Human Rights Education integral to the realization of human rights: Oral Statement to the 20th Session of the Human Rights Council 18 June 2012

18 June 2012
Item 2 General Debate
Speaker: Ms. Catherine Morris.

Oral Statement to the 20th Session of the UN Human Rights Council from Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada (LRWC), a non-governmental organization in special consultative status

Re: Human Rights Education as integral to the realization of human rights

Thank you, Madame President,

Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada sincerely congratulates you, Madame High Commissioner, on your well-deserved reappointment. We also welcome your report, particularly your reminder that “health care, education, housing, and access to justice, are not commodities for sale to the few” but are ”rights guaranteed by international law, to everyone, everywhere, without discrimination.”

We also welcome your comments on human rights training for law enforcement officials involved in counter-terrorism activities. In this regard, we remind the Council of its achievement in facilitating development of the Declaration on Human Rights Education and Training, adopted by the General Assembly in December 2011. The Declaration acknowledges the fundamental importance of human rights education in the “effective realization of all human rights” and affirms States’ responsibility to promote and ensure human rights education (Art 7.1), and to create “a safe and enabling environment for the engagement of civil society… in human rights education and training” (Art. 7.2.)

Human rights education is a proactive measure by which to ensure that an informed citizenry holds States accountable to implement economic, social and cultural rights, respect freedoms of expression, association, assembly and peaceful protest, and assure the right of human rights defenders, including community activists, to advocate and educate about international human rights.

Therefore, we ask Council to urge all States to collaborate with civil society groups on human rights education and advocacy, and to remind States of their duty to ensure education about internationally protected rights for students and teachers at all levels, as well as public officials and the general public.

Thank you, Madame President.