
information about  their activities in  the framework of  the Decade.   Some
underlined  the  themes  they  had been  dealing  with  through  educational
activities,  such  as  the  situations  of  extreme  poverty  (International
Movement ATD Fourth World), women's issues  and gender equality (World Union
of Catholic  Women's Organizations), universality  of the  concept of  human
rights, right to education and banning  of child labour (World Confederation
of Labour)  and safe motherhood  (International Confederation of  Midwives).
The World  Young Women's Christian Association  stressed the  need to tailor
training  programmes to specific  target groups,  such as  State bureaucracy
dealing   with  the   administration  of   justice  and   law   enforcement,
politicians, the private sector and civil  society.  The International  Save
the Children Alliance focused on the  production of educational material  (a
training  kit on  the  Convention on  the  Rights  of  the Child),  and  the
Netherlands Institute of  Human Rights and the International  Rehabilitation
Council for  Torture Victims,  on training courses  (respectively, on  human
rights  for  legal  practitioners  and  on   ethics  and  torture  for   law
enforcement  and health  professionals) and  related materials.    Materials
have  also been received  from various  organizations; among  them, a useful
annotated human rights education bibliography published by the Open  Society
Institute.


III.  FUTURE ACTIVITIES

42.   The Plan  of Action  for the  United Nations Decade  for Human  Rights
Education provides  for a  number of  specific activities  in the  immediate
future to stimulate and provide  a framework for activities at the regional,
national and local levels.  The United  Nations High Commissioner for  Human
Rights  will  focus attention  on  encouraging  States  to  set up  national
committees for  human rights  education with  broad-based participation,  to
develop and  implement actionoriented plans  for human  rights education and

to   create  national  resource   and  training  centres  for  human  rights
education, as foreseen in the Plan of Action. The High Commissioner and  the
Centre for  Human Rights will develop  a programme  of technical cooperation
to  support State  initiatives  in  these and  other  areas of  the Plan  of
Action.

43.  The following activities are planned for the short term.

1.International  consultation on  the relevance  of education  theories  and
practices to human rights education.

44.  The Government of Costa Rica has  decided to organize an  international
consultation  to  consider   the  relevance  of  educational  theories   and
practices to human rights education.   This is seen as a contribution to the
development of  human rights education methodologies and practices under the
Plan of Action  for the Decade.  At the  request of the Government of  Costa
Rica, the High Commissioner has decided  to provide financial assistance for
this consultation through  the programme of advisory services and  technical
cooperation in the  field of  human rights  administered by  the Centre  for
Human Rights.

2.Survey on existing human rights education programmes and initiatives.

45.  The  High Commissioner, with  the assistance  of the  Centre for  Human
Rights, is  preparing, in cooperation with  UNESCO, a  preliminary survey on
human rights  education programmes,  initiatives and  materials existing  at
the international,  regional and national levels.   A  questionnaire will be
sent  to  States,  international  and  regional  organizations,  specialized
agencies  and  programmes,  NGOs,  professional  associations  and  research
institutes.  Each  State will  be requested  to designate  a national  focal
point for the  Decade, which will assist in  the carrying out of the  survey
at the national level and  in the subsequent  drawing up of a national  plan
of action for  human rights education.   According  to the  Plan of  Action,
such  focal  points  might  consist  of  specially  constituted  committees,
including  representatives  of  relevant  government  agencies,  NGOs,   the
private   sector   and   educators;   alternatively,  existing   appropriate
structures  or organizations,  such  as ombudsman  offices,  national  human
rights  commissions,  or   national  human  rights  training  and   research
institutes, might be designated to perform this function.   On the basis  of
this survey,  an international  planning conference  on the  Decade will  be
organized to  develop  detailed plans  for  human  rights education  at  the
international level  and guidelines for  the development of  action-oriented
plans at the national level.

3.Survey of existing versions of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

46.  The High  Commissioner and the Centre for Human Rights, in  cooperation
with UNESCO and the Department of Public Information, will conduct a  global
survey  of  existing  versions of  the  Declaration  in  printed, pictorial,
audiovisual and other formats.  On the basis of this  survey, a plan for the
development of further material will be developed.

4.Establishment of a media advisory board.

47.   The  High  Commissioner  and the  Centre  for Human  Rights, with  the
cooperation of the Department of Public  Information, will establish a media
advisory board  for public  information and  education on  human rights,  in
order  to develop a mass media campaign to  publicize human rights standards
and mechanisms.

*  *  *

48.  The Centre  for Human Rights, under the  overall policy guidance of the
High  Commissioner,  will continue  and enhance  its  activities related  to
programme development in  formal and  non-formal education and to  technical
cooperation in this area.

49.  The  Plan of Action  focuses its  activities on the national  and local
levels  but foresees  an international  role of  promotion, coordination and
support, in  particular by the  High Commissioner and  the Centre  for Human
Rights.   This will require  resources to  ensure coordination,  cooperation
and  follow-up on the international level, carry out the survey, prepare and
hold the  international conference, expand the availability of the Universal
Declaration  of Human Rights  and establish  and support  the media advisory
board.   Further,  resources will  have  to  be  made available  to  support
national  initiatives  through  the  programme  of  advisory  services   and
technical cooperation in the field of human rights.


Notes

  1/  Resolution 1993/56 of 9 March 1993.

  2/  A/CONF.157/24 (Part I), paras. 33-34 and (Part II), paras. 78-82.

  3/  A/49/261/Add.1, annex.

  4/  See E/CN.4/1994/39 and A/49/261 and Add.1.

  5/  E/CN.4/1995/46 and Add.1.

  6/  E/CN.4/1995/89.

  7/  A/49/261/Add.1, paras. 58-113.

  8/  DPI/919.

  9/   See the  report of  the Committee  (Official Records  of the  General
Assembly, Fiftieth Session, Supplement No. 18) (A/50/18), annex III.


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