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FOCUS September 1998 Volume 13

Conference on Human Rights Education in the Asia-Pacific Region - Towards Universal Realization of Human Rights -

The forthcoming 50th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights provides an occasion to take stock of the state of human rights in this region of the Asia-Pacific. Coinciding with this anniversary is the on-going UN Decade for Human Rights Education (1995-2004) which calls for concrete actions at the national and regional levels to assure that human rights education plays a role in realizing human rights and preventing the occurrence of violations. In light of this, it is an opportune time to gather people from Asia- Pacific and other regions of the world working with peopleO~s organizations, non-governmental organizations, national human rights institutions, regional offices of the UN and its specialized agencies to have a critical review of the steps taken to make the Universal Declaration of Human Rights meaningful to the people of the Asia-Pacific region through human rights education. A conference will thus be held on November 25-27, 1998 in Osaka, Japan through the joint efforts of the Asia-Pacific Human Rights Information Center, the International Movement Against All Forms of Discrimination and Racism-Japan Committee, the Osaka Liaison Committee for the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the Osaka Prefectural and City Governments.

This conference has the following objectives:

  • To promote the universal realization of human rights on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights;
  • To call on governments in the Asia-Pacific region and on the UN, in the context of the UN Decade, to give human rights education the highest priority in their human rights agenda;
  • To promote liaison with the UN and its specialized agencies such as UNICEF, UNESCO, UNDP, ILO, WHO, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, international agencies, and NGOs in the Asia-Pacific region and other regions of the world working on the UN Decade;
  • To discuss human rights education in light of such global issues relating to environment, habitation, population (including migration), internal displacement, social development and women's rights that most heavily affect minorities and oppressed people in the Asia-Pacific region;
  • To build on the work done at the Workshop on Asia-Pacific Human Rights Education held on August 22-25, 1996 in Sydney, Australia and at the Sixth Workshop on Regional Arrangements for the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights in the Asia-Pacific Region held on February 28-March 2, 1998 in Tehran, Iran in providing significant support to the development of human rights education in the region.

The conference will be attended by representatives of non-governmental organizations, United Nations specialized agencies including the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, and local governments in Japan.

The conference will have plenary sessions for the presentation of the state of implementation of the UN Decade in the Asia-Pacific, and the future tasks in promoting human rights education in the region. Small discussion sessions on specific issues on human rights education will also be held. The small discussion sessions will take up the following issues:

  1. "Human Rights Education Strategies to Address Problems of Globalization";
  2. "Human Rights Empowerment of the Oppressed and Minorities";
  3. "Innovation in Human Rights Education" with subtopics consisting of
    • HRE through Global Education
    • HRE through "Dowa" Education
    • HRE through Popular Education
    • HRE through Diversity Education
  4. "Human Rights Education for Professionals and Business Leaders" with subtopics on
    • Administration of Justice (members of police, prison officers, judges and lawyers)
    • Private Corporations
    • Parliamentarians, Political Parties and Media

Additional activities consist of community dialogues and workshops on various issues such as:

  • Human Rights Education at the Grassroots Level (Yao City)
  • Effective Practices of Human Rights Education in the Community (Sakai City)
  • Human Rights Education and Literacy Programs/Adult Education (Izumi City)
  • Human Rights Education for Children (Suita City)
  • Human Rights Education in Schools (Osaka City)

Those interested may apply with the conference secretariat: Secretariat of the Osaka Organizing Committee for the International Conference on Human Rights Education in the Asia-Pacific Region, c/o HURIGHTS OSAKA 1-2-1-1500 Benten Minato-ku, Osaka 552-0007, Japan Tel: +81-6-568-0930 Fax: +81-6-577-3583 E-mail


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