The Summer University on Human Rights (SUHR), the International Organisation for the Right to Education (OIDEL), Soka Gakkai International, along with a few other Geneva-based NGOs have come together in support of Costa Rica's initiative to sponsor a new resolution of the UN Commission on Human Rights aimed at launching a second Decade for Human Rights Education to run from 2005 to 2014. Over the past years, these NGOs have worked closely with the Mission of Costa Rica in Geneva and HREA to promote a broader view of human rights education whereby States would recognise the crosscutting impact of HRE and consider integrating the objectives of the current Decade as key elements of a more global agenda. In 2002, these NGOs worked closely with Global HRE listserv members in formulating a draft resolution that would "put teeth" into the Decade for HRE. The strategy was to gain strong NGO support for Costa Rica's initiative and inform the UN Commission on Human Rights of the concern and interests of a large, worldwide group of NGOs. As a result 113 signatories representing 91 NGOs agreed to the recommendations that were submitted to the Commission that year. In 2003, the Geneva-based NGOs agreed to focus more closely on the consultation process. The strategy was aimed at raising awareness on the achievements and shortcomings of the Decade among Member States in order to promote a concise resolution that would reflect the views expressed by NGOs within the framework of the online forum initiated by HREA and the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in 2002. The input received by the OHCHR strongly supports the idea of a second Decade, considering that human rights education is a long-term process and that it is essential to maintain some focus on HRE at the international level. These views, along with the views of responding governments and national institutions are reflected in the report of the OHCHR on the follow-up to the Decade (E/CN.4/2003/101). (This document can be found at: http://www.unhchr.ch/huridocda/huridoca.nsf/(Symbol)/E.CN.4.2003.101.En?Open Document) Costa Rica's proposal to launch a second Decade was central to the consultation process during the last session of the Commission on Human Rights, but the proposition was not retained in the final resolution, as it was not considered timely by some of the delegations present. Those of us who have been working to ensure the follow-up of the current Decade were disappointed with the outcome. In August, however, we were somewhat reassured as the experts of the UN Sub-Commission on the Protection and Promotion of Human Rights unanimously adopted a resolution recommending that the General Assembly launch a second Decade in 2004 (E/CN.4/Sub.2/2003/L.14) (this document can be found at: http://www.unhchr.ch/Huridocda/Huridoca.nsf/(Symbol)/E.CN.4.Sub.2.2003.L.14. En?Opendocument). In recent resolutions the UN Commission on Human Rights and the UN General Assembly have encouraged governments and non-state actors to continue their efforts towards the achievement of the objectives of the Decade, but, so far, little has been said regarding further action at the international level. Given the recent resolution of the UN Sub-Commission on the Protection and Promotion of Human Rights and the renewed commitment of a number of nations to HRE, it appears that we may anticipate positive developments provided efficient lobbying of governments and national institutions is carried out by the NGO community in the coming weeks. However, we must bear in mind that a number of governments have expressed reservations as to the opportunity of a second Decade. The purpose of this message is: * First, to develop a common understanding amongst NGOs of what is at stake during the upcoming session of the UN Commission on Human Rights before sharing this understanding with governments and delegations as well as national human rights institutions. * Second, to invite those NGOs that are in a position to lobby governments that have been supportive of HRE initiatives and/or national human rights institutions that have played a key role in promoting HRE in recent years to strongly support Costa Rica's initiative in favour of a second Decade. * Third, to identify other Members of the Commission on Human Rights who would be willing to commit themselves to HRE and convince governments that have expressed reservations of the necessity to keep HRE high on the international human rights agenda. HREA will soon be posting another message inviting listserv members to discuss the merits of a second Decade as a prelude to another NGO signature campaign. Meanwhile, I suggest that NGOs that are in a position to lobby governments get in touch with the Geneva-based NGOs listed above to define a common strategy and course of action. Robert Trocmé Director of SUHR ___________________________________ Robert Trocmé Université d'été des droits de l'homme Rue de l'Athénée 32 1206 Genève Tel. + 4122 789 34 42 Fax + 4122 789 29 22 E-mail email@example.com ======== Global Human Rights Education listserv ======== Send mail intended for the list to <firstname.lastname@example.org>. Archives of the list can be found at: http://www.hrea.org/lists/hr-education/markup/maillist.php If you have problems (un)subscribing, contact <email@example.com>. **You are welcome to reprint, copy, archive, quote or re-post this item, but please retain the original and listserv source.
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