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HREA Online - 10 December 2011

In this issue

- From the HREA staff: Human Rights Day 2011
- French version of Compendium of Good Practice in HRE now available
- HREA concludes collaboration with UNRWA on human rights education in refugee schools
- Conference on human rights education in the United States

From the HREA staff

Dear colleagues and friends of HREA,

On 10 December 1948, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which has become a universal standard for defending and promoting human rights. On Human Rights Day 2011 we pay tribute to all human rights.

It has been a year like no other for human rights. Human rights activism has never been more topical or vital. And through the transforming power of social media, people in the streets have become human rights activists. The democratic revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt have sparked popular uprisings and reforms throughout North Africa and the Middle East that few had predicted.

But Human Rights Day 2011 is even more memorable for those involved in human rights education. The UN General Assembly is expected to adopt the Declaration on Human Rights Education and Training on this day. This landmark document recognises the right of every one of the planet's seven billion people to have access to human rights education, a lifelong process involving all ages, all parts of society, and every kind of education, formal and informal. The Declaration specifies not simply what one should learn about human rights, but also how ("through human rights, which includes learning and teaching in a way that respects the rights of both educators and learners") and also why ("for human rights, which includes empowering persons to enjoy and exercise their rights and to respect and uphold the rights of others"). The adoption of this new Declaration also offers educators and policy makers an occasion to reassess state and national policies and priorities in the light of international standards.

Happy Human Rights Day!

With very best wishes from the HREA staff and Board,

Frank Elbers
Director of Programmes

French version of Compendium of Good Practice in HRE now available

Compendium of Good PracticeThe French language version of the publication Human Rights Education in the School Systems of Europe, Central Asia and North America: A Compendium of Good Practice (Education aux droits de l'homme dans les systèmes scolaires d'Europe, d'Asie centrale et d'Amérique du Nord. Recueil de bonnes pratiques) has just been released by the Council of Europe. The original, English language publication was jointly published by the Council of Europe, the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE/ODIHR), the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and UNESCO in 2009. HREA developed the Compendium under the guidance of these partners.

The French, English and Russian language versions can be found on HREA's website at:

HREA concludes collaboration with UNRWA on human rights education in refugee schools

HREA has been assisting the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) with the implementation of human rights education programming in UNRWA schools. UNWRA contracted HREA to assess its Human Rights, Conflict Resolution and Tolerance Program in 700 elementary schools with 700,000 Palestinian refugee children in five countries. The program was initiated in 1999 and has grown steadily over the past ten years yet there is a desire for more coherence in programming in the different UNRWA countries.

UNRWA HRE policy review meeting

Based on field visits by HREA staff earlier this year, an initial "scoping study" was submitted to UNRWA with recommendations on how to improve its Human Rights, Conflict Resolution and Tolerance Program. Subsequently, HREA prepared a policy paper on human rights education for UNRWA. HREA Senior Program Associate Paul McAdams was in Jordan from 10-14 October to present the draft policy and get further input from UNRWA education program staff from all five countries (Jordan, Lebanon, Gaza and West Bank, Syria).

Conference on human rights education in the United States

HREA Director Felisa Tibbitts presents during HRE in US Schools conferenceOver 75 educators, students, higher education faculty, members of non-profit organisations, representatives from national teacher unions, and other stakeholders participated in the conference Building a Strategy for Human Rights Education in U.S. Schools, which took place in Cambridge, MA, on September 16th-17th. The event was organised by HREA and co-sponsored by the Harvard Graduate School of Education, the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy of the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, the National Education Association and the University of San Francisco's School of Education.

The sharing and planning work of the conference resulted in the development of a draft national strategy for HRE. Moreover, a decision was taken to initiate a new network for human rights education in the U.S.A., which is anticipated to be formally launched in 2012. At the present time, an Interim Steering Committee is working closely with conference members in laying the institutional foundation for this new network. In the meantime, voluntary regional representatives have already begun work in different parts of the country in organising local events and coordinated efforts are anticipated in relation to Human Rights Day and the anticipated passage of the Declaration on Human Rights Education and Training by the UN General Assembly. Participants converse during HRE in US Schools conference

The overall purpose of the network will be to promote the capacity of members to integrate human rights principles into the formal and non-formal learning environments for youth, with a central focus on schools. This work will involve engagement with curricular standards, pedagogy and learning materials, public awareness raising, teacher training, and scholarship.

For more information, please visit

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HREA offers courses in English and French on monitoring human rights (source: Steve Courchesne)
HREA is offering 14 e-learning courses in the first trimester of 2012 (1 February-22 April), including courses on children in war and armed conflicts, child rights programming, human rights advocacy (in Spanish), human rights-based programming (in French), human rights monitoring (in French), indigenous peoples' rights, international refugee law, monitoring children's rights, monitoring women's rights, project development & management in the NGO sector, and the right to education.
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HREA and UPEACE offer new foundation course on international human rights lawHREA and the University for Peace Human Rights Centre offer a new certificate course "Introduction to International Human Rights Law (Foundation Course)". Learn more >>

HREA is developing DVD on impact of human rights education

Staff of Soka Gokkai (Japan) and filmmaker Ellen Bruno visited HREA offices in Cambridge on November 1st for an all-day meeting with HREA staff to review footing of the three case studies that are featured in a DVD on human rights education that HREA is producing. Read further >>

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HREA offers news by e-mail for a variety of human rights topics, including children, the Human Rights Council, refugees, and others. Each day, HREA staff scans news sources like the UN, Council of Europe, OSCE, Asian Human Rights Commission and other human rights NGOs to find pertinent news items and monitoring reports.
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