I. Human Rights Advocacy: A Long-Standing Engagement for UNESCO
During more than half a century of existence the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has been actively involved in the universal fight for the implementation of the basic values of the United Nations family: human rights, rule of law, democracy and pluralism.
To promote and protect human rights is a core mandate of the Organization and was defined at the moment of its foundation in 1945. Since then it has been redefined in detail as well as being reconfirmed several times in the rapidly changing international environment of recent decades.
According to Article 1 of its Constitution, UNESCO should “… contribute to peace and security by promoting collaboration among the nations through education, science and culture in order to further universal respect for justice, for the rule of law and for the human rights and fundamental freedoms, which are affirmed for the peoples of the world, without distinction of race, sex, language or religion, by the Charter of the United Nations”. Thus, the Organization has already made the universal promotion of and advocacy for human rights one of its fundamental objectives within its fields of competence.
UNESCO's Draft Medium-Term Strategy (2002-2007) confirms the perfect continuity in terms of vision and commitment of the Organization's human rights activities. This document, which defines the main programme areas of the Organization for the next six years, outlines the strategic importance of the human rights agenda as follows: “UNESCO's action will focus, in close co-operation with the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, on the protection of human rights, democratic principles, and fundamental freedoms relating to its fields of competence through the implementation of the different standard-setting instruments adopted by the Organization and through the procedure established by decision 104 EX / 3.3 of the Executive Board, which defines UNESCO's role in dealing with communications concerning human rights violations of the rights of the intellectual community”. Furthermore, the promotion of human rights is presented as UNESCO's major on-going task and includes various new priorities: “The Organization will undertake advocacy, awareness-raising and knowledge-sharing with regard to human rights through education and information activities and placing special emphasis on women's rights. It will also endeavor to facilitate and disseminate research in the field of human rights, particularly with regard to the obstacles impeding the full implementation of social, economic and cultural rights and taking fully into account human rights based approaches to development”.
II. New Challenges at the Beginning of the 21st Century
The last decade of the 20th century saw the end of the Cold War, the communication revolution and the development of increasingly integrated markets, all of which have created an entirely new global context, with new challenges to the international actors. The emerging multicultural world has been rapidly confronted with major problems of re-adjustment and the turmoil of worldwide transition, with its tensions, disparities and conflicts within and between national societies. The changing global environment with its new parameters has required a re-adaptation from all members of the United Nations family, of which UNESCO is one of the leading forces.
With the beginning of a new millennium, UNESCO has undertaken a vast reform process: priority areas and programmed have been redefined and organizational schemes restructured. With regard to the on-going reforms, it is important to recall that the Organization has a unique profile among universal agencies; it is at the same time an intellectual forum, a place of international debate and exchange, and an intergovernmental organization dealing with policy-planning and implementation, both nationally and internationally. UNESCO carries out an important ethical mission through constructing peace in the mind of men, women, young people and children; it seeks to be catalyst and centre of concerted action at international, regional and national levels.
“Over its half-century of existence it has built up unequalled skills and experience, and is now called upon to exercise a dual function. It is first required to operate for the international community and the Member States, as a word-wide institution of reference and authority in its fields of competence. It must increase its intellectual, ethical, strategic and normative watch capacities and help to frame policies that will maintain, increase and diffuse knowledge and boost international co-operation in these areas.
The second aspect of UNESCO's function involves encouraging the application of knowledge and the mobilization of skills to solve problems recognized by the international community to be of the utmost priority. UNESCO must help to pinpoint ground-breaking approaches, to experiment with new solutions and to catalogue and disseminate successful experiments”.
Its dual vocation - intellectual and operational - ensures UNESCO's an unparalleled role as the interface between intellectual communities, government agencies and the general public. The in-depth programme of reform undertaken over the last two years focuses on revitalizing energies to foster the unique potential of the Organization in each of three directions. The rethinking of goals and reorienting of practices both touch upon all major functions, namely:
·gathering, processing and sharing of knowledge;
·awareness-raising, strengthening of the commitment of civil society;
·monitoring – an ethical watchdog function;
·government assistance through policy dialogue and implementation;
·encouragement of regional and universal co-operation in the fields of education, culture, science and communication in order to further peace and understanding among peoples.
Since we have entered into an increasingly complex and diverse world, an interdisciplinary approach has become essential for obtaining a comprehensive view on major trends. The new context has revealed the need for a stronger interaction within the Organization to fulfill the specific functions enumerated above. Practical problems require greater inter-linkages in everyday practice through using extensively interdisciplinary and intersectoral approaches.
Creating interdisciplinarity demands increased co-operation within and outside the United Nations system, especially in those fields of competence which are now shared between two or more organizations. Human rights education is, par excellence, an issue where the building of alliances among sister agencies is vital for the success of a universal strategy. As we shall see in detail later, UNESCO strives to enhance its partnerships with all the governmental and non-governmental bodies concerned including, first and foremost, the Office of United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).
III. Need for a More Efficient Education for Human Rights
One positive aspect of globalization has led individuals and civil society as a whole to become more aware of their human rights; this leads logically to an increasing number of people demanding that their human rights be respected.
The importance of human rights as an international issue has been recognized. As a general rule, the human rights dimension of world politics has been strengthened. Another noteworthy development during the last decade is that universal ratification of the basic human rights treaties has been encouraged with considerable success, and noticeable progress has been made in the codification of human rights instruments by an increasing number of countries.
Despite positive developments and the undeniable progress achieved, warning signals have also been perceived. The last decade of the 20th century saw “… the recurrence of the most serious human rights violations, caused by the rise of nationalism, racism, xenophobia, sexism and religious intolerance. These recurrences have led to the most abhorrent forms of ethnic cleansing including the systematic rape of women, exploitation, neglect and abuse of children and concerted violence against foreigners, refugees, displaced persons, minorities, indigenous peoples and other vulnerable groups”, as stated by the International Congress on Education for Human Rights and Democracy (Montreal, Canada, 1993).
It must be admitted that wide disparities in the field of human rights still exist between principles and actions, words and deeds, declared ideals and actual situations. Persistent human rights abuses bear witness to the fact that, despite serious efforts, the international community has not yet succeeded in promoting a solid, efficient and genuinely universal culture of human rights.
Human rights education – knowledge-spreading and conscience-raising - is the key to forging such a culture. International and national human rights institutions play a pivotal role in strengthening the commitment of individuals and society as a whole. Education is a powerful tool in the strategy of prevention. If its objectives are well-defined and efficiently implemented, it will stimulate positive attitudes regarding respect for human rights and for the advancement of peace and security.
Prevention also means adopting early warning systems that will enable national and international actors to react in time to deflect crises and reduce tensions before they escalate into violent conflicts and severe human rights abuses.
“The United Nations, its members, and non-governmental organizations [NGOs] must emphasize prevention by establishing and supporting national human rights capacities and structures. Another powerful prevention force is found in the regional and sub-regional co-operation, which enables governments to build on the experiences and best practices of nearby countries, to co-operate with their neighbours, and to use available resources efficiently. One of the major changes in the United Nations approach to human rights has stemmed from the recognition that outside review and commentary on a country's human rights record, although vital, is not enough. Without national institutions to promote and protect human rights, critical comments by international human rights bodies simply hang in the air. Unless justice system and democratic procedures function at the domestic level, human rights cannot be addressed in a sustainable way. We must all focus on supplying assistance to countries to strengthen their national capabilities”
The early 1990s were decisive in establishing worldwide recognition of the need for the coherent Plan of Action on Human Rights Education elaborated and coordinated by the United Nations and its specialized agencies. A major UNESCO meeting, the 1993 Montreal International Congress on Education for Human Rights and Democracy called: “… for a global mobilization of energies and resources from the family of the United Nations, to educate individuals and groups about human rights so that conduct leading to a denial of rights will be changed, all rights will be respected and civil society will be transformed into a peaceful and participatory model”.
One of the most important human rights forums in the last decade of the 20th century, the World Conference on Human Rights, organized by the United Nations in Vienna, Austria, in 1993, emphasized that human rights education was “… essential for the promotion and achievement of stable and harmonious relations among communities and for fostering mutual understanding, tolerance and peace”. The World Conference adopted the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action which concluded that the proclamation of a United Nations Decade for Human Rights Education “… should be considered”. In December 1994, in response to this initiative, the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed the United Nations Decade for Human Rights Education (1995-2004), adopted a Plan of Action and called upon the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to facilitate the implementation of the Plan.
In 2000, the sixth year of the Decade, a mid-term evaluation was carried out on the progress made and on the needs to be addressed in the future. A global survey was launched through the dispatch of a joint UNESCO/OHCHR letter, containing a targeted questionnaire, signed respectively by the Director-General of UNESCO and the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. The objective of the survey was to take stock of programmes, materials and organizations for human rights education developed since the launching of the Decade. Based on the responses to the questionnaire, a database was created to facilitate information-sharing regarding resources available in the area of human rights education and training. The database is administered by the OHCHR and is available online on its website (www.unhchr.ch/html/menu6/1/edudec./htm). It is also accessible on the website of UNESCO's Division of Human Rights, Democracy, Peace and Tolerance (http://www.unesco.org/human rights/index.htm).
The most important outcome of the survey was the evaluation report itself. It reviewed the experiences of the first five years of the Decade. Besides an inventory of positive practices, the report highlighted the huge gap that remains between commitments and actual obligations (including resource allocations) at every level – from international to local. It concluded that this gap has to be bridged urgently if the remaining years of the Decade are to build a strong foundation for continuing work beyond 2004. The sustaining of activities after the Decade is essential if the entire initiative is to be successful.
IV.UNESCO's Contribution to Universal Human Rights Education. Some Conceptual and Methodological Issues
According to the Plan of Action of the United Nations Decade, UNESCO “… by reason of its long experience in education, educational methodology and human rights and through its network of UNESCO schools, clubs, human rights chairs and National Commissions shall play a central role in the design, implementation and evaluation of projects under the Plan …”.
UNESCO is generally seen as one of the lead United Nations agencies in developing a universal strategy for the promotion and protection of human rights. Together with other agencies within the United Nations system, UNESCO bases its activities on the indivisibility, interdependence and integrity of human rights. As the 1978 International Congress on the Teaching of Human Rights, organized by UNESCO in Vienna, Austria, emphasized, human rights education must founded on the body of the international human rights and humanitarian law. Its major principles are enshrined in the “Charter of the United Nations, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948, the International Covenants of 1966 [the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights], and other international human rights instruments”. The above instruments provide the framework for achieving the ideal that all human beings shall enjoy freedom from fear and freedom from want, these two freedoms being closely interrelated.
The indivisibility of human rights is understood as the obligation to pay equal attention to all human rights. The realization of economic, social and cultural rights, such as the rights to education, health, social security and an adequate standard of living, contribute to the enjoyment of civil and political rights. On the other hand, respect for civil and political rights has proved to be instrumental in the realization of economic, social and cultural rights. UNESCO's activities in the field of human rights education are therefore based on the premise that economic, social and cultural rights and civil and political rights are complementary and mutually reinforcing.
UNESCO attaches equal importance to the universality of human rights, which has been clearly recognized in international law since the establishment of the United Nations system in 1945. Human rights are the birthright of every individual, all States have the legal obligation to promote and protect them as universal values, “regardless of particular cultural perspective.” Specific cultural contexts cannot be used as an excuse to justify the failure to improve individual human rights situations. Human rights cannot be applied selectively or relatively.
On the other hand, as the United Nations lead agency in the field of culture, UNESCO is particularly aware that universal human rights must be promoted and protected in a world of great cultural diversity. Any approach which ignores the specific situation of a country, including its history, culture and tradition will in no way be conducive to the improvement of the human rights situation there. Implementation strategies, including policies to promote human rights, will only be relevant and efficient if, beside placing an emphasis on common standards and core values, the significance of national and regional particularities are also taken into due consideration.
“Greater understanding of the ways in which traditional cultures protect the well-being of their people would illuminate the common foundation of human dignity on which human rights promotion and protection stand. This insight would enable human rights advocacy to assert the cultural relevance, as well as the legal obligation, of universal human rights in diverse cultural contexts. Recognition and appreciation of particular cultural contexts would serve to facilitate, rather than reduce, human rights respect and observance”.
Human rights education means education in and for human rights, having three inter-linked objectives:
·to provide knowledge and disseminate information about human rights instruments, as well as recourse procedures and mechanisms against violations at the national, regional and international levels;
·to develop attitudes, to mould behaviours respectful of these norms and standards; to foster a culture of peace based on human rights, and to support ideas and concepts which are democratic and non-violent;
·to promote learning as a participatory process, to develop knowledge which leads to action and which empowers participating individuals and groups.
UNESCO considers human rights education as a life-long process. It requires a comprehensive, all-encompassing strategy in order to be meaningful and to reach all segments of society. For this purpose, human rights must be integrated into formal and non-formal education, and into school curricula at all levels.
Education for human rights and democratic citizenship can be best developed where the values and principles of human rights are reflected within the education system itself, where the educational environment does not contradict these principles.
“Acceptance of human rights and citizenship education therefore implies a major educational commitment which in turn requires reflection and reform of educational structures, teacher training programmes and classroom management. Such reform can only be developed as a long-term process with the support of all stakeholders (including parents, students, ministries, non-governmental organizations) in the education system”.
With these objectives in mind, UNESCO organized three international congresses on human rights education (Vienna, 1978; Malta 1987; Montreal 1993). They contributed considerably to the enhancement of content and methods of human rights teaching. In particular, the Montreal Congress drew up a detailed list of recommendations on this subject and emphasized possible action in the following three areas:
Teaching human rights and democracy in the curricula of all levels of the school system
Aim: To build an integral and broadly based curriculum that is both pervasive across various disciplines and taught as a separate subject, so that education for human rights and democracy appears repeatedly throughout an individual's basic education. The issue of rights, responsibilities and democratic processes should also be woven into all or most topics of study and included in the values aimed at in school life and in the process of socialization.
The focus should be placed on: (i) pre-primary; (ii) primary (iii) secondary and vocational training; (iv) post-secondary – colleges and universities; (v) teacher-training/education; (vi) teachers` organizations and unions; (vii) school boards and other levels of education administration; (viii) parents' organizations.
– Education for human rights and democracy in a non-formal setting
Aim: To involve groups of adults and young people, including those who are not scholarized, in out-of-school education, through their families, their professional associations, work places, institutions, etc. Programmes should aim at increasing the awareness of individuals in both formal and informal groups of their rights and their responsibilities and of the need for their full participation in public life. Special attention should be paid to reaching all women whatever their current level of participation in public life.
To achieve this aim, education for human rights and democracy should take place in specific settings and focus on certain groups including: (i) work place (unions, employers); (ii) professional associations; (iii) religious and cultural organizations; (iv) youth, including through leisure and sports clubs; (v) UNESCO Clubs, Associated Schools, Centres and Associations; (vi) members of groups who are less exposed to public life (for example, those living in rural or remote areas); (vii) groups working specifically on literacy, advocacy and assisting those living in extreme poverty; (viii) security, army, police and prison personnel; (ix) public officials and decision-makers; (x) judges and lawyers and those working in the administration of justice; (xi) media personnel; and (xii) medical and health professionals and scientists including those engaged in biological research.
– Education for human rights and democracy in specific contexts and difficult situations
Aim: To direct efforts to provide appropriate information and education to people in difficult situations where their rights are endangered.
In addition to the proposed objectives (1) and (2) above, attention should be paid to vulnerable groups as well as to present and potential perpetrators of violations with a view to preventing abuse and to protecting the victims. The level of intervention for this education and protection will depend on: (A) the type of situation, such as: 1. armed conflicts of either an international and non-international character; 2. internal tension, unrest, uprisings and state of emergency; 3. periods of transition from dictatorship to democracy or of threats to democracy; 4. foreign occupation; 5. natural disaster; and (B) the needs of specific groups, such as: 1. women; 2. children; 3. indigenous peoples; 4. refugees and internally displaced persons; 5. political prisoners; 6. minorities; 7. migrant workers; 8. disabled persons; 9. persons with HIV/AIDS”.
Furthermore, the adoption in December 1998, by United Nations General Assembly resolution 53/144, of the Declaration on the Right and Responsibility of Individuals, Groups and Organs of Society to Promote and Protect Universally Recognized Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, (commonly known as the Declaration on Human Rights Defenders) can be considered as a major contribution to the implementation of this aspect of the Plan.
V. Priorities for UNESCO's Human Rights Activities at the Beginning of the 21st Century
Respect for human rights and the ensuring of their protection remain on-going tasks for UNESCO. Globalization brings with it both new threats and new opportunities for the enjoyment of human rights and constitutes a major ethical and professional challenge for all institutions concerned about human rights issues. This is why UNESCO “… will attempt to identify new trends and obstacles, including changing patterns of social relations, affecting the full enjoyment of human rights”.
Based on its long-standing and well-known ethical position, UNESCO shares fully the view that an understanding of development issues should go beyond economic parameters, and that social, cultural and educational dimensions, placing human beings at the centre of development, should be duly emphasized.
To attain growth with equity and “… to bring about globalization with a human face”, UNESCO will articulate the human rights-based approach to development and emphasize the importance of economic, social and cultural rights in its activities during the coming years. Stating that, “… despite all efforts in the past, poverty and exclusion have deepened”, UNESCO has also recognized that poverty is one of the most pressing challenges of our time. It is an affront to human dignity, it is “a denial of human rights”. Therefore the Organization will address the issue of poverty, in particular extreme poverty, through its activities in the fields of education, culture and communication, and by stressing the human rights aspect as a major cross-cutting theme in all its programmes. This is also in line with the position taken by other United Nations bodies, such as the Commission on Human Rights which, in its resolution 2001/31, calls upon “States and intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations to continue to take into account, in the activities to be undertaken within the framework of the United Nations Decade for the Eradication of Poverty, the links between human rights and extreme poverty, as well as efforts to empower people living in poverty to participate in decision-making processes on policies that affect them; …”.
1. Right to education as a fundamental human rights
The centrality of education in the struggle to reduce poverty must be reaffirmed. The eradication of illiteracy and poverty intersect as priority goals. UNESCO considers the promotion of basic education as indispensable in the effort to empower people through access to knowledge. A major challenge is making education accessible to an increasing number of children who are deprived of education and who live in poor, illiterate families. In a world where over 100 million children still do not attend school and 150 million drop out without learning to read, achieving basic education for all, coupled with gender equality is of paramount importance. Therefore a universal, rights-based access to basic education is indeed an extremely significant goal for the international community as a whole and for UNESCO as a United Nations specialized agency in particular. For an efficient implementation of this objective, it is crucial to strengthen the legal and constitutional foundations of the right to education as a fundamental human right in Member States. In line with this policy, it is vital to mobilize both the political will of governments and the commitment of the whole of the international community. As a recently published study concluded: “Without a coordinated global effort that can channel resources and create publicly defined obligations for the major global actors, however, progress in the area is likely to be slow and sporadic”.
UNESCO places the highest priority on achieving the right to basic education for all, focusing on the follow-up of the Dakar Framework of Action, adopted by the World Education Forum of April 2000. In collaboration with the intellectual community and professional bodies, the Framework provides a means for reflection on such key concepts as “basic education”, “quality education” and supplies consistent indicators on the right to education which should be applied universally. There is a need to elucidate further certain aspects, including the ways to give a real universal signification and a full understanding to Articles 13 and 14 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, which emphasize education as a human right and as an indispensable condition of realizing other human rights.
As a follow up to the Dakar Framework of Action, UNESCO will reinforce advocacy for a more effective application of human rights . In order to achieve this, a solid co-operative structure has been established between UNESCO and the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, a United Nations human rights treaty body, to monitor the implementation of the right to education within State Parties to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.
2. Cultural rights
The implementation of cultural rights, enshrined in the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, is another area where UNESCO has great potential. In fact, cultural rights are a complex term including, beside the above-mentioned right to education, several other categories of rights, such as:
·The right to cultural identity, affirmed and developed by the World Conference on Cultural Policies (Mexico City, 1982);
·The right to participate in cultural life, formulated by Article 15 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and developed by the Recommendation on Participation by the People at Large in Cultural Life and Their Contribution to it, adopted by the General Conference of UNESCO in 1976;
·The right to the protection of cultural property, formulated and affirmed, inter alia, by Article 15 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the Declaration on the Role and the Challenges of Copyright on the Eve of the Twenty-First Century adopted by the Reflection Meeting held in Paris in 1992 on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the Universal Copyright Convention.
Despite the relatively important number of international instruments, mostly elaborated by UNESCO as part of its standard-setting activities, cultural rights are very often seen as a misunderstood and neglected category of human rights, which needs further conceptual clarification.
Taking this widespread assumption as a point of depart, UNESCO has initiated research and relevant publications. The report of the World Commission on Culture and Development, Our Creative Diversity, introduced the debate. In 1997, a draft Declaration on Cultural Rights was prepared by an interdisciplinary research team, the Group of Fribourg, Switzerland. It was followed in 1998 by an important collection of studies entitled Cultural Rights and Wrongs. Currently an international conference to be held in Manila, Philippines, in 2002 is being prepared to clarify further the concept concerning the “right to take part in cultural life”. It is co-sponsored by UNESCO and the United Nations Committee on Economic and Cultural Rights.
Respect for cultural rights is important in preserving and promoting cultural diversity, and this is one of the major preoccupations of UNESCO and its Member States. A draft Declaration on Cultural Diversity will be presented for adoption to the 31st session of the General Conference (October-November 2001); it is an example of the growing importance of UNESCO’s normative action. This instrument, which is the product of several years of reflection and discussion, recognizes “Human rights as guarantees of cultural diversity” (Article 4); and “Cultural rights as an enabling environment for cultural diversity” (Article 5). The draft Declaration also states that all people and individuals constitute one human family, rich in diversity. The promotion of tolerance and pluralism, and respect for diversity can produce more inclusive and cohesive societies; this in turn leads to greater stability and understanding within and among nations.
3. UNESCO’s activities in the field of bioethics and human rights
The Universal Declaration on the Human Genome and Human Rights was adopted by the 29th session of the UNESCO General Conference in November 1997 and then endorsed by the United Nations General Assembly on 9 December 1998. It was the first universal instrument in the field of bioethics and sets out ethical and legal principles to assist the progress of genetic research and its applications. Its main objective is to strike a balance between freedom of scientific research and the protection of human dignity against potential misapplications of biomedical research.
In its Article 1, the Declaration states that the human genome “underlines the fundamental unity of all members of the human family [..]. In a symbolic sense it is the heritage of humanity.” This instrument is based on four thematic pillars: human dignity, freedom of research, solidarity and international co-operation. It focuses, inter alia, on the prohibition of discrimination based on genetic characteristics, the consent of each individual, the protection of the confidentiality of genetic data, freedom and responsibility of researchers, the sharing of benefits of advances in biomedicine, especially in developing countries, and the responsibility of States in the implementation of the Declaration. It also entrusts UNESCO's International Bioethics Committee with the task of contributing to the dissemination of the principles formulated in the Declaration and increasing awareness among the general public, groups of experts and decision-makers to ensure that biomedical research develops in a way that respects human rights and freedoms.
At the beginning of the new millennium more than ever before, ethics and the rule of law must keep in step with scientific progress. “Safeguards must be established to prevent misapplications of the new genetics, which are now entirely possible, and to protect humanity from the spread of new techniques informed by genetic racism and discrimination. […] A bioethical framework must be established at the national and international level in order to deal with this gravest of dangers for human rights, and an international forum for monitoring and debate should be set up to protect the human species from the possible misuses of technological and scientific applications, and their economic and commercial exploitation”. This challenge requires a United Nations system-wide response, where UNESCO’s contribution will be crucial due to its accumulated expertise in this area.
4. Mobilization against racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance
UNESCO views the principles of equality and non-discrimination as being central to the concept of human rights. As early as 1951, UNESCO’s Statement on the Nature of Race and Race Differences demonstrated the absence of a scientific foundation to theories of racial superiority, underlining that race is not a biological phenomenon but a social construct. Another milestone in UNESCO’s work in this field was the 1960 Convention against Discrimination in Education, which aims at the eradication of discrimination in education and, at the same time, at the promotion of equality of opportunities and treatment. This instrument was followed by the 1962 Protocol Instituting a Conciliation and Good Office Commission to be Responsible for Seeking the Settlement of Any Disputes which may Arise between State Parties to the Convention against Discrimination in Education. In 1978, at its 20th session, the UNESCO General Conference adopted the Declaration on Race and Racial Prejudice, an important standard-setting document which rejects all theories and ideologies related to racial inequality, and condemns various racist attitudes and discriminatory practices. The same session of the General Conference adopted a Declaration on Fundamental Principles Concerning the Contribution of the Mass Media to Strengthening Peace and International Understanding to the Promotion of Human Rights and to Countering Racialism, Apartheid and Incitement to War. Given the impact and reach of the media, their potential role in protecting human rights and fighting racism is of the utmost importance.
The activities of UNESCO's Slave Route Project are closely related to the sensitization of public opinion on the origins and foundations of racism and racial discrimination and to the need to eradicate prejudice and negative stereotypes. Within the framework of this project, special efforts are being made to demonstrate how racism and xenophobia against Africans and peoples of African descent originated in the philosophical, intellectual and legal foundations of the slave trade and colonialism.
UNESCO has an impressive record in the struggle against discrimination in the field of education. The Organization will continue to advocate the promotion of quality education for all, an education that fosters mutual respect and the recognition of such universal values as tolerance, solidarity and intercultural understanding. The World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance – WCAR (Durban, South Africa, 31 August – 7 September 2001) gave an additional impetus to UNESCO’s commitment in this field. Beside the enhanced role of education, its Programme of Action invites UNESCO to contribute to the follow-up activities by initiating and coordinating research projects and by intellectual debates related to the dialogue among civilizations, the culture of peace and tolerance. The Organization will work in close co-operation with OHCHR to implement the decisions and recommendations of the WCAR, thus continuing the work it has been conducting since its earliest days to combat racism and discrimination.
VI.Support for the Development of Regional and National Capacities
The reinforcement of national and regional capacities is the key for activities concerning sustainable human rights protection of the international level. UNESCO therefore supports the development of local networks for human rights education through its participation in development projects and programmes.
In the area of formal education, major activities concern: Guatemala; Southern Africa – namely Mozambique, Namibia and Zimbabwe; Western and Central Africa – namely Central African Republic, Niger and Chad, Mali; and Albania and Kosovo. All projects focus mainly on the development of locally produced human rights educational materials and the training of trainers and teachers. A significant component of training and awareness-raising also involves civil society (NGOs, local communities, etc).
Furthermore, innovative methodologies of human rights education in non-formal settings have been tested through a series of social mobilization projects. Since 1996, ten such projects have been and/or are being implemented in the following counties: Bolivia, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Ecuador, Guatemala, Malawi, Mongolia, Pakistan and Senegal. A common feature of these projects is an integrated approach to human rights and local development. In this context, action-oriented human rights education focuses on local officials, community leaders and vulnerable groups in local communities. It is conceived as an innovative entry-point to participatory planning and action at the local level.
A number of educational and information materials have been prepared, tested and published. The translation and adaptation in local and national languages has facilitated wider dissemination in Member States.
The Practice of Citizenship, a civics education kit containing a variety of teaching aids, seeks to promote a broader concept of civics education comprising the components of peace, tolerance, international understanding, intercultural dialogue, respect for human rights and the practice of democracy. The kit continues to enjoy positive reviews and much interest from a large spectrum of governmental agencies, NGOs, universities, research and training institutes across the world. It is currently being translated and published in Albanian and Bosnian by local partners.
All Human Beings … A Manual for Human Rights Education, as well as Tolerance, the Threshold of Peace, both designed for primary and secondary schools and teacher-training establishments, have been translated by interested partners into some ten languages, the latest being Albanian, Bosnian, Lithuanian and Turkish. All Human Beings… has also been adapted locally in various countries.
UNESCO has co-operated with the Educational Centre for Research and Development (ECRD) and the International Peace Research Association (IPRA) in the production of Education for Human Rights, Peace and Democracy, a resource and teaching handbook. Based on experiences in Lebanon, this work aims at enabling teachers and trainers to develop the behavioural skills and values that help students to become more effective citizens. Within the framework of the project “Education for human rights and democracy in southern Africa”, a manual for human rights and democracy education has been produced by UNESCO. It seeks to achieve one of the project’s objectives, that is placing human rights, peace, democracy and related issues in the mainstream school curricula of the countries concerned.
In addition, educational materials designed for a wide public, UNESCO has also published various books and collections of international instruments of a high academic level. The first two volumes of the three-volume manual on human rights for institutions of higher education, prepared by eminent specialists from various regions of the world have been published. The first volume is entitled Human Rights: New Dimensions and Challenges and the second Human Rights: Concept and Standards. The third volume entitled International Protection of Human Rights will be published in 2002. The manual is designed to enrich the content of human rights education and, apart from providing knowledge on human rights standards, mechanisms and procedures, to encourage reflection on threats to and the changing content of human rights in an era of globalization.
The popular publication Human Rights: Questions and Answers, designed both for formal and non-formal education, has already been translated and published in more than thirty languages. Recently it was published in Basque and Swedish, while Albanian and Finnish versions are under preparation. Introducing Democracy: 80 Questions and Answers has also been translated into more than thirty languages, including recently into Azerbaijani, Indonesian and Telugu.
Another important teaching aid, How to File a Human Rights Complaint has been published in English, French and Russian (the latter edition was adapted to conditions in the Russian Federation). A Bulgarian edition, also adapted to national conditions, is being prepared.
The brochure, Human Rights: Major International Instruments, published annually, presents data concerning the status of ratification of human rights treaties, both universal and regional. Information and abstracts from UNESCO’s publications can be found on the website of the Division of Human Rights, Democracy, Peace and Tolerance.
In response to the emergence of new forms of discrimination related to HIV/AIDS affecting, in particular, young people, UNESCO, with the support of UNAIDS, produces relevant material on human rights. It includes material on the theme “All are equal in the context of HIV/AIDS”. Moreover, HIV/AIDS: Youth Rights in Action, an action guide for youth organizations, was published in summer 2001.
VIII. Reinforcement of Educational Networks
UNESCO has an important network of partners whose role is instrumental in human rights education and in promoting democratic citizenship. At the present there are more than 180 National Commissions for UNESCO and over 5,000 UNESCO Clubs, Centres and Associations in 120 countries. They are particularly well placed to represent diverse communities and groups within the civil societies of their respective countries and to contribute to civic education in a spirit of intercultural dialogue and understanding. In recent years the UNESCO Associated Schools Project (ASP) has also continued to expand (in 166 countries and more than 6,000 schools) and today is an effective means for the exchange and sharing of best practices and innovative methodologies concerning education for peace, human rights and democracy.
Currently there are 53 UNESCO Chairs in human rights, democracy, peace and tolerance in various regions of the world. They play an important role in disseminating various aspects of human rights law to advanced students of different disciplines, legal practitioners, and public servants. The Chairs work to build and strengthen academic expertise on human rights, particularly in countries in transition and in developing countries and to develop human rights education at university level as well as, in a number of cases, to assist in training educators in order to ensure a multiplier effect. These academic teaching and research centres also play an outstanding role in increasing an understanding of human rights law, in promoting it as an integral element of international peace and security, and in strengthening human rights based approach to international cooperation. UNESCO Chairs produce educational materials adapted to specific national and regional conditions.
They have taken an active part in the cycle of regional conferences co-organized by UNESCO and the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), and can also claim an increased responsibility in the implementation of the ongoing Plan of Action for the United Nations Decade of Human Rights Education (1995-2004).
The interaction of UNESCO Chairs was strengthened following the signature of an agreement of co-operation in 2000 and the establishment of a UNESCO Chairholders' Forum on the Internet (http://www.unesco.org/human rights/indexforum.htm).
Co-operation with human rights research and training institutions is constantly being developed. During the two last meetings of the directors of such institutions (the most recent was held in January 2001), the agenda included an item on education for human rights, and discussions were led by a representative of the OHCHR.
Increased co-operation among human rights institutions is facilitated by the biannual publication entitled World Directory of Human Rights Research and Training Institutions, based on the output of the DARE Data Bank of the UNESCO Social and Human Sciences Documentation. It includes about 670 institutions in 121 countries (http://www.unesco.org/general/eng/infoserv/db/dare.html). A specific on-line database on human rights institutes was launched in March 2001 on the website of the Division of Human Rights, Democracy, Peace and Tolerance (http://www.unesco.org/human rights/index.htm).
UNESCO elaborated and implemented an important part of its programmes in co-operation with partner organizations within and outside the United Nations system. Over the years there have been a large number of successful joint undertakings, first of all, with the OHCHR in Geneva, but also with other intergovernmental agencies and NGOs.
A Memorandum of Understanding was signed in 1995 between OHCHR and UNESCO and serves as framework to co-ordinate activities. Recently, joint UNESCO/OHCHR projects have been carried out to broadly disseminate the text of Universal Declaration of Human Rights in schools as well as the OHCHR-developed Guidelines for National Plans of Actions for Human Rights Education.
As a contribution to the realization of the objectives of the United Nations Decade for Human Rights Education, since 1997 UNESCO has organized four regional conferences on human rights education, (the fifth meeting, the Regional Conference on Human Rights Education in Latin America and the Caribbean will be held in Mexico City in December 2001). OHCHR has made a substantial contribution to the preparation of these conferences. There are also vast potentials for partnership in the years to come: the implementation of the Programme of Action of the WCAR offers a major opportunity. Another is the emerging inter-agency co-operation for the establishment of a Central African Sub-Regional Centre for Human Rights and Democracy, with headquarters in Yaoundé, Cameroon. Based on its experience in the promotion of human rights and democratic principles, UNESCO has been requested by OHCHR to contribute actively to the joint planning and implementing the Centre's programme.
I have already referred above to the importance of UNESCO Chairs in the day-to-day work of the Organization. As I have said, the number of Chair is increasing constantly; however, the criteria on which their selection is based are strictly qualitative. It is for this very reason that I am proud to be able to conclude this discussion by announcing that the University of Connecticut Chair of Comparative Human Rights has become a member of the UNESCO Chairs' Network. I need hardly tell you that I and my colleagues in UNESCO look forward with immense pleasure to working with the academic staff and students of your University which is the first in the USA to take part in the Network. We look forward to its representative taking part in the next Chairholders' meeting which will take place in Stadtschlaining, Austria, next year. Your contribution to there will be of the greatest value to the future work of the whole of the Network.
 Friday, September 28, 2001  Article I of the Constitution of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). Adopted in London, United Kingdom, on 16 November 1945.  UNESCO Draft Medium-Term Strategy 2002-2007, Contributing to Peace and Human Development in an Era of Globalization, para 86. p. 30.  Ibid., para 87.  “Tomorrow's UNESCO”. Speech by Koïchiro Matsuura, Director-General of UNESCO, Forum suisse de politique internationale, Geneva, Switzerland, 4 May 2000, in Educational Innovation and Information, Geneva, N° 104, September 2000, p.2.  “World Plan of Action and Education for Human Rights and Democracy, and Contributions to the preparation of a Declaration on Academic Freedom”, UNESCO and Human Rights. Standard-Setting Instruments, Major Meetings, Publications. Janusz Symonides and Vladimir Volodin (eds.), UNESCO, Paris, 1999, p. 391.  Mary Robinson, “The challenges ahead: analysis and integration”, Realizing Human Rights, Samantha Power and Graham Allison (eds.), Saint Martin Press, New York, 2000, pp. 353-354.  World Plan of Action …, op. cit., p. 391.  Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action, A/CONF.157.23,. Part I, II, D, para. 78.. Also in The United Nations Decade for Human Rights Education (1995-2004),United Nations, New York, 1999; N° 3, p. 44.  Ibid., p. 45.  UNGA resolution 49/184 of 23 December 1994.  Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on the mid-term global evaluation of the progress made towards the achievement of the objectives of the United Nations Decade for Human Rights Education (1995-2004). A/55/360.  A/51/516, Add. 1, para. 17.  “Principles of the International Congress on the Teaching of Human Rights, Vienna, Austria, 1978“, in UNESCO and Human Rights, op. cit., Part I, para.1, p. 344.  Diana Ayton-Shenker, The Challenge of Human Rights and Cultural Diversity. P DPI/1627/HR, March 1995, United Nations Department of Public Information, New York, p. 2.  Ibid., p. 5.  Project N° 7. Education., Council of Europe`s Contribution to the Stability Pact for South-East Europe. Working Table on Democratisation and Human Rights, 1999, p. 5.  “World Plan of Action on Education for Human Rights and Democracy, and Contributions to the Preparation of a Declaration on Academic Freedom, Montreal, Canada, 1993”, in UNESCO and Human Rights, op. cit., pp.396-398. A Guide to Human Rights. Institutions, Standards, Procedures, Janusz Symonides and Vladimir Volodin (eds.), UNESCO, Paris, 2001, p. 152.  UNESCO's Draft Medium-Term Strategy 2002-2007. op. cit. p.30  Ibid., p.3.  Ibid., p.2.  Ibid., p.2.  Human Rights and extreme poverty. Resolution 2001/31 5./b. United Nations, New York/ Geneva, 2001, p.161.  Gene B. Sperling, “Toward Universal Education”, Foreign Affairs, Vol. 80, N° 5, September/October 2001, p. 13.  See the six goals of the Dakar Framework of Action (para.7.), adopted by the World Education Forum, Dakar, Senegal, 26-28 April 2000. UNESCO, Paris, 2001.  General Assembly resolution 2200A(XXI) of 16 December 1966. See United to Combat Racism, UNESCO, Paris, 2001, pp. 267-268.  Final Report of the World Conference on Cultural Policies, Mexico City, 1982.  Recommendation on Participation by the People at Large in Cultural Life and their Contribution to it, adopted by the 19th session of the UNESCO General Conference on 26 November 1976 in Nairobi, Kenya. See UNESCO and Human Rights, op. cit., pp. 267-283.  See UNESCO and Human Rights, op. cit., pp. 388-389. Our Creative Diversity, UNESCO Publishing/IBH Publishing, Paris/Oxford, 1995. Les Droits culturels Projet de déclaration, Patrice Meyer-Bisch (ed.) UNESCO/Editions Universitaires, Paris/Fribourg, 1997. Cultural Rights and Wrongs, UNESCO Publishing, Paris, 1998.  General Conference document 31C/44.  See United to Combat Racism, op. cit., p. 447.  World Conference Against Racism, Durban, 31August –7 September 2001. Address by Pierre Sané, Head of the UNESCO Delegation to the WCAR and Assistant Director General for Social and Human Science,. pp.4-5. Statement on the Nature of Race and Race Differences, UNESCO, Paris, 1951.  See United to Combat Racism, op. cit., pp. 409-415.  See United to Combat Racism, op. cit., pp. 417-424.  See United to Combat Racism, op. cit., pp. 425-431.  See United to Combat Racism, op. cit., pp. 433-443.  See paragraphs...............................of the WCAR Programme of Action.  Second International Meeting of Chairholders of UNESCO Chairs in Human Rights, Democracy, Peace and Tolerance, Stadtschlaining, Austria, 10-13 May 2000. Final Report, Item IV.