Introduction to Human Rights and
Human Rights Education
© 2005
University of Minnesota
Human Rights Resource
 What are the historic and philosophical
foundations for “human rights”?
 What are the underlying principles of the
Universal Declaration of Human Rights?
 How does the Universal Declaration of
Human Rights and our stories connect to
Human Rights Education?
How do we tell our story
of the evolution of
human rights and human
rights education?
We must recognize our
ancestors and elders,
whose shoulders we are
standing upon!
Philosophical Visions:
Human Nature - A search for Common secular inquiry
and human reason
 400 B.C.E. est. - Mo Zi founded Mohist School of
Moral Philosophy in China
Importance of duty, self-sacrifice, and an all-embracing
respect for others – “universally throughout the world”
 300 B.C.E. est. – Chinese sage Mencious
Wrote on the “human nature” – “humans are fundamentally
good, but goodness needs to be nurtured”
 300 B.C.E. est. – Hsun-tzu
Asserted “to relieve anxiety and eradicate strife, nothing is a
effective as the institution of corporate life based on a clear
recognition of individual rights”
Philosophical Visions:
Human Nature
 1750 B.C.E. – King Hammurabi in Babylon
Necessary to honor broad codes of justice among people. Created
one of the earliest legal codes to govern behavior – “let the
oppressed man come under my statue” to seek equal justice in law
 Ancient Egypt
Explicit social justice – “comfort the afflicted…refrain from unjust
punishment. Kill not…make no distinction between the son of a man
of importance and one of humble origin”
 Early Sanskrit writings in Indian
Responsibility of rulers for the welfare of people. “Noone should be
allowed to suffer… either because of poverty or of any deliberate
actions on the part of others”
Philosophical Visions:
Human Nature with Spiritual/Religious Traditions
 300 B.C.E. – Ashoka of India
Freedom of worship and other rights of his subjects. Other leaders
from this area impartial justice and social equality and no castes
should exist since all are from one tree
 16th century - Hindu philosopher Chaitanya
“There is only one caste – humanity”
 Sikh leader Guru Gobind Singh
Proclaimed “recognize all the human race as one”
 10th Century - Al-Farabi, an Islamic Philosopher
Wrote The Outlook of the People of the City of Virtue, a vision of
moral society in which all individual were endowed with rights and
lived in love and charity with their neighbors.
Philosophical Visions:
Natural Law – focused on universal responsibilities
and duties rather than what are now described as rights
 Greek Philosophers
Equal respect for all citizens (insotimia). Equality before the law
(isonomia). Equality in political power (isokratia) and Suffrage
 Marcus Tillius Cicero
“Universal justice and law guided human nature to act justly and be
of service to others” – This natural law “binds all human society”
together, applies to every member of “the whole human race”
without distinction and unique dignity of each person.
 French philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1762)
“Man is born free, but everywhere he is in chains”
Precursors to 20th Century
Human Rights Documents
 1750 B.C.E.
– Code of Hammurabi, Babylonia
 1200 - 300 B.C.E.
– Old Testament
 551 - 479 B.C.E.
– Analects of Confucius
 40 - 100 C.E.
– New Testament
 644 - 656 C.E.
– Koran
 1215
– Magna Carta, England
 1400
– Code of Nezahualcoyotl, Aztec
 1648
– Treaty of Westphalia, Europe
 1689
– English Bill of Rights, England
 1776
– Declaration of Independence,
United States
 1787
– United States Constitution
 1789
– French Declaration on the
Rights of Man and the Citizen,
France 1791 -United States Bill
of Rights
19th and 20th Century Human
Rights based on Natural Rights
 1863: Emancipation Proclamation, United States
 1864 & 1949: Geneva Conventions, International
 1919:
 1920:
 1926:
 1945:
 1947:
Red Cross
League of Nations Covenant, International
Labor Organization (ILO) Created
Women gain the right to vote in the U.S.
Slavery Convention
United Nations Charter, San Francisco
Mohandas Gandhi uses non-violent protests
leading India to independence.
Philosophical Visions:
Human Rights & the Social Construction of Human Nature
A Moral Vision of Human Nature
Human Rights set the limits and requirements of social
(especially state) action. But the state and society, guided
by human rights, play a major role in realizing that “nature.”
When human rights claims bring legal and political practice
into lines with their demands, they create a person in line
with a moral vision. (Donnelly, 2003)
“Human Rights Theories and documents point beyond actual
conditions of existence to what is possible.”
“Treat a person like a human being and you’ll get a human
What are the Human
Rights Principles?
The rights
that someone
has simply
because he or
she is a
human being
& born into
this world.
Core Principles:
 Human Dignity
 Equality
 Non-discrimination
 Universality
 Interdependency
 Indivisibility
 Inalienability
 Responsibilities
What are the Common Myths
about Human Rights in U.S.?
 Human Rights = civil rights.
 Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights
(i.e., healthcare, housing) are
 Human Rights applies only in poor,
foreign countries.
 Human Rights are only concerned with
 Only lawyers can understand the
significance of Human Rights.
Five Primary Categories
of Human Rights:
Civil Rights
Political Rights
Economic Rights
Social Rights
Cultural Rights
Universal of Declaration of Human
Rights History and Current Status
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) was drafted by
the UN Commission on Human Rights chaired by, then first lady,
Eleanor Roosevelt. The UDHR was adopted by the 56 member
nations of the UN General Assembly on December 10, 1948.
December 10th is celebrated around the world as International
Human Rights Day. The 192 member states in the U.N., upon
membership, agreed to educate their citizens about the principles of
the UDHR. Most of these countries have incorporated the principles
of the UDHR into their constitutions.
“The UDHR specifies minimal conditions of a dignified life.”
Human Rights USA
1997 Survey Results
 Only 8% of adults and 4% of young people
are aware the Universal Declaration of
Human Rights exists.
 After learning about the UDHR, a large
majority, 83%, feel that the US should do
more to live up to the principles of the
 2/3 of the people polled (63%) say that the
poor are usually discriminated against in
US. Others discriminated against: the
disabled (61%), the elderly (54%), gays
and lesbians (51%), Native Americans
(50%), and African Americans (41%).
International Bill of
Human Rights
U n ivers a l D e c la ra tio n o f H u m a n Rig h ts
(U D H R )
D e ce m be r 10 , 19 48
In t'l Co ve na n t on C ivil a n d P o litic a l Rig h ts
In t'l Co ven a n t o n Ec o no m ic, S oc ia l an d Cu ltura l Rig h ts
(IC C P R )
A d o pte d b y U N G en e ral A sse m bly in 1 9 66
E n tere d in to Fo rce in 19 76
(IC E S C )
A d o pte d b y th e UN G e n era l A ssem b ly in 1 9 66
E n tere d in to Fo rce in 19 76
2 O p tio na l P ro toc o ls to th e IC C PR
(M e m b e r na tio ns p erm it in d ivid u a ls o r gro u ps
to rep o rt p e rso na l hu m an rig h ts viola tion s to the
U N H u m a n R igh ts C o m m itte e)
Selected Human Rights
 International Convention on the
Elimination of all forms of Racial
Discrimination, 1966
 Convention on the Elimination of all
Forms of Discrimination against Women,
 Convention on the Rights of the Child,
How do we move from
learning about Human
Rights to promoting and
protecting them on a
personal and community
We must share, listen, and
respect each other’s
stories and journeys,
working for human rights
and human rights
Personal and Community
Human Rights Learning Wheel
KRP - 1999
Building Blocks for
Human Rights Education
Know your human rights
Value your human rights
Learn new human rights Skills
Practice human rights
Measuring the Impact
and Being Accountable
What are initial outcomes?
Was our intent the impact?
Can we connect and hold each other accountable?
Can our work be a means rather than an end?
Who are the Stakeholders and
Responsible Partners in our
Human Rights Community?
Mayor and City Council
Elected Officials and Dept of Human Rights
Ombudsman & HR League
School Suprintendent
Principals and University Deans
Teachers, Faculty, and Staff
Police & Law Enforcement
/Non-Profit Organizations
Philanthropic Donors and Funders
Libraries, Hospitals, and Parks
Largest Private Employers
How will we gauge the Progress in
Realizing our Human Rights
Annual HR Statical Report Card
Community Testimonies
Public Education and Events
Public Accommodations
Graduation Rates
Income Comparisons
Hiring Trends in Public and Private
Recruitment of People of Color in
Educational Institutions
Arrests and Conviction Rates &
Legal Assistance
Homeownership Rates
What is Human Rights
1993 Vienna Declaration and
Programme of Action, Part 1, para. 33
“The World Conference on Human Rights reaffirms
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 international levels.”
The UN resolution declaring the
Decade for Human Rights Education,
Human rights education should involve more than
the provisions of education and should constitute a
comprehensive life-long process by which people at
all levels in development and in all strata of society
learn respect for the dignity of others and the means
and methods of ensuring that respect in all societies.
The World Programme for Human
Rights Education (A/59/525/Rev. 1)
Human rights education can be defined 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) The strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental
(b) The full development of the human personality and the sense of
its dignity;
(c) The promotion of understanding, tolerance, gender equality and
friendship among all nations, indigenous peoples and racial,
national, ethnic, religious and linguistic groups;
(d) The enabling of all persons to participate effectively in a free and
democratic society governed by the rule of law;
(e) The building and maintenance of peace;
(f) The promotion of people-centered sustainable development and
social justice.
The World Programme for Human
Rights Education Launched
January 1, 2005 – December 31, 2007
• Resolution 2004/71 of the Commission on Human
Rights supported the first phase (2005-2007) of the
World Program for HRE to focus on primary and
secondary school systems.
• UN General Assembly adopted resolution in support
of The World Programme for HRE (12/10/05)
• Revised draft plan of action for the first phase (20052007) of the World Programme for HRE
What is the Human Right
to Education?
Everyone has the human right
to education, training and
 Education should be directed
to the full development of the
human personality and the
strengthening of human rights
and fundamental freedoms.
Governments’ Obligations to
Ensuring the Human Right to
 “Everyone has the right to education….Education
shall be directed to the full development of the
human personality and to the strengthening of
respect for human rights and fundamental
freedoms.” UDHR, Article 26
 “State parties undertake to prohibit and to
eliminate racial discrimination…and to guarantee
the right of everyone without distinction as to race,
colour, or national or ethnic origin…in the
enjoyment of…the right to education and training.”
CERD, Article 5
 ICESCR (Art. 13), CRC (Art. 29), & CEDAW (Art. 10).
 In response to new World Programme on HRE,
Governments need to develop plans for HRE in
primary and secondary school education.
A Planning & Evaluation Handbook
Recommendations to International and
National Actors Based on research in
El Salvador, Guatemala, Liberia, Mexico and
Sierra Leone
Paul Martin,Tania Bernath, Tracey Holland
Loren Miller
DRAFT 10/28/2002
“Human Rights Education is a means
towards social change; a tool to
transform the theory and practical
applications into everyday social
“In conflict situations and in peace
building, HRE must be seen to benefit
the target populations’ daily lives.”
Paul Martin et al
“HRE focuses especially on social
goals and ideals that emphasize the
dignity of all human beings and the
need for laws and institutions that
enforce those standards. In so doing,
HRE contributes directly to the process
of building a society based on freedom,
peace and Justice.”
Paul Martin, et al.
(1) You have rights and members of
government are obliged to protect and
promote them; and
(2) You can gain the knowledge and
skills to use to protect and implement
those rights in real life and
subsequently improve your and
community-wide living conditions.
Paul Martin,Tania Bernath, Tracey Holland
Loren Miller (Draft 2002)
I. WHY? Goal Setting Questions
(1) What do we hope to achieve through
(2) How will the promotion of human
rights contribute to goal(s)?
(3) In the absence of an effective local
government, how can common rules based
on international standards become part of
national law and be enforced to ensure
respect for these rights for both nationals
and expatriates alike?
WHAT Content & Skills? Questions to
Determine Content/Skills
(1) What are the participants greatest concerns
and how do they relate to human rights?
(2) What human rights concerns have the
participants identified?
(3) What articles from which international
documents in human rights and humanitarian
law reflect the concerns of this population at
this time?
(4) How are human rights principles reflected
in the activities of state and local Institutions?
(5) What skills do we need to gain to redress
these concerns?
Questions About Implementation
(1) How can we engage the participants in the
learning process?
(2) What approaches will make these topics come
alive for the participants?
(3) How should one organize and structure the
goals and topics to be taught?
(4) What do participants learn from the way that
we facilitate process?
(5) How can we use the classroom dynamic to
reinforce our goals and topics?
(6) What methods will best help participants
learn and apply this knowledge?
IV. WHO are actors in
teaching/training and learning?
Questions for Determining Actors
(1) What arenas of society should be the focus
for human rights education?
(2) What experience, talents, and skills will
best serve the educational and human rights
(3) How can local and international efforts
best be combined in the application of human
rights education?
(4) What kinds of experts are needed to
implement human rights education?
Paul Martin,Tania Bernath, Tracey Holland, and Loren Miller (Draft 2002)
What are some
models and effective
practices in HRE
Programs in the U.S.
and the Americas?
National Human Rights
Resource Center
 Passports on Universal Declaration of HR
and Convention on the Rights of Child (@
1/2 million distributed)
 Human Rights Here & Now Curriculum
(@25,000 distributed)
 “Taking Your Human Rights Temperature of
Your School” (adapted/translated into
numerous other languages)
 Human Rights and Peace Bookstore
 National Training of Trainers HRE
National Human Rights
Resource Center – U of MN
 Beyond September 11 Curriculum –
 Human Rights Education Handbook:
Effective Practice for Learning,
Action & Change
 “Dismantling Racism and Human
Rights” Workshops for Trainers
 Partnering on Training for the Police,
FBI, Judiciary, and New Immigrants
 Police and Civilian Review Board
Human Rights Library –
 Largest Primary human rights
documents Web site available in 6
languages: Spanish, English, French,
Russian, Arabic, Japanese. Chinese
is coming soon.
 @ 120,000 hits in one month period.
 @ 3,500 Human Rights Links.
 Link to the Resource Center for fulltext training resources free on-line.
 New UN Guidelines on Transnational
Corporations & HR now available.
This is My Home: A Minnesota
HRE Experience - 2005
Primary and
School HRE
(1)To create learning
environments for
all students to
develop to full
(2)To motivate all
members of school
community to take
responsibilities for
(3)To share effective
practices on Web
Minnesota Global, Human Rights,
and Peace Education Network
teachers to help them understand unique needs of
students and families coming from War-torn
countries. (
implemented a full “Rights Sites” approach with 8
schools and also developed a “Building Immigrant
Awareness & Support” curriculum and video.
(3) MN INTERNATIONAL CENTER. Brings immigrants
and refugees into classrooms to speak about their
countries. (
Minnesota Global, Human Rights,
and Peace Education Network
Conducts teacher training, hosts a bi-lingual
curriculum bookstore, and runs a youth-lead Child
Labor Project. (
Works with St. Paul School District on “Respect
and Human Rights Campaign” Coaching and
Curriculum Integration (
(6) WORLD CITIZENS. Works with schools to become
peace sites and integrate human rights and peace
Measuring Human Rights
Community “Temperature”
Moorhead Residence Survey on Discrimination,
Moorhead Chamber of Commerce, 1998
Housing 58%
Health care 19%
Neighborhood 53%
Police 48%
Churches 11%
Shopping 28%
City Govt. 24%
Employment 31%
Martin Luther King, Jr.,
Last Speech on April 3,1968
“Men, for years now, have been talking about war
and peace. But now, no longer can they just talk
about it. It is no longer a choice between violence
or non-violence in this world; it’s nonviolence or
That is where we are today. And also in the
human rights revolution, if something isn’t
done, and in a hurry, to bring the colored peoples of
the world out of their long years of poverty, their
long years of hurt and neglect, the whole world is
The U of MN Human
Rights Center
 N-120 Mondale Hall, U of MN Law School
 612-626-0041
 Primary Human Rights Documents
 Human Rights Education and Training
 Human Rights and Peace Store
Eleanor Roosevelt, 1958
“Where, after all do universal rights begin? In small
places, close to home – so close and so small that they
cannot be seen on any maps of the world. Yet they are
the world of the individual person; the neighborhood he
lives in; the school or college he attends; the factory,
farm or office where he works. Such are the places
where every man, woman, and child seeks
equal justice, equal opportunity, equal
dignity without discrimination. Unless these
rights have meaning there, they have little meaning
anywhere. Without concerted citizen action to uphold
them close to home, we shall look in vain for progress in
the larger world.”

Building a Human Rights Learning Community