Dear friends, In May 2001, we, as Women for Women's Human Rights (WWHR) NEW WAYS, organized a national meeting on "The Present and Future of Human Rights Education in Turkey". WWHR - NEW WAYS is one of the NGOs in the National Committee on Human Rights Education. In this meeting, national committee members and all the human rights NGOs in Turkey came together for the first time. Below is a translation of the list of recommendations which came out of the meeting, summarized below under four main headings. Pinar Ilkkaracan Kadinin Insan Haklari Projesi (KIHP) - NEW WAYS WOMEN FOR WOMEN'S HUMAN RIGHTS - NEW WAYS Inonu Cad. 37/6 Saadet Apt. Gumussuyu 80090 ISTANBUL - TURKEY Tel: 90-212-251 0029 Fax: 90-212-251 0065 e-mail: email@example.com www.wwhr.org ------------------------- Recommendations from the National Conference: "The Present and Future of Human Rights Education in Turkey" Istanbul, May 18, 2001 Women for Women's Human Rights (WWHR) - NEW WAYS A national meeting on "The Present and Future of Human Rights Education in Turkey" was organized by Women for Women's Human Rights NEW WAYS, in Istanbul on May 18, 2001. Participants in the conference included members of the "National Committee on the Decade for Human Rights Education", high-level representatives of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) working on human rights issues, labor unions and state agencies. The participants exchanged information about and shared their experience of human rights education in Turkey, discussed the role of the state and NGOs in human rights education, evaluated the work of the National Committee for Human Rights Education and formulated expectations and recommendations to increase the efficacy and scope of human rights education in Turkey. These recommendations have been summarized below under four main headings. 1. Recommendations for the National Committee on the Decade For Human Rights Education: * The committee should become more independent and transparent and its powers of enforcement should be increased. The committee should create channels through which it can inform non-governmental organizations on a regular basis about all of its plans, activities and what it has been unable to achieve. The committee should formulate policies, hold meetings and create pressure mechanisms in partnership with NGOs in order to increase its powers of enforcement, ensure its independence and translate its recommendations into action. The processes of the monitoring, assessment and scrutiny of the committee's work by the NGOs should be institutionalized. * The committee should develop an educational program that will meet the demands of the Provincial and Sub-provincial Human Rights Coordination bodies efficiently and in a standardized manner. * The committee should give priority to educational programs aimed at local officials in the Southeast Anatolia region, where human rights violations are most widespread. * The committee should prepare programs that utilize the mass media use in order to expand the dissemination of human rights education. 2. Expectations from the State Regarding Human Rights Education: * Rather than providing human rights education themselves, state agencies should act as facilitators in enabling NGOs to provide such education and in ensuring coordination between NGOs and public institutions. * The state should give priority to amending domestic legislation to bring it into harmony with the terms of the international conventions to which it is a signatory. * The state should give priority to increasing the funds earmarked for human rights education. In addition, it can provide practical support for the expansion of human rights education through access to existing state resources such as venues, transportation and communication. * Measures should be taken to ensure the functionality of procedures available to interested parties in holding state and law enforcement agencies accountable for human rights violations. Measures should be taken to disseminate information related to the issues for which complaints may be lodged, the procedures, which should be followed, and the institutions to which these applications should be made. Complaints should be followed-up so as to ensure an increase in mutual confidence between the state and its citizens. * A timetable should be announced for the fulfillment of promises made to NGOs by the state and the government. Mechanisms should be established in order to ensure accountability should these obligations not be met. * State and governmental institutions should take steps towards establishing a sincere dialogue and cooperation with NGOs. Measures should be taken to cooperate, share experiences and exchange information with NGOs with experience of the issues contained in the program (e.g. juvenile delinquents, refuges, social centers etc.). * State and governmental institutions should prepare, implement, monitor and evaluate the human rights education programs targeted at their personnel in partnership with NGOs. 3. Recommendations for NGOs Involved In Human Rights Education: * NGOs should establish an efficient mutual support network amongst themselves. In their educational campaigns they should set up joint working groups according to their target audience, the specific projects and the context of the work to be done. They should also share knowledge and materials. * NGOs should develop cooperative mechanisms and joint lobbying polices in order to ensure that the National Committee for Human Rights Education realizes its programs in an independent, transparent manner. * NGOs should also develop and apply joint lobbying policies to ensure that state and governmental institutions amend domestic legislation in harmony with international agreements, develop accountability mechanisms for violations, increase the funds earmarked for human rights education and remove obstacles to the implementation of such education. * NGOs should devise instruments and joint work plans to safeguard their own rights and to amend legislation related to their activities. * NGOs should establish ethical standards for themselves and should undertake joint training programs on NGO organization and the defense of human rights * NGOs should discuss amongst themselves the concepts used in human rights education and address any deficiencies in this regard. * NGOs should support individuals and groups within state institutions who share their perspectives on human rights issues. * NGOs should cooperate and maintain an open dialogue with state and governmental institutions without compromising their own principles. * NGOs should seek opportunities to cooperate with labor unions, professional associations and other mass organizations. * NGOs should develop joint lobbying polices to educate and inform the mass media about human rights education. 4. General Recommendations on the Contents and Implementation of Human Rights Education Programs * Human rights education should adopt a holistic approach and aim to develop respect for all individuals and all peoples rather than members of specific groups and facilitate public cooperation against violations. * The human rights education programs should be prepared in such a manner that they will serve as instruments for the exposure, questioning and transformation of local forms of power relationships (for example, wife-husband, father-child, education-uneducated etc.). * The human rights education programs should be prepared in accordance with the specific needs and conditions of the target groups concerned. * The human rights education programs should be prepared in such a way that they not only provide information but also aim at changing modes of behavior. * All human rights education programs should contain the principle of gender equality. * The human rights education programs should not be a one-off event and be rather prepared for longer periods (for example, lasting for at least seven full days). Participants should also receive short follow-up courses addressing specific issues. * The programs should integrate the experience of both victims and perpetrators of violations and be based on the interaction between them (for example, police- citizen, employer-employee etc.). * The programs should be formulated in the light of the documents, proposals and recommendations of international conferences held since 1978. The problems and the experience of other countries should be discussed within the Turkish context and feedback provided to other countries about the programs implemented in Turkey. * The goals and the target audience of the education programs should be clearly defined. Two different goals appeared during the course of the conference. The National Committee believed that priority should be given to the education of those who were actual or potential perpetrators of violations. Educational programs for these people should aim to prevent violations by changing modes of behavior. The second goal of human rights education programs is ensuring that the victims of violations are able to protect their rights. In this type of program, the participants should be informed of their rights and the relevant laws and the instruments, which they can establish and use to protect these rights. In both types of educational programs, the defense of human rights is an integral part of human rights education. * Instruments should be developed to measure and monitor, in accordance with prevailing conditions in Turkey, the effectiveness of the human rights education programs. ======== Global Human Rights Education listserv ======== Send mail intended for the list to <firstname.lastname@example.org>. 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