Re: Rationale for Human Rights Education revisited

Kevin (and others!),

An integration of human rights themes into a school would encompass some
of the core values of democracy and peace education, but would be unique
in adding a core moral compass to the work of the school. The UDHR
provides an ethical framework, agreed upon by international bodies, for
how to ensure human dignity. The work of human rights educators and their
students is to understand these values and to apply them in our daily

Here is a link to a curricular matrix for how HRE can be used with youth
which shows, I think, the "added value" of human rights:
You will also recognize other content and skill-building areas claimed by
citizenship ed, peace ed and even conflict resolution.

Aside from the values component of human rights education, there is one of
accountability that comes from the legal side of the human rights
movement. In terms of documents, human rights is embodied in the
"International Bill of Rights" and numerous other treaties pertaining to
vulnerable groups and human rights areas. Students can learn about how
governments have tried to ensure respect for human rights through these
treaties. They can also learn about the role of watchdog agencies.  This
complicates student thinking about states.

The accountability lens that students get will also help them to develop
critical human rights skills - for example, applying the human rights
framework to their classroom and school; looking for causes of human
rights problems rather than just recognizing the symptoms; examining the
moral culpability of perpetrators, bystanders and upstanders. It will be
important for students to find people in their community who have promoted
human rights - even if this is not language that has been used in
association with these individuals before.

I think that it's a marvelous opportunity for all of us convinced that
human rights education has a place in schools to see how this affects
relationships, perspectives, and learning in the school environment.
Please let me know how things develop and don't hesitate to call or write


Felisa Tibbitts, Director
Human Rights Education Associates (HREA) - USA office
PO Box 382396, Cambridge, MA 02238
Visiting address:
97 Lowell Road, Concord, MA 01742
(tel) +1 978 341 0200 (fax) +1 978 341 0201
(e-mail)  (Web)

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