Human Rights Education Video from Amnesty Ireland on Vimeo.

What is human rights education?

Human Rights Education (HRE) is learning that develops the KNOWLEDGE, SKILLS, and VALUES of human rights with the broad goal of building a universal human rights culture.  In other words, students should be aware of the issues, concerned by the issues, and capable of standing up for human rights. Human rights education will move students from understanding human rights concepts to examining their experiences from a human rights perspective and incorporating these concepts into their personal values and decision-making processes.

 The following is a general breakdown of the the objectives of human rights education:

Knowledge Skills Values

Learn about human rights

Promote awareness and understanding of human rights issues so that people recognize violations of human rights.

  • The belief that every human is born with the inalienable human rights listed in the UDHR.
  •  Key concepts such as: freedom, justice, equality, human dignity, non-discrimination, democracy, sustainability, poverty, universality, rights, responsibilities, interdependence, solidarity, and peace.
  • The idea that human rights provide a framework for negotiating and agreeing on standards of behavior in the family, school, community, and the world.
  • The interdependence of civil/political rights and economic/social/ cultural rights.
  • Recognize the root causes of human rights issues/concerns.
  • Understand human rights terms and concepts according to age/ grade level.

Learn for human rights

Develop the skills and abilities necessary for the defense of human rights

  • Active listening and communication: being able to listen to different points of view, to advocate one's own rights and those of other people;

  • Critical thinking: finding relevant information, appraising evidence critically, being aware of preconceptions and biases, recognizing forms of manipulation, and making decisions on the basis of reasoned judgement;

  • The ability to work cooperatively and to address conflict positively;

  • The ability to participate in and organize social groups

  • Acting to promote and safeguard human rights both locally and globally

Learn through human rights

Develop attitudes of respect for human rights, so people do not violate the rights of others.

  • A sense of responsibility for one's own actions, a commitment to personal development and social change

  • Curiosity, an open mind and an appreciation of diversity

  • Empathy and solidarity with others and a commitment to support those whose human rights are under threat

  • A sense of human dignity, of self-worth and of others' worth, irrespective of social, cultural, linguistic or religious differences

  • A sense of justice, the desire to work towards the ideals of freedom, equality and respect for diversity.

Human rights education framework

Many teachers often deal with aspects of human rights without giving it that name. HRE provides a common framework through which different subject matters may be taught in relation to one another. The topics of globalization, the environment, peace, citizenship, gender equality, democracy, poverty, and intercultural relations all address human rights issues and attempt to build a culture that respects human rights. Rather than teaching about these subject matters in isolation, using a HRE framework provides educators and students with a shared value system through which all subjects intersect.