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FOCUS March 2004 Volume 35

Learning from the Field


In the current discussions on the follow-up to the United Nations Decade for Human Rights Education (1995-2004), several ideas are proposed. One is the adoption of a second Decade that will, among other objectives, continue the unfinished tasks under the current Decade. Another is the creation of a voluntary fund for human rights education, which can help implement human rights education programs the world over. And third is the adoption of a convention on human rights education. It would be ideal to have them all, a second Decade with a voluntary funding support that will end (2014) with a Convention on Human Rights Education.

All these proposed international plans are geared toward one goal: making human rights education happen on the ground. Thus it is worth examining how international programs adopted by Member-States of the UN are translated into national programs. What is the system of coordination between people in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and their counterparts in other Ministries (such as the Ministry of Education) about international programs on human rights education? How do local and national institutions access support from these international programs? Since UN agencies and other institutions are willing (and waiting) to have technical cooperation with governments in the development of national human rights education programs, how many governments have used this scheme? And for those that have such agreements, how was their implementation? There are many experiences from the field on this regard. They tell us what need be done.

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