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FOCUS September 2012 Volume Vol. 69

Northeast Asia Training Resource Material for Human Rights Education


In line with its subregional approach to program implementation, HURIGHTS OSAKA organized a meeting of Northeast Asian educators in March 2008 to identify the challenges and opportunities in support of human rights education in the Northeast Asian school systems. This was followed by a 2009 research project on these challenges and opportunities for human rights education in Northeast Asian school systems. A research report was issued in 2010 entitled The State of Human Rights Education in Northeast Asian School Systems: Obstacles, Challenges, Opportunities.1 As a next step, HURIGHTS OSAKA decided to develop a human rights education training resource material based on Northeast Asian experiences and in collaboration with Northeast Asian educators. The material should provide Northeast Asian educators ideas and practical measures that support the growth of human rights education in the school systems in the subregion.

Project Objectives

The development of a training resource material for the Northeast Asian subregion is designed to help in the institutionalization of human rights education within the school systems in the subregion.
As in the previous projects for Southeast and South Asia,2 the training resource material must be

a) Contextualized in the Northeast Asian subregion,
b) Composed of some of the best teaching and learning materials for human rights education that are available in Northeast Asia,
c) Embodying the perspectives and experiences of the human rights educators in the subregion particularly those that relate to the challenges of teaching/ learning human rights within the school systems in Northeast Asia,
d) Promoting the international human rights standards through their concrete application in the education setting as content, teaching/ learning processes, school rules and regulations, teachers’ guiding principles, issues for parents-teachers associations, and school- community relations,
e) An appropriate material for teacher-training, and even as teaching/learning material, and
f) Supporting networking among Northeast Asian educators through continued exchange of information on the development of human rights education in the different school systems.

The development of a resource training material started with a meeting in September 2011 in Osaka of educators from China, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, Mongolia and Taiwan. The September 2011 meeting led to an agreement to develop lesson plans based on existing materials in the subregion.
The contributors met for the second time on 1-2 September 2012 to review the lesson plans they had sent previously and to agree on additional contents of the training resource material.
The invited contributors have varied educational roles. They consist of law professors who teach human rights courses as well as heads of human rights centers, professors in education department/university, a consultant on human rights education, two school teachers (primary and secondary levels), and a head of a non-governmental organization that undertakes human rights education.


Current status

The contributors3 agreed to adopt the HURIGHTS OSAKA proposal on the contents of the training resource material. They consist of the following:

a. Human Rights: Concepts, Mechanisms and Issues – this is a brief discussion on the basic principles underlying the international human rights standards, list of basic rights, international/regional/national human rights mechanisms, national laws and policies on human rights education, and issues in Northeast Asia that relate to human rights. This section shows the legal support for human rights education at the international and national levels.
b. Northeast Asian School Systems and Human Rights Education – this is a basic introduction of the school systems in Northeast Asia and the human rights education initiatives that exist.
c. Human Rights Education Pedagogy – this is a discussion on the pedagogies being employed in the lesson plans in the resource material. It provides pedagogical techniques for human rights education, with a user- friendly description, and a focus on the positive aspects of the pedagogies.
d. Schools and Human Rights Education – this presents a number of initiatives in schools that support human rights/human rights education. A good example is the School Charter on Human Rights that has been adopted in a number of schools in South Korea. If available, Teachers’ Charter on Human Rights can be included.
e. Civil Society Initiatives on Human Rights Education – this highlights a number of non-government al organization programs that support human rights/human rights education such as the Child Assault Prevention (CAP) in Japan and Korea and the "Erkhuulei" – Youth initiative in Mongolia.
f. Local Government and Human Rights Education – this discusses the role of local governments in supporting human rights/human rights education and presents several examples such as the Kawasaki Child Rights Ordinance (Kawasaki city, Japan), Children’s Free Talk (Tsurugashima city, Japan), and the “Human Rights Subway” in Gwangju city, South Korea.
g. Teachers and Human Rights Education – this highlights the significant role of the teachers and their organization in providing support to human rights education in the school system. The teachers’ involvement in surveying the human rights awareness of students, development of teaching materials, and in training teachers on human rights will be included. One example is the organization of teachers on human rights education based in Osaka, Japan and named Furitsu Jinken.
h. Local Community Participation – this presents initiatives of the community around the school that help the schools in their human rights education program.
i. Human Rights Curricular Framework – this presents the issues as well as the scope and sequence of the lesson plans covered by the resource material.
j. Human Rights Lesson Plans – as the major content of the resource material, these lesson plans discuss a number of issues appropriate to each level of school education – primary, lower secondary and upper secondary.

The training resource material will also have appendices that include basic human rights instruments (Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Convention on the Rights of the Child) and information on where to get reference materials in Northeast Asia. Online teaching and learning materials in Northeast Asia will be included in the appendices.
The publication is expected to come out in print in March 2013, and its digital file will be made available online through the website of HURIGHTS OSAKA and possibly of other institutions.

For further information, please contact HURIGHTS OSAKA.


1.  Available in pdf file at
2.  The Southeast Asia project resulted in the publication of the Human Rights Lesson Plans for Southeast Asian Schools in 2003 and their versions in a number of Southeast Asian languages (Bahasa Indonesia, Bahasa Melayu [courtesy of the national human rights institution in Malaysia, SUHAKAM], Khmer, and Vietnamese). The South Asia project resulted in the publication of the South Asian Teachers and Human Rights Education - A Training Resource Material in New Delhi in 2009. The Southeast Asian publications are all available in pdf file at
3.  The contributors include the following:
a. China - Professor Bai Guimei, Executive Director, Research Center for Human Rights and Humanitarian Law, Peking University and Professor Yang Songcai, Executive Director, Guangzhou University Research Center for Human Rights;
b. Hong Kong - Mr. Law Yuk Kai - Director, Hong Kong Human Rights Monitor
c. Japan - Mr. Akio Hige, upper secondary school teacher
d. Korea - Ms. Arah Goh, primary school teacher
e. Mongolia - Mr. Altangerel Choijoo, Project Coordinator, National Human Rights Commission of Mongolia
f. Taiwan - Professor Mei Ying Tang, Taipei Municipal University of Education.