Plan of Action World Programme for Human Rights Education First Phase

PDF: Plan of Action World Programme for Human Rights Education First Phase
Plan of Action
World Programme for Human Rights Education
First
Phase
United Nations
Offi ce of the
United Nations
High Commissioner
for Human RightsPlan of Action
World Programme for Human Rights Education
First
Phase
United Nations
Offi ce of the
United Nations
High Commissioner
for Human Rights
New York and Geneva, 2006Material contained in this publication may be freely quoted or reprinted, provid-
ed credit is given and a copy of the publication containing the reprinted material
is sent to OHCHR and UNESCO.
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and
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Printed at UNESCO in Paris
ED-2006/WS/53 – cld 25238Foreword
Th e international community is increasingly adopting intergovernmental frameworks at the
global level, such as the World Programme for Human Rights Education (from 2005 onwards),
which aim at encouraging the development of sustainable national strategies and programmes
in human rights education. In particular, the Plan of Action for the fi rst phase (2005-2007) of
the World Programme, which is contained in this booklet, focuses on the integration of human
rights education in primary and secondary school systems.
Th is international trend highlights a consensus that the education system plays a vital role
in fostering respect, participation, equality and non-discrimination in our societies. For the
education system to play such a role, a comprehensive approach to implementing human
rights education, addressing not only educational policies, processes and tools but also the
environment within which education takes place, is needed.
It is important to bear in mind, however, that international programmes can only support – and
not substitute for – committed, vigorous and concerted national action. Ultimately, United
Nations programmes acquire real value only if national and local actors take responsibility for
implementing them in their communities, and use them as mobilization and advocacy tools.
Th e Plan of Action for the fi rst phase (2005-2007) of the World Programme was adopted by
all United Nations Member States in July 2005. It proposes a concrete strategy and practical
guidance for implementing human rights education in primary and secondary schools.
Th is document is now in your hands. We hope it will provide ideas for developing new initia-
tives, expanding those already existing and enhancing cooperation and partnership at all levels.
We would like to appeal to all to get involved and participate in global human rights education
eff orts; the realization of human rights is our common responsibility, and its achievement will
depend entirely on the contribution that each and every one of us is willing to make.
Louise Arbour
United Nations High Commissioner
for Human Rights
Koïchiro Matsuura
Director-General of the United Nations
Educational, Scientifi c and
Cultural OrganizationC ontents
Foreword
Th e Plan of Action for 2005-2007 in brief ………………………………………………….
Plan of action for the fi rst phase (2005-2007) of the World Programme
for Human Rights Education ………………………………………………………………………..
1
I. Introduction ………………………………………………………………………………………………..
A. Context and defi nition of human rights education …………………………………………….
B. Objectives of the World Programme for Human Rights Education ………………………..
C. Principles for human rights education activities ……………………………………………….. 9
11
11
13
14
II. Th e fi rst phase (2005-2007): a plan of action for human rights
education in the primary and secondary school systems ………………………………..
A. Context ……………………………………………………………………………………………………..
B. Human rights education in the school system …………………………………………………..
C. Specifi c objectives of the plan of action …………………………………………………………… 15
15
17
20
III. Implementation strategy at the national level ……………………………………………….
A. Introduction ……………………………………………………………………………………………….
B. Stages of the implementation strategy ……………………………………………………………..
C. Minimum action …………………………………………………………………………………………
D. Actors ………………………………………………………………………………………………………..
E. Funding …………………………………………………………………………………………………….
IV. Coordination of the implementation of the plan of action …………………………….
A. National level ……………………………………………………………………………………………..
B. International level ……………………………………………………………………………………….
V. International cooperation and support …………………………………………………………
VI. Evaluation ……………………………………………………………………………………………………
21
21
22
25
25
27
29
29
30
33
35
Appendix: Components of human rights education
in the primary and secondary school systems …………………………………………………………….. 37
Annexes …………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 53
I.
II.
General Assembly resolution 59/113 A of 10 December 2004, proclaiming
the World Programme for Human Rights Education. …………………………………………
53
General Assembly resolution 59/113 B of 14 July 2005, adopting the revised draft plan of action
for the fi rst phase (2005–2007) of the World Programme for Human Rights Education …..
55The Plan of Action for 2005-2007
in brief
Th is section summarizes the Plan of Action for the fi rst phase (2005-2007) of the
World Programme for Human Rights Education. It highlights key actions to be
undertaken by ministries of education and other school and civil society actors
working in partnership to integrate human rights education eff ectively in the pri-
mary and secondary school systems. Th e Plan of Action was adopted by all Mem-
ber States of the United Nations General Assembly on 14 July 2005. 1
I. Th e World Programme for Human Rights Education (2005-ongoing)
What is human rights education?
Human rights education can be defi ned as education, training and information
aimed at building a universal culture of human rights. A comprehensive education
in human rights not only provides knowledge about human rights and the mecha-
nisms that protect them, but also imparts the skills needed to promote, defend and
apply human rights in daily life. Human rights education fosters the attitudes and
behaviours needed to uphold human rights for all members of society.
Human rights education activities should convey fundamental human rights prin-
ciples, such as equality and non-discrimination, while affi rming their interdepen-
dence, indivisibility and universality. At the same time, activities should be practi-
cal – relating human rights to learners’ real-life experience and enabling them to
build on human rights principles found in their own cultural context. Th rough
such activities, learners are empowered to identify and address their human rights
needs and to seek solutions consistent with human rights standards. Both what is
taught and the way in which it is taught should refl ect human rights values, en-
courage participation and foster a learning environment free from want and fear.
1.
General Assembly resolution 59/113 B (see annex II below).
Why a World Programme for Human Rights Education?
On 10 December 2004, the General Assembly of the United Nations proclaimed
the World Programme for Human Rights Education (2005-ongoing) to advance
the implementation of human rights education programmes in all sectors. 2
Building on the foundations laid during the United Nations Decade for Human
Rights Education (1995-2004), this new initiative refl ects the international com-
munity’s increasing recognition that human rights education produces far-reaching
results. By promoting respect for human dignity and equality and participation in
democratic decision-making, human rights education contributes to the long-term
prevention of abuses and violent confl icts.
To help make human rights a reality in every community, the World Programme seeks
to promote a common understanding of the basic principles and methodologies of hu-
man rights education, to provide a concrete framework for action and to strengthen
partnerships and cooperation from the international level down to the grass roots.
II. A Plan of Action for human rights education in the primary
and secondary school systems
Unlike the limited time frame of the United Nations Decade for Human Rights
Education (1995-2004), the World Programme is structured around an ongoing
series of phases, the fi rst of which covers the period 2005-2007 and focuses on the
primary and secondary school systems. Developed by a broad group of education
and human rights practitioners from all continents, the Plan of Action for the fi rst
phase proposes a concrete strategy and practical ideas for implementing human
rights education nationally. Its key elements are highlighted below.
A “rights-based approach” to education
Human rights education is widely considered to be integral to every child’s right
to a quality education, one that not only teaches reading, writing and arithmetic,

2.
General Assembly resolution 59/113 A (see annex I below).but also strengthens the child’s capacity to enjoy the full range of human rights and
promotes a culture which is infused by human rights values.
Human rights education promotes a holistic, rights-based approach that includes
both “human rights through education,” ensuring that all the components and
processes of education – including curricula, materials, methods and training – are
conducive to the learning of human rights, and “human rights in education,” ensur-
ing that the human rights of all members of the school community are respected.
Although many factors contribute to eff ective integration of this approach in pri-
mary and secondary schools, research and experience worldwide have identifi ed
fi ve key components for success:
1. Educational policies. Understood as statements of commitment on the part
of a Government, educational policies – including legislation, plans of action,
curricula, training policies and so on – should explicitly promote a rights-
based approach to education. Th ese statements infuse human rights through-
out the education system. Policies are developed in a participatory manner
in cooperation with all stakeholders and fulfi l a country’s international treaty
obligations to provide and promote quality education, such as those called for
in the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
2. Policy implementation. To be eff ective, policies need a consistent imple-
mentation strategy, including measures such as the allocation of adequate
re sources and the setting-up of coordination mechanisms, that ensures coher-
ence, monitoring and accountability. Such a strategy should take into account
the multiplicity of stakeholders at both the national level (e.g., ministry of
education, teacher training institutions, research bodies, non-governmental
organizations) and the local level (e.g., local government, head teachers and
their staff , parents and students), and involve them in putting educational
policy into practice.
3. Th e learning environment. Human rights education strives towards an en-
vironment where human rights are practised and lived in the daily life of the
whole school community. As well as cognitive learning, human rights educa-
tion includes the social and emotional development of all those involved in
the learning and teaching process. A rights-based environment respects and
promotes the human rights of all school actors and is characterized by mutual
understanding, respect and responsibility. It enables children to express their
views freely and to participate in school life, and off ers them appropriate op-
portunities for interacting with the wider community.
4. Teaching and learning. Introducing or improving human rights education
requires a holistic approach to teaching and learning that refl ects human
rights values. Starting as early as possible, human rights concepts and prac-
tices are integrated into all aspects of education. For example, curriculum
content and objectives are rights-based, methodologies are democratic and
participatory, and all materials and textbooks are consistent with human
rights values.
5. Education and professional development of school personnel. For the school
to serve as a model of human rights learning and practice, all teachers and staff
need to be able to both transmit and model human rights values. Education
and professional development must foster educators’ knowledge about, com-
mitment to and motivation for human rights. Furthermore, as rights-holders
themselves, school personnel need to work and learn in a context of respect for
their dignity and rights.
Practical guidance on how to implement these fi ve components in the school sys-
tem is provided in the appendix to the Plan of Action.
Should human rights education be a national priority?
By providing a set of guiding principles to support educational reform and helping to
respond to current challenges faced by education systems worldwide, human rights
education can improve the national education system’s overall eff ectiveness, which
in turn plays a fundamental role in economic, social and political development. In
particular:
• By promoting child-centred and participatory teaching and learning, hu-
man rights education improves the quality of learning achievements;
• By promoting learning environments that are inclusive and that foster
equal opportunities, diversity and non-discrimination, human rights educa-
tion supports access to and participation in schooling;
• By supporting the social and emotional development of the child and by
fostering democratic values, human rights education contributes to social
cohesion and confl ict prevention.
A concrete strategy for national action
To encourage and support human rights education in primary and secondary
school systems, the Plan of Action assumes a process of change involving simulta-
neous actions in several areas, especially the fi ve key components described above.
It recognizes that the situation of human rights education in school systems diff ers
widely from country to country, from well-developed policies and actions to little
or none. Whatever the status of human rights education or the situation or type
of education system, the development of human rights education should be on
each country’s education agenda. Each country should establish realistic goals and
means for action in accordance with its national context, priorities and capacity.
Th e Plan of Action proposes four stages for the national process of planning, im-
plementation and evaluation of human rights education in the school system (i.e.,
the “national implementation strategy”).
Stage 1: Where are we? – Analyse the current situation of human rights education
in the school system.
Th is fi rst stage calls for a national study on human rights education in the school
system. With wide dissemination and discussion, this report can serve as a basis
for developing a national implementation strategy for human rights education in
stage 2.
Stage 2: Where do we want to go and how? – Set priorities and develop a national
implementation strategy.
Th e strategy developed in this stage addresses the fi ve key components (i.e., edu-
cational policies, policy implementation, the learning environment, teaching and
learning, education and professional development) and focuses on issues that can
have a sustainable impact. It sets realistic objectives and priorities and anticipates
at least some implementation during 2005-2007.
Stage 3: Getting there – Implement and monitor activities.
In this stage, the national implementation strategy is widely disseminated and
put into practice. Its progress is monitored using fi xed milestones. Outcomes will
vary according to national priorities, but might include legislation, new or revised
learning materials and methodologies, training courses or non-discriminatory pol-
icies protecting all members of the school community.
Stage 4: Did we get there and with what success? – Evaluate.
Using evaluation as a means of both accountability and learning for the future, this
stage calls for an assessment of what the implementation strategy has accomplished. It
results in a report on the national implementation strategy for human rights education
in schools, with recommendations for future action based on lessons learned.
During this fi rst phase (2005-2007) of the World Programme, Member States are
encouraged to undertake, as a minimum, stages 1 and 2 and initiate stage 3. Work
in this area would then continue beyond the World Programme’s fi rst phase.
Funding for human rights education could be found among the resources allocated
to the national education system in general, and in particular by optimizing funds
already committed to quality education, coordinating external funds based on the
actions set out in this Plan of Action and creating partnerships between the public
and private sectors.
Who should be involved?

As ministries of education (or equivalent institutions) have the main responsibility
for primary and secondary education, the implementation strategy proposed in
the Plan of Action addresses their functions, such as educational policy develop-
ment, programme planning, research, teacher training, development and dissemi-
nation of materials. However, others should be involved in the implementation of
the Plan of Action, namely teachers training institutions, national human rights
institutions, teachers’ associations, non-governmental organizations, parents’ and
students’ associations, and so on.Other key national agencies should also be involved in all stages of planning and
implementation, especially educational research institutions, teachers’ unions and
professional organizations, legislative bodies and national committees for inter-
governmental organizations. It is also suggested that additional stakeholders, such
as other ministries, youth organizations, the media, religious institutions, com-
munity leaders, minority groups and the business community, should be involved
to ensure eff ective implementation.
What are the coordination mechanisms?
Th e Plan of Action recommends a sequence of coordination mechanisms from the
national level to the international level.
At the national level, ministries of education are invited to create or designate
a unit within their structure responsible for coordinating the development and
monitoring of the national implementation strategy for human rights education
in the school system. Th is unit will also be responsible for liaising with the United
Nations. Every country is also encouraged to identify and support a resource centre
for collecting and disseminating related initiatives and information (good practices
from diverse contexts and countries, educational materials, events).
At the international level, the Plan of Action proposes the creation of a United Na-
tions inter-agency coordinating committee, composed of the Offi ce of the United
Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), the United Nations
Educational, Scientifi c and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the United Na-
tions Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the United Nations Development Programme
(UNDP) and other relevant international agencies. With the Offi ce of the High
Commissioner providing its secretariat, this committee will meet regularly to fol-
low up on the implementation of the Plan of Action, mobilize resources and sup-
port actions at country level, as well as ensure United Nations system-wide support
to the national implementation strategy. United Nations entities that monitor a
country’s compliance with its treaty obligations and other relevant United Nations
mechanisms will be called upon to emphasize and report on progress in human
rights education in the school system.
At the conclusion of the fi rst phase (2005-2007) of the World Programme, each
country will evaluate its actions and report to the United Nations inter-agency
coordinating committee. On the basis of these reports, the committee will prepare
a fi nal report for the General Assembly in 2008.
What kind of support is available from the United Nations?
Th e national implementation strategies of Member States can be supported by
international cooperation from the United Nations system and other international
and regional intergovernmental organizations, organizations of ministers of edu-
cation, non-governmental organizations and fi nancial institutions. Th e close col-
laboration of these actors is indispensable to maximize resources, avoid duplication
and ensure coherence.
Th ese bodies may assist in a variety of ways, for instance:
• In the elaboration, implementation and monitoring of the national im-
plementation strategy, in direct contact with the ministries of education
or other relevant national actors;
• By facilitating information-sharing at all levels, including through the iden-
tifi cation, collection and dissemination of good practices as well as informa-
tion about available materials, institutions and programmes;
• By encouraging the development of human rights education networks;
• By supporting training and research.
Plan of action for
the first phase (2005-2007)
of the World Programme
for Human Rights EducationIntroduction
I
“Th e World Conference on Human Rights considers human rights edu-
cation, training and public information essential for the promotion and
achievement of stable and harmonious relations among communities
and for fostering mutual understanding, tolerance and peace” (Vienna
Declaration and Programme of Action, Part II. D, para. 78).
A.
Context and definition
of human rights education
1. Th e international community has increasingly expressed consensus on the
fundamental contribution of human rights education to the realization of hu-
man rights. Human rights education aims at developing an understanding
of our common responsibility to make human rights a reality in every com-
munity and in society at large. In this sense, it contributes to the long-term
prevention of human rights abuses and violent confl icts, the promotion of
equality and sustainable development and the enhancement of people’s par-
ticipation in decision-making processes within a democratic system, as stated
in Commission on Human Rights resolution 2004/71.
2. Provisions on human rights education have been incorporated in many inter-
national instruments, including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
(article 26), the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural
Rights (article 13), the Convention on the Rights of the Child (article 29), the
Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Wom-
en (article 10), the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms
of Racial Discrimination (article 7), the Vienna Declaration and Programme
of Action (Part I, paras. 33-34 and Part II, paras. 78-82) and the Declaration
 and Programme of Action of the World Conference against Racism, Racial
Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance, held in Durban, South
Africa, in 2001 (Declaration, paras. 95-97 and Programme of Action, paras.
129-139).
3. In accordance with these instruments, which provide elements of a defi ni-
tion of human rights education as agreed upon by the international com-
munity, human rights education can be defi ned as education, training and
information aiming at building a universal culture of human rights through
the sharing of knowledge, imparting of skills and moulding of attitudes
directed to:
(a) Th e strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental
freedoms;
(b) Th e full development of the human personality and the sense of its dig-
nity;
(c) Th e promotion of understanding, tolerance, gender equality and friend-
ship among all nations, indigenous peoples and racial, national, ethnic,
religious and linguistic groups;
(d) Th e enabling of all persons to participate eff ectively in a free and demo-
cratic society governed by the rule of law;
(e) Th e building and maintenance of peace;
(f) Th e promotion of people-centred sustainable development and social jus-
tice.
4. Human rights education encompasses:
(a) Knowledge and skills — learning about human rights and mechanisms
for their protection, as well as acquiring skills to apply them in daily
life;
(b) Values, attitudes and behaviour — developing values and reinforcing at-
titudes and behaviour which uphold human rights;
(c) Action — taking action to defend and promote human rights.
5. With a view to encouraging human rights education initiatives, Member

States have adopted various specifi c international frameworks for action, such
as the World Public Information Campaign on Human Rights, focusing on
the development and dissemination of human rights information materials,the United Nations Decade for Human Rights Education, 1995-2004 and its
Plan of Action, encouraging the elaboration and implementation of compre-
hensive, eff ective and sustainable strategies for human rights education at the
national level, and the International Decade for a Culture of Peace and Non-
Violence for the Children of the World (2001-2010).
6. In 2004, the Economic and Social Council, welcoming Commission on Hu-
man Rights resolution 2004/71, requested the General Assembly to proclaim,
at its fi fty-ninth session, a world programme for human rights education, to
begin on 1 January 2005 and to be structured in consecutive phases, in order
to further focus national human rights education eff orts on specifi c sectors/is-
sues periodically identifi ed by the Commission on Human Rights.
B.
Objectives of the World Programme
for Human Rights Education
7. Th e objectives of the World Programme for Human Rights Education are:
(a) To promote the development of a culture of human rights;
(b) To promote a common understanding, based on international instru-
ments, of basic principles and methodologies for human rights educa-
tion;
(c) To ensure a focus on human rights education at the national, regional and
international levels;
(d) To provide a common collective framework for action by all relevant ac-
tors;
(e) To enhance partnership and cooperation at all levels;
(f) To take stock of and support existing human rights education pro-
grammes, to highlight successful practices, and to provide an incentive to
continue and/or expand them and to develop new ones.
 C.
Principles for human rights education activities 1
8. Educational activities within the World Programme shall:
(a) Promote the interdependence, indivisibility and universality of human
rights, including civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights and
the right to development;
(b) Foster respect for and appreciation of diff erences, and opposition to dis-
crimination on the basis of race, sex, language, religion, political or other
opinion, national, ethnic or social origin, physical or mental condition,
and on other bases;
(c) Encourage analysis of chronic and emerging human rights problems (in-
cluding poverty, violent confl icts and discrimination), which would lead
to solutions consistent with human rights standards;
(d) Empower communities and individuals to identify their human rights
needs and to ensure that they are met;
(e) Build on the human rights principles embedded within the diff erent cul-
tural contexts and take into account historical and social developments in
each country;
(f) Foster knowledge of and skills to use local, national, regional and inter-
national human rights instruments and mechanisms for the protection of
human rights;
(g) Make use of participatory pedagogies that include knowledge, critical
analysis and skills for action furthering human rights;
(h) Foster teaching and learning environments free from want and fear that
encourage participation, enjoyment of human rights and the full develop-
ment of the human personality;
(i) Be relevant to the daily life of the learners, engaging them in a dialogue
about ways and means of transforming human rights from the expression
of abstract norms to the reality of their social, economic, cultural and
political conditions.

1. Th e section on the principles for human rights education activities is based on the guidelines
for national plans of action for human rights education developed within the United Na-
tions Decade for Human Rights Education, 1995-2004 (A/52/469/Add.1 and Corr.1).The first phase (2005-2007):
a plan of action for human
rights education in the primar y
and secondar y school systems
“Th e World Conference on Human Rights reaffi rms that States are duty-
bound … to ensure that education is aimed at strengthening the respect
of human rights and fundamental freedoms [and that] this should be
integrated in the educational policies at the national as well as inter-
national levels” (Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action, Part I,
para. 33).
9. In accordance with resolution 2004/71 of the Commission on Human Rights,
the fi rst phase (2005-2007) of the World Programme for Human Rights Edu-
cation will focus on the primary and secondary school systems.
A.
Context
10. Th e plan of action draws on the principles and frameworks set by interna-
tional human rights instruments such as the Universal Declaration of Human
Rights, the Convention on the Rights of the Child and related guidelines
adopted by the Committee on the Rights of the Child (in particular, general
comment No. 1 (2001) on the aims of education), the 1993 Vienna Declara-
tion and Programme of Action and the Declaration and Integrated Frame-
work of Action on Education for Peace, Human Rights and Democracy. It also
draws on international declarations and programmes on education.
(2005-2007):
II
  
11. Th e Dakar Framework for Action on Education For All: Meeting Our Col-
lective Commitments, adopted at the World Education Forum in 2000, 2 the
major international platform and collective commitment to the achievement
of the goals and targets of Education For All (EFA), reaffi rmed a vision of
education supported by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the
Convention on the Rights of the Child and geared towards learning to live
together. In the Dakar Framework, education is considered key “to sustainable
development and peace and stability” (para. 6), by fostering social cohesion
and empowering people to become active participants in social transforma-
tion. Goal 6 of the Dakar Framework is to improve all aspects of the qual-
ity of education, ensuring their excellence so that recognized and measurable
learning outcomes are achieved by all, especially in literacy, numeracy and
essential life skills. 3 It provides the basis for a concept of quality education
that goes beyond reading, writing and arithmetic, and which, while necessar-
ily dynamic, is strongly rights-based and entails democratic citizenship, values
and solidarity as important outcomes.
12. A rights-based quality education encompasses the concept of education for
sustainable development as contained in the Plan of Implementation of the
World Summit on Sustainable Development. Education is seen as a process
for addressing important questions such as rural development, health care,
community involvement, HIV/AIDS, the environment, traditional and indig-
enous knowledge, and wider ethical issues such as human values and human
rights. It is further stated that the success in the struggle for sustainable devel-
opment requires an approach to education that strengthens “our engagement
in support of other values — especially justice and fairness — and the aware-
ness that we share a common destiny with others”. 4 Th e World Programme
2. See United Nations Educational, Scientifi c and Cultural Organization, Final Report of the
World Education Forum, Dakar, Senegal, 26-28 April 2000, Paris, 2000.
3. According to general comment No. 1 (2001) of the Committee on the Rights of the Child
on the aims of education, life skills include “the ability to make well-balanced decisions;
to resolve confl icts in a non-violent manner; and to develop a healthy lifestyle, good social
relationships and responsibility, critical thinking, creative talents, and other abilities which
give children the tools needed to pursue their options in life” (Offi cial Records of the Gen-
eral Assembly, Fifty-seventh Session, Supplement No. 41 (A/57/41), annex VIII, appendix,
para. 9).
4. UNESCO, “Education for Sustainability: from Rio to Johannesburg: lessons learned from
a decade of commitment” (Paris, 2002).13. One of the Millennium Development Goals adopted by the international
community on the occasion of the United Nations Millennium Summit in
2000 is the promotion of universal access to primary education, which is still
a major challenge. Although enrolment rates have been increasing in several
regions, the quality of education remains low for many. For example, gen-
der biases, threats to the physical and emotional security of girls and gender-
insensitive curricula can all conspire against the realization of the right to
education (A/56/326, para. 94). Th is plan of action aims at contributing to
the achievement of this Millennium Development Goal by promoting rights-
based quality education.
14. Th e plan of action is also placed within the context of action of Member States
and others to promote the universal right to literacy, in particular within the
framework of the United Nations Literacy Decade (2003-2012), literacy be-
ing a key learning tool towards the fulfi lment of the right to education.
B.
Human rights education in the school system
15. Human rights education is widely considered to be an integral part of the right
to education. As stated by the Committee on the Rights of the Child in its
general comment No. 1, “the education to which each child has a right is one
designed to provide the child with life skills, to strengthen the child’s capac-
ity to enjoy the full range of human rights and to promote a culture which is
infused by appropriate human rights values” (para. 2). Such education “is for
every child an indispensable tool for her or his eff orts to achieve in the course
of her or his life a balanced, human rights-friendly response to the challenges
that accompany a period of fundamental change driven by globalization, new
technologies and related phenomena” (para. 3).
(2005-2007):
for Human Rights Education would create synergies with the United Nations
Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (2005-2014), coupling ef-
forts to address issues of common concern.
  
16. Th e Convention on the Rights of the Child attaches particular importance to
the process by which education is to be promoted, as underlined in the general
comment: “Eff orts to promote the enjoyment of other rights must not be un-
dermined, and should be reinforced, by the values imparted in the educational
process. Th is includes not only the content of the curriculum but also the
educational processes, the pedagogical methods and the environment within
which education takes place”. 5 Accordingly, human rights should be learned
through both content transmission and experience, and should be practised at
all levels of the school system.
17. In this sense, human rights education promotes a rights-based approach to
education and should be understood as a process that includes:
(a) “Human rights through education”: ensuring that all the components
and processes of learning, including curricula, materials, methods and
training are conducive to the learning of human rights;
(b) “Human rights in education”: ensuring the respect of the human rights of
all actors, and the practice of rights, within the education system.
18. Th erefore, human rights education in the primary and secondary school sys-
tems includes:
(a) Policies — developing in a participatory way and adopting coherent edu-
cational policies, legislation and strategies that are human rights-based,
including curriculum improvement and training policies for teachers and
other educational personnel;
(b) Policy implementation — planning the implementation of the above-
mentioned educational policies by taking appropriate organizational
measures and by facilitating the involvement of all stakeholders;
(c) Learning environment — the school environment itself respects and pro-
motes human rights and fundamental freedoms. It provides the opportu-
nity for all school actors (students, teachers, staff and administrators and
5. In general comment No. 1, the Committee on the Rights of the Child also stated that “it
should be emphasized that the type of teaching that is focused primarily on accumulation
of knowledge, prompting competition and leading to an excessive burden of work on
children, may seriously hamper the harmonious development of the child to the fullest
potential of his or her abilities and talents” (Offi cial Records of the General Assembly, Fifty-
seventh Session, Supplement No. 41 (A/57/41), annex VIII, appendix, para. 12).19. By promoting a rights-based approach to education, human rights education
enables the education system to fulfi l its fundamental mission to secure qual-
ity education for all. Accordingly, it contributes to improving the eff ectiveness
of the national education system as a whole, which in turn has a fundamental
role in each country’s economic, social and political development. It provides,
among others, the following benefi ts:
(a) Improved quality of learning achievements by promoting child-centred
and participatory teaching and learning practices and processes, as well
as a new role for the teaching profession;
(b) Increased 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 non-discrimination;
(c) A contribution to social cohesion and confl ict prevention by supporting
the social and emotional development of the child and by introducing
democratic citizenship and values.
6. General comment No. 1 also states that “Th e participation of children in school life, the
creation of school communities and student councils, peer education and peer counsel-
ling, and the involvement of children in school disciplinary proceedings should be pro-
moted as part of the process of learning and experiencing the realization of rights” (ibid.,
para. 8).
(2005-2007):
parents) to practise human rights through real-life activities. It enables
children to express their views freely and to participate in school life; 6
(d) Teaching and learning — all teaching and learning processes and tools are
rights-based (for instance, the content and objectives of the curriculum,
participatory and democratic practices and methodologies, appropriate
materials including the review and revision of existing textbooks, etc.);
(e) Education and professional development of teachers and other personnel
— providing the teaching profession and school leadership, through pre-
and in-service training, with the necessary knowledge, understanding, skills
and competencies to facilitate the learning and practice of human rights in
schools, as well as with appropriate working conditions and status.
A detailed description of the fi ve components and related courses of action, to
serve as a reference tool, is provided in the appendix.
 
20. All eff orts taking place in the school system towards peace education, citizen-
ship and values education, multicultural education, global education or educa-
tion for sustainable development do include human rights principles in their
content and methodologies. It is important that all of them, using this plan of
action as a reference, promote a rights-based approach to education, which goes
beyond teaching and learning and aims at providing a platform for systemic
improvement of the school sector in the context of national education reforms.
C.
Specific objectives of the plan of action
21. Considering the overall objectives of the World Programme for Human Rights
Education (see sect. I above), this plan aims to achieve the following specifi c
objectives:
(a) To promote the inclusion and practice of human rights in the primary
and secondary school systems;
(b) To support the development, adoption and implementation of compre-
hensive, eff ective and sustainable national human rights education strate-
gies in school systems, and/or the review and improvement of existing
initiatives;
(c) To provide guidelines on key components of human rights education in
the school system;
(d) To facilitate the provision of support to Member States by international,
regional, national and local organizations;
(e) To support networking and cooperation among local, national, regional
and international institutions.
22. Th is plan provides:
(a) A defi nition of human rights education in the school system based on
internationally agreed principles;
(b) A user-friendly guide to developing and/or improving human rights edu-
cation in the school system, by proposing concrete actions for implemen-
tation at the national level;
(c) A fl exible guide which can be adapted to diff erent contexts and situations
and to diff erent types of education systems.Implementation strateg y at
the national level
A.
Introduction
23. Th is plan is an incentive and a means to develop and strengthen human rights
education in primary and secondary school systems at the national level. Its
underlying assumption is that a process of change and improvement should
happen by taking several simultaneous actions in diff erent areas (see appen-
dix). To be eff ective, such a process should be organized along the lines of
widely accepted stages of a development cycle. Realistic goals and means for
action need to be established in accordance with a country’s context, priorities
and capacity, and based on previous national eff orts (such as those undertaken
within the framework of the United Nations Decade for Human Rights Edu-
cation, 1995-2004).
III
24. Th is plan and its implementation strategy recognize that the situation of hu-
man rights education in school systems diff ers from country to country. For
instance, human rights education may be largely missing in some countries;
other countries may have national policies and programmes, but little imple-
mentation; in other cases there may be grass-roots initiatives and projects in
schools, often supported by international organizations, but not necessarily
part of a national policy; other countries may be very supportive of human
rights education with well-developed national policies and actions. Whatever
the situation and the type of education system, the development or improve-
ment of human rights education is to be on each country’s education agenda.
25. Th e implementation strategy addresses primarily the ministries of education,
which have the main responsibility for primary and secondary education at
national level. Ministries of education are therefore the main leaders and ac-
tors. Th e implementation strategy also addresses other relevant institutions
(see paras. 28-30 below), which should be involved in all stages of planning
and implementation.
B.
Stages of the implementation strategy
26. Th is section proposes four stages to facilitate the process of planning, imple-
mentation and evaluation of human rights education in the school system.
Th ey provide guidelines to assist Member States in implementing this plan of
action.
Stage 1: Analysis of the current situation of human rights education in the school
system
Actions

• Address the question: Where are we?
• Collect information on and analyse the following:
– Current situation of the primary and secondary school system, including
the situation of human rights in schools;
– Historical and cultural backgrounds that may infl uence human rights
education in the school system;
– Human rights education initiatives, if any, in primary and secondary
school systems;
– Achievements and shortcomings of and obstacles to initiatives undertaken
within the United Nations Decade for Human Rights Education, 1995-2004;
– Involvement of various actors, such as governmental institutions, national
human rights institutions, universities, research institutes and non-govern-
mental organizations, in human rights education in the school system;
– Good human rights education practice existing at national and regional levels;
– Role of similar types of education (education for sustainable develop-
ment, peace education, global education, multicultural education, citi-
zenship and values education) that may exist in the country.
• Determine which measures and components of human rights education
exist already, based on the reference tool provided in the appendix. Other•



elements for the analysis would be the national reports to the United Na-
tions treaty bodies, as well as reports produced within the framework of the
Decade at national and international levels.
Identify key features and areas by analysing and determining advantages,
disadvantages, as well as opportunities for and limitations to human rights
education in the school system.
Draw conclusions on the state of existence and implementation of human
rights education.
Consider how to build on advantages and lessons learned, and how to use
opportunities.
Consider changes and measures that are necessary to deal with disadvan-
tages and limitations.
Outputs
• National study on human rights education in the primary and secondary
school systems.
• Wide dissemination of the results of the study at the national level through,
for example, publications, a conference or public debate to elaborate orien-
tations for the national implementation strategy for human rights educa-
tion in the school system.
Stage 2: Setting priorities and developing a national implementation strategy
Actions
• Address the question: Where do we want to go and how?
• Defi ne a mission statement, that is, the basic goal for implementing human
rights education in the school system.
• Fix objectives using the appendix as a reference.
• Set priorities on the basis of the fi ndings of the national study. Th ese pri-
orities may take into consideration the most pressing needs and/or the op-
portunities available.
• Focus on issues potentially leading to impact: What can we really do?
• Give priority to measures that will secure sustainable change vis-à-vis ad
hoc activities.
• Set the direction of the national implementation strategy and link objec-
tives with available resources, by identifying:
– Inputs: allocation of available resources (human, fi nancial, time);
– Activities (tasks, responsibilities, time frame and milestones);
– Outputs: concrete products (for example, new legislation, studies, capacity-
building seminars, educational materials, revision of textbooks, etc.);
– Outcomes: achieved results.
Output
A national implementation strategy for human rights education in the pri-
mary and secondary school system that identifi es objectives and priorities and
foresees at least some implementation activities for the period 2005-2007.
Stage 3: Implementing and monitoring
Actions
• Th e guiding idea should be: getting there.
• Disseminate the national implementation strategy.
• Initiate the implementation of the planned activities within the national
implementation strategy.
• Monitor the implementation using fi xed milestones.
Output
Depending on the priorities of the national implementation strategy, outputs
can be, for instance, legislation, mechanisms for coordination of the national
implementation strategy, new or revised textbooks and learning materials,
training courses, participatory teaching and/or learning methodologies or
non-discriminatory policies protecting all members of the school community.
Stage 4: Evaluating
Actions
• Address the question: Did we get there and with what success?
• Adopt evaluation as a method of accountability and a means to learn and to
improve a possible next phase of activities.
Outputs
• National report on the outcomes of the national implementation strategy
for human rights education in the primary and secondary school system.
• Recommendations for future action based on lessons learned throughout
the implementation process.
C.
• Use self-evaluation as well as independent external evaluation to review
implementation.
• Check the fulfi lment of the set objectives and examine the implementation
process.
• Acknowledge, disseminate, and celebrate the achievement of results.
Minimum action
27. Member States are encouraged to undertake as minimum action during the
fi rst phase (2005-2007) of the World Programme the following:
(a) An analysis of the current situation of human rights education in the
school system (stage 1);
(b) Setting of priorities and the development of the national implementation
strategy (stage 2);
(c) Th e initial implementation of planned activities.
D. Actors
28. Main responsibility for the implementation of this plan of action rests with
the ministries of education through their relevant agencies dealing with such
concerns as:
(a) Educational policy;
(b) Programme planning;
(c) Curriculum development;
(d) Teaching and learning material development;
(e) Pre- and in-service training of teachers and other educational personnel;
(f) Teaching and learning methodologies;
(g) Inclusive education;
(h) Regional/provincial/local administration;
(i) Research;
(j) Dissemination of information.
29. Th e implementation of this plan of action needs the close collaboration of
other institutions, namely:
(a) Teachers’ colleges and faculties of education of universities;
(b) Teachers’ unions, professional organizations and accrediting institutions;
(c) National, federal, local and state legislative bodies, including education,
development and human rights parliamentary committees;
(d) National human rights institutions such as ombudsmen and human
rights commissions;
(e) National commissions for UNESCO;
(f) National/local groups/organizations, including, for example, national
committees for the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and other
community-based organizations;
(g) National branches of international non-governmental organizations;
(h) Parents’ associations;
(i) Students’ associations;
(j) Education research institutes;
(k) National and local human rights resource and training centres.
30. It also needs the support of other stakeholders such as:
(a)
(b)
(c)
(d)
(e)
(f)
(g)
 
Other relevant ministries (welfare, labour, justice, women, youth);
Youth organizations;
Media representatives;
Religious institutions;
Cultural, social and community leaders;
Indigenous peoples and minority groups;
Th e business community.Funding
31. As mentioned in section II above, human rights education in the national
education system can also assist in improving the system’s eff ectiveness. It
provides a set of guiding principles to support educational reform and helps
to respond to current challenges of education systems worldwide, such as ac-
cess to and equal opportunities in education, the contribution of education to
social inclusion and cohesion, the role and status of teachers, the relevance of
education for students and the society, the improvement of students’ achieve-
ments and educational governance.
32. Having this in mind, funding for human rights education can be made avail-
E.
able also within the context of resources allocated to the national education
system in general, and in particular by:
(a) Optimizing already committed national funds to quality education in or-
der to implement this plan;
(b) Coordinating external funds and allocation practices based on the actions
set out in this plan;
(c) Creating partnerships between the public and private sectors.
Coordination of the implementation
of the plan of action
A.
National level
33. Main responsibility for the implementation of the plan of action shall rest with
the ministry of education in each country. Th e ministry should assign or strength-
en a relevant department or unit responsible for coordinating the elaboration,
implementation and monitoring of the national implementation strategy.
IV
34. Th e coordinating department or unit would engage relevant departments with-
in the ministry of education, other ministries and concerned national actors
(see sect. III, paras. 28-30, above) in the elaboration, implementation and mon-
itoring of the national implementation strategy. In this regard, it could facilitate
the establishment of a human rights education coalition of those actors.
35 . Th e coordinating department or unit would be called upon to provide up-
dated and detailed information on national progress made in this area to the
United Nations inter-agency coordinating committee (see para. 38 below).
36. Moreover, the coordinating department or unit would work in close coopera-
tion with relevant national agencies responsible for the elaboration of country
reports to the United Nations treaty bodies, in order to ensure that progress
in human rights education is included in those reports.
37. Member States are also encouraged to identify and support a resource centre
for collecting and disseminating initiatives and information (good practices
from diverse contexts and countries, educational materials, events) on human
rights education at national level.
B.
International level
38. A United Nations inter-agency coordinating committee, composed of OHCHR,
UNESCO, UNICEF, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
and other relevant international agencies, including the World Bank, will be set
up and be responsible for the international coordination of activities under this
plan of action. Th e secretariat of this committee will be provided by OHCHR.
39. Th e committee will meet regularly to follow up on the implementation of this
plan of action, mobilize resources and support actions at country level. In this
regard, it may invite to its meetings, on an ad hoc basis, other relevant inter-
national and regional institutions, experts and actors, such as members of the
United Nations treaty bodies, the Special Rapporteur of the Commission on
Human Rights on the right to education and others.
40 . Th e committee will be responsible for liasing with the United Nations country
teams or international agencies’ country presences to ensure the follow-up of
the plan of action and United Nations system-wide support to the national im-
plementation strategy, in line with the Secretary-General’s reform programme,
which provides for coordinated United Nations action at the country level to sup-
port national human rights protection systems (A/57/387 and Corr.1, action 2).
41. Th e United Nations treaty bodies, when examining reports of States parties, will
be called upon to place emphasis on the obligation of States parties to imple-
ment human rights education in the school systems and to refl ect that emphasis
in their concluding observations.
42. Furthermore, all relevant thematic and country mechanisms of the Commission
on Human Rights (including the 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.
institutions and organizations with a view to monitoring more eff ectively the
implementation of this plan of action.
43. Th e committee may consider seeking assistance of regional and subregional
 International cooperation and
support
44. International cooperation and support towards the implementation of this
plan of action will be provided by:
(a) Th e United Nations system;
(b) Other international intergovernmental organizations;
(c) Regional intergovernmental organizations;
(d) Regional organizations of ministers of education;
(e) International and regional forums of ministers of education;
(f) International and regional non-governmental organizations;
(g) Regional human rights resource and documentation centres;
(h) International and regional fi nancial institutions (World Bank, regional
development banks, etc.), as well as bilateral funding agencies.
V
45. It is indispensable that those actors collaborate closely in order to maximize
resources, avoid duplication and ensure coherence for the implementation of
this plan of action.
46. Th e objective of international cooperation and support will be the strengthen-
ing of national and local capacities for human rights education in the primary
and secondary school systems within the framework of the national imple-
mentation strategy dealt with in section III of this plan of action.
47. Th e above-mentioned organizations and institutions may consider undertak-
ing, inter alia, the following actions:
(a) Support ministries of education in the elaboration, implementation and
monitoring of the national implementation strategy, including the devel-
opment of related specialized tools;
 (b) Provide support to other national actors involved, in particular national
and local non-governmental organizations, professional associations and
other civil society organizations;
(c) Facilitate information-sharing among concerned actors at the national,
regional and international levels by identifying, collecting and dissemi-
nating information on good practices, as well as on available materials,
institutions and programmes, through traditional and electronic means;
(d) Support existing networks among actors in human rights education and
promote the creation of new ones at the national, regional and interna-
tional levels;
(e) Support eff ective human rights training (including training on participa-
tory teaching and learning methodologies) for teachers, teacher trainers,
education offi cials and employees of non-governmental organizations;
(f) Support research on the implementation of national human rights
education in schools, including studies on practical measures for its
improvement.
48. In order to mobilize resources to support the implementation of this plan of
action, international and regional fi nancial institutions, as well as bilateral
funding agencies will be called upon to explore ways of linking their funding
programmes on education to this plan of action and to human rights educa-
tion in general.
VI
Evaluation
49. At the conclusion of the fi rst phase (2005-2007) of the World Programme,
each country will undertake an evaluation of actions implemented under this
plan of action. Th e evaluation will take into consideration progress made in
a number of areas, such as legal frameworks and policies, curricula, teaching
and learning processes and tools, revision of textbooks, teacher training, im-
provement of the school environment, etc. Th e Member States will be called
upon to provide their fi nal national evaluation report to the United Nations
inter-agency coordinating committee.
50. To this end, international and regional organizations will provide assistance to
build or strengthen national capacities for evaluation.
51. Th e inter-agency coordinating committee will prepare a fi nal evaluation re-
port based on national evaluation reports, in cooperation with relevant in-
ternational, regional and non-governmental organizations. Th e report will be
submitted to the General Assembly at its sixty-third session (2008).
 Appendix
Components of human rights education in the primary
and secondary school systems
1. Each country’s context has a considerable infl uence on its possibilities and
strategies for promoting the inclusion and practice of human rights education
in the school system. However, beyond the ensuing diversity, common trends
and approaches can be identifi ed for developing human rights education. Th e
fi ve components set out in the present appendix in a generic fashion are based
on existing worldwide successful experiences as well as studies and research,
including consultations carried out in preparation of the present plan of action
and the midterm (2000) and fi nal (2004) evaluations of the United Nations
Decade for Human Rights Education, 1995-2004. Th e components compile
good practice, which the main actors of this plan of action are invited to strive
towards gradually and progressively. Th e components are indicative and not
prescriptive. Th ey propose options and recommend possible courses of action,
and should serve as a reference tool. Th ey will need to be adapted to each con-
text and national education system in line with the national implementation
strategy of this plan of action.
A.
Policies
2. Education policies are understood as clear and coherent statements of com-
mitments. Prepared at the relevant government level, mainly national, but
also regional and municipal, and in cooperation with all stakeholders, they
include principles, defi nitions and objectives and serve as a normative refer-
ence throughout the education system and for all educational actors.
3. Human rights education, which promotes a rights-based approach to educa-
tion, is to be stated explicitly in objectives of educational policy development
and reform, as well as in quality standards of education.
4. Th e rights-based approach to education implies that the school system be-
comes conscious of human rights and fundamental freedoms. Human rights
 are infused and implemented in the whole education system and in all learning
environments. Human rights are included both as an educational aim and as
quality criteria of education within key reference texts such as the constitution,
educational policy frameworks, educational legislation, and national curricula
and programmes.
5. To this end, the following measures correspond to key features of policymak-
ing for human rights education within the school system:
(a) Adopt a participatory approach to policy development by involving non-
governmental organizations (NGOs), teachers associations and unions,
professional and research bodies, civil society organizations and other
stakeholders in the preparation of educational policy texts;
(b) Fulfi l international obligations on human rights education: 1
(i) Promote the ratifi cation of the international instruments concern-
ing the right to education;
(ii) Include information on human rights education in the national
reports to the relevant international monitoring mechanisms, in-
cluding the Committee on the Rights of the Child and the United
Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights;
(iii) Cooperate with non-governmental organizations, other sectors of
civil society and human rights education specialists in preparing the
above-mentioned national reports;
(iv) Publicize and comply with the recommendations made by the inter-
national monitoring mechanisms;
(c) Develop policies and legislation for a rights-based approach to education
and human rights education:
(i) Include human rights education in education laws;
(ii) Ensure that all legislation is aligned with the principles of human
rights education and monitor inconsistency in legislation;
(iii) Adopt specifi c legislation on human rights education;
 
1. Such as those stemming from the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cul-
tural Rights, the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Convention on the Elimi-
nation of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, the International Convention
on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination and the Convention against
Discrimination in Education.(iv) Ensure that policies are based on relevant research in human rights
education;
(v) Empower schools and schools’ leadership to implement autonomy
in decision-making and innovation;
(vi) Ensure that policies for reporting educational performance (ac-
countability) are in line with human rights principles and establish
specifi c accountability policies for human rights education;
(vii) Provide guidelines to local authorities on their roles and responsi-
bilities in implementing and supporting human rights education;
(d) Ensure coherence in policy development:
(i) Include human rights education in national sectoral plans for pri-
mary and secondary education; national plans for Education For
All (EFA); and national policy frameworks as part of the Decade on
Education for Sustainable Development (2005-2014);
(ii) Include human rights education in national human rights plans,
national action plans against racism, racial discrimination, xeno-
phobia and related intolerance and national poverty reduction strat-
egies;
(iii) Ensure coherence, links and synergies between the diff erent plans
and their respective sections on human rights education;
(iv) Relate human rights education policies and other sectoral policies
(e.g. judicial, social, youth, health);
(e) Include human rights education in the curriculum:
(i) Ensure that policies are based on relevant research in human rights
education;
(ii) Acknowledge, in the overall national curriculum and educational
standards, human rights values, knowledge and attitudes as basic
skills and competencies, complementing literacy and numeracy
skills and competencies;
(iii) Prepare a national curriculum specifi cally for human rights educa-
tion, setting out concepts and goals, teaching and learning objec-
tives and approaches;
(iv) Defi ne the status of human rights education within the curriculum,
according to the school level, and possibly as obligatory or optional,
subject-based and/or cross-curricular (whereby human rights are in-
cluded in all curriculum subjects);
 (v)
Make the teaching and learning of human rights a full-fl edged and
explicit component particularly of citizenship education, social
studies and history;
(vi) Make the teaching and learning of human rights a full-fl edged and
explicit component of the school-based curriculum (teaching and
learning programmes decided by schools);
(vii) Include human rights education in vocational education and training;
(viii) Adopt guidelines for revising textbooks so that they are in line with
human rights principles as well as for developing specifi c textbooks
for human rights education;
(ix) Promote a human rights-based approach to school governance,
management, discipline procedures, inclusion policies and other
regulations and practices aff ecting the school culture and access to
education;
(x) Develop appropriate procedures for the assessment of and feedback
on students’ achievements on human rights values, knowledge and
attitudes;
(f) Adopt a comprehensive training policy on human rights education
including:
(i) Th e training of trainers, the training of head teachers, pre-service
and in-service training of teachers, and the training of other educa-
tional personnel;
(ii) Information on the rights, responsibilities and participation of stu-
dents and teachers in all pre- and in-service teacher training policies
and programmes;
(iii) Recognizing, accrediting and supporting NGOs and other sectors
of civil society carrying out training activities in human rights edu-
cation;
(iv) Considering human rights education as a criterion for the qualifi ca-
tion, accreditation and career development of educational staff and
the accreditation of training activities of non-governmental organi-
zations.
B.
Planning policy implementation
6. Eff ective educational policy development and reform requires both explicit
policy statements and a consistent implementation strategy, including clearly
defi ned measures, mechanisms, responsibilities and resources. Such an im-
plementation strategy is a means of ensuring coherence, monitoring and ac-
countability of policies. It helps avoid a gap between policy and practice,
rhetoric and reality, as well as situations where practices are happening, if at
all, in a dispersed or inconsistent way, or on an ad hoc or voluntary basis.
7. Human rights education implies changes in the whole education system. But
policy statements and commitments per se are not enough to ensure such edu-
cational change. Planning policy implementation is a key feature of eff ective
human rights education.
8. Th e implementation of human rights education policies needs to be in line
with current trends in educational governance towards devolution of powers,
democratic governance, school autonomy, and sharing of rights and respon-
sibilities within the education system. Th e responsibility for the education
system cannot or should not lie with the Ministry of Education only, given
the multiplicity of stakeholders such as the local government and the school
district; head teachers, teachers and other educational staff , their organiza-
tions and unions; students and parents; research bodies and training insti-
tutions; non-governmental organizations, other sectors of civil society and
communities.
9. Th e fact that both national authorities and the local/school level are respon-
sible for education governance, improvement and innovation implies specifi c
roles for each level: the role of central authorities is to set common policy
frameworks and implementation and accountability mechanisms; the role of
the local/school level is to fi nd ways to take into account and tackle local
diversity and needs and develop specifi c school profi les, including in human
rights. In addition, the ownership of educational goals and the development
 of teaching and learning practices by teachers and other educational staff ,
parents and students needs to be ensured.
10. In this context, the following aspects are indicative of good practice for the
organization of policy implementation and for key implementation measures
by national authorities:
(a) Organization of policy implementation:
(i) Prepare a national implementation strategy in the fi eld of human
rights education including the type of measures, the division of tasks
and identifi cation of responsibilities of relevant educational insti-
tutions, the communication and cooperation procedures between
these institutions, the timeline for the policy implementation with
identifi ed milestones (see also stage 2 of the national implementa-
tion strategy of this plan of action);
(ii) Assign or strengthen a department/unit within the Ministry of Ed-
ucation responsible for coordinating the national implementation
strategy;
(iii) Ensure cooperation between the diff erent sectors and departments
related to human rights and human rights education, including
those dealing with social and legal issues, youth, gender, etc.;
(iv) Facilitate the establishment of a human rights education coalition
of all relevant actors involved in this fi eld to ensure coherence of
implementation;
(b) Measures for policy implementation:
(i) Allocate suffi cient resources (fi nancial, human, time) for human
rights education;
(ii) Establish appropriate mechanisms so that stakeholders can be fully
and eff ectively involved in policy development and implementation;
(iii) Publish and disseminate the above-mentioned national implemen-
tation strategy, and ensure it is debated and endorsed by relevant
actors, benefi ciaries and the public at large;
(iv) Organize communication and cooperation between offi cials respon-
sible for the diff erent plans indicated in section A, paragraph 5 (d),
above;
(v)
(vi)
(vii)
(viii)
(ix)
(x)
(xi)
C.
Consider piloting the human rights education approach in a selection
of schools before mainstreaming it into the whole education system;
Identify and support a resource centre for collecting and disseminat-
ing initiatives and information (good practices from diverse contexts
and countries, educational materials, events) on human rights educa-
tion at the national level;
Support and promote research, for example, on the knowledge of hu-
man rights, practices of human rights education in schools, students’
learning outcomes and the impact of human rights education;
Encourage research in human rights education by academic centres
specifi cally devoted to human rights education, as well as through
cooperation between schools, research institutes and university fac-
ulties;
Participate in international surveys and comparative studies;
Establish a rights-based quality assurance system (including school
self-evaluation and development planning, school inspection, etc.)
for education in general and create specifi c quality assurance mecha-
nisms for human rights education;
Involve learners and educators directly in carrying out monitoring
and evaluation processes so as to promote empowerment and self-
refl ection.
The learning environment 2
11. Human rights education goes beyond cognitive learning and includes the
social and emotional development of all those involved in the learning and
teaching process. It aims at developing a culture of human rights, where hu-
man rights are practised and lived within the school community and through
interaction with the wider surrounding community.
12. To this end, it is essential to ensure that human rights teaching and learning
happen in a human rights-based learning environment. It is essential to en-
2. Th is section uses the term “Learning environment” mainly to address issues related to
school governance and management. It does not include other aspects of the learning
environment, such as school supplies, sanitation, health, clean water, food, etc.
 sure that educational objectives, practices and the organization of the schools
are consistent with human rights values and principles. Likewise, it is impor-
tant that the culture and the community within and beyond the school are
also embedding those principles.
13. A rights-based school is characterized by mutual understanding, respect and
responsibility. It fosters equal opportunities, a sense of belonging, autono-
my, dignity and self-esteem for all members of the school community. It is a
school that is child- centred, relevant and meaningful, where human rights are
identifi ed, explicitly and distinctively, for everybody as learning objectives and
as the school philosophy/ethos.
14. A rights-based school is the responsibility of all members of the school com-
munity, with the school leadership having the primary responsibility to create
favourable and enabling conditions to reach these aims.
15. A rights-based school will ensure the existence and eff ectiveness of the follow-
ing elements:
(a) Policy statements and implementation provisions for human rights in the
school will be explicit and shared and will include:
(i) A charter on students’ and teachers’ rights and responsibilities based
on a clear distribution of roles and tasks;
(ii) A code of conduct for a school free of violence, sexual abuse, harass-
ment and corporal punishments, including procedures for resolving
confl icts and dealing with violence and bullying;
(iii) Non-discrimination policies protecting all members of the school
community including admissions, scholarships, advancement, pro-
motion, special programmes, eligibility and opportunities;
(iv) Th e recognition and celebration of human rights achievements
through festivities, awards and prizes;
(b) Teachers in a rights-based school will have:
(i) An explicit mandate from the school leadership concerning human
rights education;
(ii) Education and ongoing professional development in human rights
education content and methodology;
(iii) Opportunities for developing and implementing new and innova-
tive good practices in human rights education;
(iv) Mechanisms for sharing good practices, including networking of
human rights educators at local, national and international levels;
(v) Policies for the recruitment, retention and promotion of teachers
that refl ect human rights principles;
(c) Students in a rights-based school will have:
(i) Opportunities for self-expression, responsibilities and participation in
decision-making, in accordance with their age and evolving capacity;
(ii) Opportunities for organizing their own activities, for representing,
mediating and advocating their interests;
(d) Interaction will exist between the school, local government and the wider
community, including:
(i) Awareness-raising of parents and families about children’s rights
and key principles of human rights education;
(ii) Involvement of parents in human rights education initiatives and
projects;
(iii) Participation of parents in school decision-making through parents’
representative organizations;
(iv) Extra-curricular student projects and service in the community,
particularly on human rights issues;
(v) Collaboration with youth groups, civil society and local govern-
ment for awareness-raising and student support opportunities;
(vi) International exchanges.
D. Teaching and learning
16. Within the school system, teaching and learning are the key processes of hu-
man rights education.
17. Th e legal and political basis for what these processes entail and how they are
to be organized in primary and secondary education need to be provided by
the human rights education policies and through the education and profes-
sional development of teachers and other educational staff .
 18. Introducing or improving human rights education in the school system re-
quires adopting a holistic approach to teaching and learning, by integrating
programme objectives and content, resources, methodologies, assessment and
evaluation; by looking beyond the classroom; and by building partnerships
between diff erent members of the school community.
19. Th e following aspects are necessary for achieving quality human rights teach-
ing and learning. Th ey are addressed to policymakers at national and school
levels, teachers and other school personnel:
(a) Concerning the teaching and learning contents and objectives:
(i) Defi ne the basic human rights skills and competencies to be acquired;
(ii) Include human rights education in all aspects of the curriculum
starting as early as possible in primary education;
(iii) Adapt the learning content and objectives of human rights educa-
tion to the students’ age and evolving capacity;
(iv) Give equal importance to cognitive (knowledge and skills) and so-
cial/aff ective (values, attitudes, behaviours) learning outcomes;
(v) Relate human rights teaching and learning to the daily lives and
concerns of students;
(b) Concerning teaching and learning practices and methodologies:
(i) Adopt a teaching style that is coherent in terms of human rights,
respect the dignity of each student and provide equal opportunities
for them;
(ii) Create a child-friendly, trustful, secure and democratic atmosphere
in the classroom and school community;
(iii) Adopt learner-centred methods and approaches that empower stu-
dents and encourage their active participation, cooperative learn-
ing, and a sense of solidarity, creativity and self-esteem;
(iv) Adopt methods appropriate to the students’ development level,
abilities and learning styles;
(v) Adopt experience-based learning methods whereby students can
learn by doing and put human rights into practice;
(vi) Adopt experiential teaching methods with the teacher acting as a
facilitator, learning guide and adviser;
 (vii) Access good practices of relevant non-formal and informal learning
activities, resources and methods available with NGOs and in the
community;
(c) Concerning teaching and learning materials:
(i) Make sure that human rights education materials stem from the hu-
man rights principles as embedded in the relevant cultural contexts
as well as historical and social developments;
(ii) Encourage the collection, sharing, translation and adaptation of hu-
man rights education materials;
(iii) Review and revise textbooks and other educational materials of the
whole curriculum to conform with human rights principles;
(iv) Support the development of diff erent educational materials and re-
sources that conform with human rights principles such as teacher
guides, manuals, textbooks, comic strips, and audio-visual and crea-
tive arts support materials that encourage active participation in the
above-mentioned teaching and learning approaches;
(v) Disseminate human rights education materials in suffi cient num-
bers and in appropriate languages (in multilingual countries a thor-
ough survey of the linguistic diversity in schools has to be done so
that materials are developed in languages that are widely under-
stood), and train relevant personnel in their use;
(vi) Ensure that these resources conform to human rights principles and
relate to real-life situations by having them reviewed by a special-
ized national team prior to publication;
(vii) Allow the publication, widespread dissemination of and access to
a variety of educational resources such as those produced by non-
governmental organizations;
(d) Concerning support to teaching and learning:
(i) Collect and disseminate examples of good practices in teaching and
learning in human rights education;
(ii) Establish easily accessible resource centres, including libraries and
databases, on teaching and learning in human rights education;
(iii) Facilitate the networking and exchange of human rights education
practices among educators and among students;
(iv) Promote research into the teaching and learning of human rights
education;
 (e) Concerning the use of new information technologies:
(i) Establish or make use of websites related to human rights education;
(ii) Develop distance learning programmes linked to schools;
(iii) Enable students and teachers to use new information technologies
for human rights education;
(iv) Encourage online discussion groups on human rights topics with stu-
dents and teachers in other schools locally, nationally and internation-
ally;
(f) Concerning evaluation and assessment:
(i) Develop indicators, identify adequate methods and design appro-
priate tools for reviewing, evaluating and measuring the processes,
outcomes and impact of human rights education;
(ii) Use evaluation and assessment methods that are appropriate for hu-
man rights education such as observation and reporting by teachers
and fellow students; recording students’ experience, personal work
and acquired skills and competencies (student portfolio); and stu-
dents’ self-assessment;
(iii) Apply human rights principles to evaluating and assessing students’
achievements in the whole curriculum such as transparency (expla-
nation of criteria and reasons for grading; information of students
and parents), equality (same criteria used for all students and by all
teachers), fairness (lack of abuse of assessment).
E.
Education and professional development of teachers
and other educational personnel
20. Introducing human rights education in primary and secondary education im-
plies that the school becomes a model of human rights learning and practice.
Within the school community, teachers, as the main depositories of the cur-
riculum, play a key role in reaching this aim.
21. For the teachers to fulfi l this major responsibility eff ectively, a number of
 
factors need to be considered. Firstly, teachers are themselves rights-holders.
Th e recognition of and respect for their professional status and the uphold-
ing of their self-esteem are a prerequisite for them to promote human rightseducation. Th e school management and leadership, on the one hand, and
educational policymakers on the other must support and empower them to
innovate in teaching and learning practices. Appropriate education and pro-
fessional development of teachers and other educational personnel must be
ensured.
22 . Within the school community, opportunities for awareness-raising about hu-
man rights and for training in human rights education should not exist only
for teachers, but also for head teachers and members of the school manage-
ment, school inspectors, administrative staff in schools, educational offi cials
and planners in local and national authorities, and parents.
23. Th e design and organization of appropriate education and professional de-
velopment is shared among multiple actors owing to the complex training
systems and to the diff erent contexts: the Ministry of Education; universities
through their faculties of education and other departments, including human
rights institutes and United Nations Educational, Scientifi c and Cultural Or-
ganization (UNESCO) Chairs for human rights education; teacher training
institutions; unions and professional organizations of teachers and other per-
sonnel; national human rights institutions; non-governmental organizations;
and international and regional intergovernmental organizations.
24. Policy and legal guidelines provide the framework for the implementation of
training activities and, in order to refl ect and foster a human rights culture,
the training curriculum, the teaching and learning content and practice, and
educational policies must be coherent.
25. Given the role model function of teachers, eff ective human rights education
implies that they master and transmit relevant values, knowledge, skills, at-
titudes and practices. Education and professional development must foster
their knowledge about, commitment to and motivation for human rights.
Similarly, human rights principles need to be essential criteria for the profes-
sional performance and conduct of other educational personnel.
26. Th e training and professional development of teachers and other personnel
must be tailored according to each contextual need and target group. It in-
 cludes advocacy and awareness-raising of teachers and other educational pro-
fessionals, training the trainers, initial/pre-service training, regular and con-
tinuous development through in-service training, training specialized teachers
in human rights education, and the introduction of human rights principles
into the training curriculum of all primary and secondary school teachers.
27. Policies and practices of education and professional development of teachers
and other personnel should take into account the following elements and ap-
proaches:
(a) Developing training curricula on human rights education, including the
following elements:
(i) Knowledge about human rights, their universality, indivisibility
and interdependence and about protection mechanisms;
(ii) Educational theories underlying human rights education, including
links between formal, non-formal and informal education; 3
(iii) Links between human rights education and other similar types of
education (such as education for sustainable development, peace
education, global education, multicultural education, citizenship
and values education);
(iv) Learning objectives of human rights education, particularly human
rights education skills and competencies;
(v) Teaching and learning methodologies for human rights education
and the role of teachers in human rights education;
(vi) Social skills and leadership styles of teachers and other educational per-
sonnel that are democratic and coherent in terms of human rights;
(vii) Teachers’ and students’ rights and responsibilities and their partici-
pation in school life; identifying and handling human rights abuses
in schools;
(viii) Th e school as a human rights-based community;
(ix) Relations within the classroom and between the classroom, the
school and the wider community;
3. In general, “formal education” refers to school, vocational training and university educa-
tion; “non-formal education” refers to adult learning and forms of education complemen-
tary to the previous one, such as community servicing and extra-curricular activities; and
“informal education” refers to activities developed outside the education system, such as
those carried out by non-governmental organizations.
(x)
(b)
(c)
(d)
(e)
(f)
Collaborative methods and teamwork in the classroom and in the
school;
(xi) Evaluation and assessment of human rights education;
(xii) Information on existing educational materials for human rights
education and the capacity to review and choose from among them
as well as to develop new materials;
(xiii) School self-evaluation and development planning based on human
rights principles;
Developing and using appropriate training methodologies:
(i) Appropriate training methods for the adult learner, in particular
learner-centred approaches, and addressing motivation, self-esteem
and emotional development leading to awareness-raising on values
and behaviour; 4
(ii) Appropriate methods for training in human rights education such
as using participatory, interactive, cooperative and experience and
practice-based methods; linking theory to practice; testing learned
techniques in the work situation, particularly the classroom;
Developing and disseminating appropriate training resources and
materials:
(i) Collection, dissemination and exchange of good practices in train-
ing in human rights education;
(ii) Stocktaking and dissemination of training methodologies devel-
oped by non-governmental organizations and other sectors of the
civil society;
(iii) Development of materials as part of in-service training activities;
(iv) Development of online materials and resources;
Networking and cooperation among diff erent education and training
providers;
Promotion and participation in international education and training
activities and exchanges;
Evaluation of training activities including self-evaluation and perceptions
of trainees’ on the relevance, utility and impact of training activities.
4. See the OHCHR publication Human Rights Training on basic methodological principles
for adult training.
 Annex I
General Assembly resolution 59/113 A of 10 December
2 0 0 4 , p r o c l a i m i n g t h e Wo r l d Pr o g r a m m e f o r Hu m a n
Rights Education
 Annex II
G e n e r a l A s s e m b l y r e s o l u t i o n 5 9 / 1 1 3 B o f 1 4 Ju l y 2 0 0 5 ,
adopting the revised draft plan of action for the first
p h a s e ( 2 0 0 5 – 2 0 0 7 ) o f t h e Wo r l d Pr o g r a m m e f o r Hu m a n
Rights Education
  