Human Rights Education - Getting Started

Teachers aspire to provide children with an education that prepares them for a happy and productive life; in which they learn to have respect for others in a setting in which they, themselves, are safe. These are also human rights goals. In the U.S., most children have experienced freedom of thought, conscience, and religion; the right to education; and the freedom of movement. However, many also experience denial of their rights through bullying, name-calling, lack of quality education for particular groups, or more serious abuse.

These challenges are not unique to the U.S. Based on growing international agreement, the United Nations adopted the World Program for Human Rights Education on December 10th, 2004, citing the following benefits of human rights education (HRE):

  • HRE helps improve the effectiveness of the national education system as a whole, enabling the education system to fulfill its fundamental mission to secure quality education for all.
  • HRE improves quality of learning achievements by promoting child-centered, participatory teaching, and learning practices and processes.
  • HRE increases access to and participation in schooling by creating a rights-based learning environment that is inclusive and welcoming and fosters universal values, equal opportunities, diversity, and nondiscrimination.
  • HRE contributes to social cohesion and conflict prevention by supporting the social and emotional development of the child and by introducing democratic citizenship and values.

This online manual is for all teachers interested in getting started as a human rights educator.