Human Rights Education and
Training
NHRC – INDIA
Profile
• India is one of the oldest civilizations in the world having
a kaleidoscopic rich cultural heritage.
• It covers an area of 32,87,263 sq.km.
• India’s population is 1.21 billion.
• India has a federal democratic set up of governance
having 28 States & 7 Union Territories.
Profile
• One of the world’s most linguistically diverse nations, with
22 official languages and English as an associate
language, recognized by the Constitution.
• Added to this, there are many other spoken languages
and thousands of dialects.
• Each State/UT has a unique history, culture, tradition,
festivals, attire, language, etc.
• India is a secular country but home to all major religions.
NHRC - India
• NHRC-India was established on 12 October 1993.
• Its statute is contained in the Protection of Human Rights
Act, 1993 as amended 2006.
• It is in conformity with the ‘Paris Principles’.
• The NHRC is an embodiment of India's concern for the
protection and promotion of human rights.
NHRC Mandate for Human Rights Education
• NHRC – India is mandated to “spread human rights literacy
among various sections of society and promote awareness of
the safeguards available for the protection of these rights
through publications, the media, seminars and other available
means” [Section 12(h)].
• Undertake and promote research in the field of human rights
[Section 12(g)].
• Encourage the efforts of non-governmental organization and
institutions working in the field of human rights [Section 12(i)].
• Similar duty has been assigned to the State Human Rights
Commissions in the respective States (Section 29).
Early Initiatives
• NHRC undertook a threefold strategy in pursuit of its
responsibilities under Section 12(h) of its statute:• First, it solicited the support of the leadership of all political
parties represented in Parliament or the State Legislatures, to
constitute Human Rights Cells at the Centre, State and District
levels.
• Second, it wrote to Chief Ministers of all States/Union
Territories, to sensitize and impart appropriate training in
human rights matters, to all public servants in their respective
areas.
• Third, it initiated a dialogue at the central level with the
concerned educational authorities of the Ministry of Human
Resource Development, and its associated institutions at the
Centre and State levels, to pursue the matter of human rights
education at various levels of schooling.
Mobilizing Human Rights Education in Schools
• During the year 1994-1995, a series of meetings were
convened with authorities concerned focusing mainly on four
principal issues:– Review of existing text books, with a view to deleting from
them portions that were prejudicial to human rights.
– Publication of a “Source Book on Human Rights” prepared
in collaboration with NCERT.
– Preparation of modules for teacher-training, relevant to
teaching human rights at various levels.
– Organizing
a
workshop
organizations/civil society.
for
non-governmental
Mobilizing Human Rights Education in Schools
• It recommended that 10 December each year be observed as
Human Rights Day in all schools across the country.
• Brought out a Handbook entitled “Discrimination Based on
Sex, Caste, Religion and Disability” for sensitizing teachers
and teachers’ educators.
Initiating Human Rights Education in Universities
• Urged all the Vice-Chancellors and Deans of Law Faculties to
examine how best the subject of ‘human rights’ could be
introduced at various stages of study at the university level.
• Set-up a Working Group to coordinate, oversee and monitor
matters relating to human rights education at the university
level.
• University Grants Commission (UGC) constituted a Standing
Committee on Human Rights.
• This Committee prepared an Approach Paper to deal with
several options including the need for basic courses for
students of all disciplines.
• The Approach Paper suggested introduction of Diploma and
Certificate Courses aimed at various target groups and
emphasized the need for research, extension education and
field action projects.
Initiating Human Rights Education in Universities
• Accordingly, the UGC formulated a scheme for providing
financial assistance for organizing seminars, workshops and
symposia in colleges and universities as well as conducting
various Certificate, Diploma and Degree Courses in Human
Rights.
• This Standing Committee was later reconstituted at the request
of NHRC to carry forward the tasks undertaken.
• On NHRC’s request, the UGC constituted a Curriculum
Development Committee under the chairmanship of a Member
of NHRC to frame a module curriculum for courses on Human
Rights at Certificate/Diploma/Degree and Post-Graduate levels.
• Today more than 40 universities in the country have introduced
certificate, diploma, under-graduate and post-graduate courses
in ‘Human Rights’.
United Nations Decade for Human Rights Education and Role of NHRCIndia
• The period 1995-2004 was declared as the UN Decade for Human
Rights Education.
• The NHRC pursued with the Government to develop a National
Action Plan focussing on :– strategies for raising mass awareness on human rights;
– sensitization of specific target groups -- law enforcement
machinery like the judiciary, police, security forces and others;
– focus on secondary and higher education, including the
establishment of a curriculum revision committee for revision of
textbooks;
– development of training modules for teachers in English, Hindi
and local languages;
– the provision of financial assistance to universities and colleges
for development of specific courses in Human Rights; and
– establish a national resource centre that would develop human
rights materials and focus on educational tools.
Setting-up of National Institute of Human Rights
• In a major effort to establish a centre of excellence for human
rights education during the UN Decade for Human Rights
Education, NHRC-India set-up the National Institute of Human
Rights (NIHR) at the National Law School of India University,
Bangalore in August 1999.
• A Chair on Human Rights was also created with the assistance
of NHRC-India.
• This occasion coincided with the sanctioning of a project by the
Australian
High
Commission
to
NIHR,
upon
the
recommendations of the Commission.
• The project was aimed at developing the capacity of the NIHR
and strengthening domestic infrastructure to promote and
protect human rights.
Rights Education for Youth
•
With a view to spreading awareness of human rights issues among university/college
students, the NHRC conducts internship programmes during summer and winter
vacations every year.
•
During the internship, the students are apprised of the working of the Commission.
•
They are made aware of the main institutions and international instruments relevant
to an understanding of human rights.
•
The interns are given an opportunity to interact with the Chairperson, Members,
senior officers of NHRC as well as prominent NGOs and international organizations
working in the area of human rights.
•
They are taken for field visits to jails and projects run by NGOs and are assigned
project work.
•
Besides, NHRC is running a continuous internship programmes for the students of all
streams.
•
NHRC has taken-up training programme for the young people in all the districts of
the country in collaboration with Nehru Yuva Kendra.
Promotion of Human Rights Education for
Police and Security Forces
• NHRC-India is giving priority to the training of police personnel and the
security forces on human rights so that they learn to respect such rights and
remain mindful of them in difficult and provocative circumstances.
• The Chairperson, Members and senior officers of NHRC visit police training
institutes and other training institutes imparting training to security forces
across the country.
• The NHRC in collaboration with DGPs has evolved a three-tier module for
constables, sub-inspectors/inspectors, DSPs and other senior officers. The
same has been circulated to all the States for implementation.
• At the behest of NHRC, the top-most National Police Academy of the country
has included the teaching of human rights in its courses.
Promotion of Human Rights Education for
Police and Security Forces
• Human rights education is also included in training courses for para-military
and armed forces at the instance of NHRC.
• The NHRC and Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) have
jointly developed an Online Training Programme on Human Rights for Police
Personnel. The programme is designed to target police personnel at the
cutting edge level of Constables and Sub-Inspectors.
•
NHRC in collaboration with British Council initiated two projects namely
‘Human Rights Investigation and Interviewing Skills’ and ‘Improving
Custodial Management’.
• NHRC has encouraged the participation of its officers working in
Investigation Division in programmes conducted both at home and abroad.
Human Rights Training for Civil Servants & Judiciary
• NHRC –India is continuously sensitizing civil servants in the country about
human rights so that they are able to face human rights challenges in their
work sphere on daily basis.
• It firmly believes that regular training programmes for civil servants would
lead to a higher standard of professionalism among them
• The top-most Academy in the country responsible for imparting training to
civil servants has incorporated the teaching of human rights in its courses.
• For the judiciary, a sum of AUS $ 25,000 was sanctioned under the
Australian Human Rights Fund Small Grants Scheme.
• The project consisted of conducting a ‘Foundation Course on Human
Rights’ for newly appointed judges, a ‘Refresher Course for Sessions
Judges’ already in position and the preparation and printing of a ‘Handbook
on Human Rights for Judicial Officers’.
Creation of a Training Division in NHRC-India
• A Training Division was created in 2003 to sensitize various
officials, functionaries and agencies on human rights protection
and promotion.
• The activities of the Division have expanded manifold over the
years.
• Today, it collaborates with various international organizations,
national/state level institutes, law universities and credible
NGOs for imparting training on different human rights issues.
• During 2010-2011, it organized 65 training programmes in
collaboration with 12 SHRCs, 27 Universities/Colleges, 3 ATIs,
3 PTIs, 18 NGOs/civil society organizations and 2 programmes
at the national level.
Assisting Other Commissions
• Facilitated NHRIs of Jordan, Nepal, Uganda, Rwanda
and Maldives in installing the software of Complaint
Management Information System in their local language.
• Staff Exchange visits between various NHRIs and
NHRC-India for building-up and strengthening their
capacities.
• Release of book entitled ‘Convention on Rights of
Persons with Disabilities – A Guide’ by Chairperson,
NHRC- India in September 2010.
The book was
published by the Commonwealth Secretariat.
• An MoU has been signed between Afghanistan
Independent Human Rights Commission, NHRC and
UNDP for capacity development in Afghanistan
Commission.
Promotion of Good Custodial Practices
• NHRC-India in partnership with the British
Council and an NGO undertook a project on
‘Promoting Good Custodial Practices’.
• The project aimed to create links between a
range of different agencies including human
rights activists, doctors, lawyers and the police
to reduce torture and increase awareness about
legal rights and remedies for torture victims.
Linkage with the Media in Furthering Human Rights
• Preparation of radio and TV spots on human rights concerns.
• Regular ‘talks’ on different human rights issues by the
Chairperson, Members and senior officers of NHRC on
television and radio.
• Programmes on human rights education are also being telecast
through the television and radio.
• Developed a guidebook for the media on sexual violence
against children.
• Media post is another medium used by NHRC-India in creating
human rights awareness among the masses. During 20052006, it printed social messages on human rights on the postal
stationery.
Publications, Films and Website
• It brings out a monthly newsletter in English and Hindi.
• It brings out Annual Journal and Annual Reports in English
and Hindi, a year calendar and number of other publication
every year.
• In 2005, coinciding with the first phase of World Programme
for Human Rights Education, it brought out 8 booklets under
the ‘Know Your Rights’ series.
• Dossiers on varied subjects for school and university
students were also brought out.
• Quality Assurance in Mental Health and a Human Rights
Manual for District Magistrates are two other important
publications.
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Publications, Films and Website
• A list of other publications is available on NHRCIndia website : www.nhrc.nic.in
• It has produced short duration films on five themes –
NHRC & its working, sexual harassment of women
at the work place, manual scavenging, bonded
labour and trafficking in women and children.
22
Human Rights Awareness and Facilitating Assessment of Enforcement of
Human Rights Programme
• NHRC-India has undertaken this programme in 28 districts of the country
covering every State.
• The variables on which these backward districts have been identified are:
– Rate of illiteracy
– Percentage of SC/ST population
– Rate of infant mortality, etc
• The main objective of the programme is to spread awareness among the
people on focused human rights issues like:
–
–
–
–
–
–
Food security
Education
Custodial justice
Health
Hygiene
Sanitation, etc
Human Rights Awareness and Facilitating Assessment of
Enforcement of Human Rights Programme
• Field
visits
are
undertaken
by
the
Members/officers to assess human right situation
at the ground level.
• A one-day workshop is organized in the district
concerned to enlighten people about their rights as
well as monitor the implementation of the
recommendations issued by the Commission from
time to time.
Second Phase of the World Programme for Human Rights
Education
( 2010-2014)
• NHRC-India has communicated to UNOHCHR that it would like to
focus on the identified children and teachers in schools and colleges
as one possible target sector.
• The second target sector would be elected representatives of people
and field level functionaries of government or organizations under the
government.
• The third possible target group could be women, vulnerable groups,
persons with disabilities and labourers, including migrant labourers.
• Global thematic areas could include climate change and
environmental issues, which have a bearing on the right to food,
water, clear air and life; and gender equality so as to empower
women.
• Thematic areas specific to India include food security, right to
education, right to health, conditions in places of custody, HIV AIDS
and right to development.
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NHRIs and Human Rights Education and Training