Dear all, I would like to express my deep gratitude for comments on the WPHRE first phase from many interested persons which until some time ago lasted for several weeks online, and also some comments to the question on human rights education and the UN Special Procedures on human rights. They all provided very valuable insights that I appreciate very much. Also, I apologize for my late message at this point of time. My office has been in process of relocation since some weeks ago taking a lot of my time and with difficulty in internet use, which is still ongoing for some weeks more. Also, for some comments I directly received were written in Spanish. I apologize for my ignorance in the Spanish language but I sincerely thank all who kindly sent me those emails in Spanish. I found several common elements in most of the online comments. - A number of projects/ programmes are in process of implementation according to the Plan of Action for the first phase of the WPHRE. - They need more time to proceed but the time left for conclusion of the first phase won't be sufficient. - The WPHRE is not yet known either well or widely. - Human rights education needs to be promoted in many ways at both the national and the international levels but the ways must be effective and well elaborated. - Etc. I have an impression that in addition to the comments through HREA's online global message service, there could be potentially a large number of national initiatives and projects being undertaken in relation to the first phase of the WPHRE in many countries, but not known to anybody other than the national actors or anybody outside the country. For example, I had a chance to participate at an international conference on human rights education held in Murmansk, Russia, 28-29 March 2007, organised by the Norwegian Helsinki Committee in collaboration with the Norwegian and Murmansk authorities on education. The participants included representatives from UNESCO offices in Moscow and Oslo, many teachers and local NGOs and school related personnel. It was clear that in those two countries, various initiatives have been taken in civil society and by the local authorities both, as well as in collaboration between them in accordance with the Plan of Action for the first phase. However, with regard to Russia particularly, those initiatives are not known well, even to the knowledge of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. Not to mention, the language barrier could be one challenging factor. Participation at this conference provided me with a significant occasion of learning. Again, reading the messages on the first phase of the WPHRE, there seems to be a question - what would be the best way to promote human rights education in relation to the UN human rights institutions. The two positions could be summarised as follows: - Promotion of human rights education should be focused by means of the WPHRE and already established UN "programmes" (if there is any of such apart from WPHRE) on human rights education, rather than mainstreaming or integrating human rights education in other human rights institutions and mechanisms. A new programme is not necessary any more. In contrast: - Since human rights education relates to all human rights issues, human rights education should be mainstreamed and / or integrated in many of the already established UN mechanisms and institutions on human rights, having the WPHRE as the main UN programme for human rights education. I am of the latter opinion myself. The UN Special Procedures is one of the potentially many examples. Mandate holders of the Special Procedures have been carrying on their study on a specific human rights issue, either thematic or country-oriented, and make recommendations in their reports. It is very rare that those reports emphasise the role or effectiveness on human rights education or include the term "human rights education." The Plan of Action for the first phase of the WPHRE itself is calling for inclusion of human rights education in the UN Special Procedures on Human Rights in paragraph 42 as follows: "42. Furthermore, all relevant thematic and country mechanisms of the Commission on Human Rights (e.g. Special Rapporteurs and representatives, in particular the Special Rapporteur on the right to education, as well as working groups) will be called upon to include systematically in their reports progress in human rights education in the school system, as relevant to their mandate." The UN treaty bodies also called for dealing with human rights education in monitoring implementation by the Member States of each instrument on human rights. I also noted particularly two important and valuable observations on the WPHRE. 1. The WPHRE feels to be a product of an international conference room and staying there, and far distant from the actual field of implementation of human rights education including the rural community level. 2. Difficulty to implement human right education at the national level due to many factors such as a lack of the political will, a lack of understanding in civil society and authorities, less priority given in face of other serious and urgent issues of the nation, a lack of finance, etc. In my view, both are very true in reality of many countries to my knowledge. My own position, or personal feelings and understanding, to those two challenges to human rights education / WPHRE would be: When it comes to human rights, every single issue is political. Human rights education is not exception even though it is less controversial compared to other human rights issues. Realisation of a human right or a fundamental freedom, including the right to human rights education, requires a political will, awareness of it by people themselves, financial and human resources of course, and most importantly, the national-level implementation is what it counts for. If human rights education is not possible to realise, other human rights are not possible to realise. If other human rights are not possible to realise, human rights education is not possible to realise. Many human rights violations are occurring and ongoing as I hear in debate and discussion at the UN where the Member States and NGOs/ civil society gather and speak. It would be crucial that the national actors determine themselves whether the international efforts are merely a process limited to the international level within a conference room leaving the actual human rights violations unchanged at the national level, or such efforts are for the national actors to utilise the outcome from the conference room into the actual situation at the national level to redress the human rights violations. The process is no different about the global policies on human rights education in my view. I am certain of that, recalling my experiences when I had been active, many years ago, in taking more of protection approaches to human rights violations instead of promotion (human rights education). Once again, I thank you all very much for the lesson you provided and I am determined to keep those elements in my mind and I will continue my work to my best. Sincerely yours, Kazunari Fujii Chair, NGO WG on HREL, Geneva ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ SGI UN Liaison Office Geneva ======== Global Human Rights Education listserv ======= Send mail intended for the list to < >. Archives of the list can be found at: http://www.hrea.org/lists/hr-education/ **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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