UN Decade for Human Rights Education (1995-2004)
The World Conference on Human Rights in the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action (1993) stated that human rights education, training and public information were essential for the promotion and achievement of stable and harmonious relations among communities and for fostering mutual understanding, tolerance and peace. The Conference recommended that States should strive to eradicate illiteracy and should direct education towards the full development of the human personality and the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. It called on all States and institutions to include human rights, humanitarian law, democracy and rule of law as subjects in the curricula of all learning institutions in formal and non-formal settings.
Following up to a suggestion of the World Conference, the United Nations 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 Decade contained in the report of the Secretary-General.
The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights has created a special web site dedicated to human rights education and the Decade. To find out more about what is happening around the world in the framework of the Decade you can subscribe to the Global Human Rights Education listserv.
HREA conducted a Mid-term Evaluation of the Decade in 2000 in order to assess the progress made during the Decade. In February 2001 the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights published an update on the national initiatives undertaken in the Decade.
From 18 November-18 December 2002, NGOs around the world participated in an On-line Forum, organised by HREA, to discuss ideas and strategies to strengthen human rights education at the national, regional and international levels as a follow-up to the Decade for Human Rights Education.
Based on the outcomes of the on-line forum a report was submitted to the UN Commission on Human Rights in March 2003. Read the recent report on NGO activity during the 59th session of the UN Commission on Human Rights.
As a follow-up to the Decade for Human Rights Education, the UN will initiate a World Programme for Human Rights Education. During the period 2005-2007 the focus will be on human rights education in primary and secondary education. HREA organises a Global Consultation on the Plan of Action that will guide the World Programme.