Human Rights Education

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Law-related education aims to improve the ability of adult learners to understand and apply elements of law that affect their everyday lives, as well as raising awareness of fundamental rights as core social and civic entitlements.

Knowledge of rights and legal issues empower individuals and communities to participate in the democratic process, gain access to public services and demand fundamental rights. Moreover, law-related education programmes have the potential to re-engage adults in life-long education and enables them to take more control over their lives and careers. Recent European research in the field of Law-related education and wider access to justice issues has highlighted significant gaps in the ability of Europeans to understand their rights and the processes that are available to gain redress.


Source: Youth for Human Rights: The Story of Human Rights

Although Human Rights Education has a law and rights core, it includes much more and seeks to combine the knowledge, skills and confidence in dealing with law-related issues with citizens empowerment for the purpose of encouraging people to enforce and respect rights, to shape new rights, or to defend them.

Ways to facilitate Human Rights Education

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  • courses to improve access to justice,
  • Empowerment of victims of domestic violence,
  • Law-related simulations
  • Court observer schemes
  • Facilitating knowledge about human and civil rights
  • Connecting the knowledge dimension with citizens empowerment to action for human and civil rights
  • Promoting human and civil rights in the society[1]

 


Source: Council of Europe: Education for Democracy and Human Rights in 10 steps



How Human Rights Education Addresses Competencies

Although Rights and law are cognitive constructs, learning about, with, and for them addresses skills, knowledge and attitudes. Following the DARE network for Democracy and Human Rights Education in Europe this learning includes:

  • Recognizing the universal character of human rights
  • Respecting democracy, human rights and fundamental freedoms and being able to enforce them in public and private life
  • Empowering the individual citizen and groups to make full use of their democratic rights
  • Combating discrimination, racism, xenophobia and related intolerance
  • Enforcing gender equality
  • Inclusion of persons with disabilities
  • Empowering the individual citizen to actively participate in public life (active citizenship) [2]

 

Human Rights Education and Empowerment for Democracy

Education for democratic citizenship and human rights education are closely inter-related and mutually supportive. They differ in focus and scope rather than in goals and practices.

  • Education for Democratic Citizenship focuses primarily on democratic rights and responsibilities and active participation, in relation to the civic, political, social, economic, legal and cultural spheres of society,
  • Human Rights Education is concerned with the broader spectrum of human rights and fundamental freedoms in every aspect of people’s lives.

What is a Human Right?


Source: UN Human Rights: What is a Human Right?

Why Values Matter

The researcher Kris Gimonprez explains their connection to the EU policy dimension and advocates for more value awareness in citizenship education:
Source: Kris Grimonprez/NECE network



Embededness in the Society

Education for Democratic Citizenship and Human Rights Education seek to combine the awareness and knowledge with empowerment to implement these in the society.

At the state level, in civil-society organizations or in classrooms. This implies the training ground and the learning field is the society. Therefore, educational measures in these fields need to build cooperation with the society, include the social reality around the classroom or ideally cooperate in activities planned and conducted by non-formal and formal learning providers together. Non-formal EDC work with young people is probably the perfect training field for democracy: close to society developments, close to young peoples ́ everyday life experience, promoting learning on eye-level, backed with pedagogues who are capable of making the difference:

„Non-formal education has the specific strength to quickly react to challenges and threats to democracy as it is close to societal developments. It is able to identify issues at their grassroots stage and develop educational concepts long before the debate has made it to the political and subsequently curricular level.“ [3]





 


Inspiring Handbooks and Resources

From the online community library


References

  1. DARE Democracy and Human Rights Education in Europe: Demanding Fundamental Rights: Law Related Education in Adult Learning, Blue Line Edition 2013
  2. DARE Democracy and Human Rights Education in Europe: Antwerp Declaration on Democracy and Human Rights Education in Europe
  3. DARE Democracy and Human Rights Education in Europe: G. Pirker (ed.): EDC for All – Qualifying and Mainstreaming Education for Democratic Citizenship in Europe, Blue Line Edition 2015

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Related:


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Just Now

A toolbox for teaching Human Rights in the field of youth education

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Online manual on intercultural understanding, ethics and human rights

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W. Benedek

Understanding Human Rights

A manual on Human Rights Education published by: European Training and Research Centre for Human Rights and Democracy, Graz (AT)

Download