Human rights education and training is essential to the effective realization of human rights and fundamental freedoms and contributes significantly to promoting equality, preventing conflict and human rights violations and abuses, and enhancing participation and democratic processes with a view to developing societies in which all human beings are valued and respected, without discrimination or distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political, or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.
The United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Education and Training acknowledges the fundamental importance of human rights education and training in contributing to the promotion, protection and effective realization of all human rights, and states that human rights education should include peace, democracy, development and social justice, as set forth in international and regional human rights instruments, in order to achieve common understanding and awareness with a view to strengthening universal commitment to human right. Article 1 recognizes the right to “know, seek and receive information about all human rights and fundamental freedoms” and access to Human Rights Education and Training which is essential for the promotion of universal respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms for all. At the same time human rights, particularly the right to education allows for access to Human Rights Education and Training. Comprising “all education, training, information, awareness-raising and learning activities aimed at promoting universal respect for and observance of human rights and fundamental freedom. It calls for strengthening of human rights institutions.
The Non-Aligned Movement has recognised the role and significance of human rights education, as a part of its principled objective of protection and promotion of human rights. NAM has, in this regard, welcomed the adoption by the General Assembly of resolution 66/137 pertaining to the United Nations declaration on human rights education and training.
The Resolution states that human rights education and training should be based on the principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and relevant treaties and instruments, with a view to:
a) Raising awareness, understanding and acceptance of universal human rights standards and principles, as well as guarantees at the international, regional and national levels for the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms;
(b) Developing a universal culture of human rights, in which everyone is aware of their own rights and responsibilities in respect of the rights of others, and promoting the development of the individual as a responsible member of a free, peaceful, pluralist and inclusive society;
(c) Pursuing the effective realization of all human rights and promoting tolerance, non-discrimination and equality;
(d) Ensuring equal opportunities for all through access to quality human rights education and training, without any discrimination;
(e) Contributing to the prevention of human rights violations and abuses and to the combating and eradication of all forms of discrimination, racism, stereotyping and incitement to hatred, and the harmful attitudes and prejudices that underlie them.
A number of NAM Member States have undertaken to impart human rights education and integrate it in their formal education curriculum. In India, for the primary and secondary education level the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) has made a significant contribution by developing a national curriculum that has infused human rights elements in social science paper at school level.
In Indonesia, subjects such as Pancasila (state ideology) and Civics Education, Social Studies, including History, and Bahasa Indonesia (the national language) are closely related to human rights issues. Junior and senior high schools offer the same subjects as well as Sociology and Anthropology, which are also closely related to human rights issues.
NAM also support the development of national action plans on human rights education and their implementation by providing funds and technical support.