Yesterday, the United Nations General Assembly in New York adopted the Declaration on Human Rights Education and Training. This landmark document recognises the right of every one of the planet’s seven billion people to have access to human rights education, a lifelong process involving all ages, all parts of society, and every kind of education, formal and informal.
The Declaration specifies not simply what one should learn about human rights, but also how (“through human rights, which includes learning and teaching in a way that respects the rights of both educators and learners”) and also why (“for human rights, which includes empowering persons to enjoy and exercise their rights and to respect and uphold the rights of others”).
The adoption of this new Declaration also offers educators and policy makers an occasion to reassess national policies and priorities in the light of international standards. If as the Declaration states, “human rights education and training is essential for the promotion of universal respect for and observance of all human rights and fundamental freedoms for all,” then human rights education is not only the entitlement of every human being, but also a necessity for responsible global citizenship.