What is Human Rights Education?
Below are several variations on the definition of Human Rights Education.

Photo by Richard Schmitt: Palisades Charter HS teacher and STF teacher advisor Angelica Pererya,
integrates human rights into her work with her arts class.

Adopted by the newly created HRE USA network of educators:
Human Rights Education (HRE) is a lifelong process of teaching and learning that helps individuals develop the knowledge, skills, and values to fully exercise and protect the human rights of themselves and others; to fulfill their responsibilities in the context of internationally agreed upon human rights principles; and to achieve justice and peace in our world.

AS Defined by the Student Task Force in collaboration with Felisa Tibbits:
HRE provides knowledge about the historical and contemporary significance of human rights and the mechanisms that protect them, and reinforces skills and values to uphold human rights.

Todd Jennings, School of Education, California State University San Bernardino
Human rights education is the deliberate practice of preparing individuals, groups, and communities with the content, attitudes, and behaviors that encourage the promotion and protection of the human rights of self and others--now and in the future.

Human rights education encompasses cognitive, affective, and behavioral elements.  Human rights education includes teaching the full spectrum of human rights (civil, political, economic, social, cultural), the instruments in which those rights are outlined (e.g. Universal Declaration of Human Rights), historical violations and advances, contemporary violations and advances, and finally, the ways in which the learner can act to promote the security of every person's human rights.

UNESCO Definition:
Human rights education encompasses:
1. Knowledge and skills - learning about human rights and mechanisms for their protection, as well as acquiring skills to apply them in daily life;
2. Values attitudes and behavior - developing values and reinforcing attitudes and behaviors that uphold human rights;
3. Action - taking action to defend and promote human rights.

Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (1997):
The United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights defines human rights education asĀ  "training, dissemination and information efforts aimed at the building of a universal culture of human rights through the imparting of knowledge and skills and the molding of attitudes directed to:

  • the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms;
  • the full development of the human personality and the sense of its dignity;
  • the promotion of understanding, tolerance, gender equality and friendship among all nations, indigenous peoples and racial, national, ethnic, religious and linguistic groups;
  • the enabling of all persons to participate effectively in a free society.
University of Minnesota Human Rights Library
Human rights education aims at developing an understanding of our common responsibility to make human rights a reality in every community and in society at large. In this sense, it contributes to the long-term prevention of human rights abuses and violent conflicts, the promotion of equality and sustainable development and the enhancement of people’s participation in decision-making processes within a democratic system, as stated in Commission on Human Rights resolution 2004/71.

Amnesty International USA
Human rights education is both a lens through which to observe the world and a methodology for teaching and leading others. Amnesty International believes that learning about human rights is the first step toward respecting, promoting and defending those rights. The Human Rights Education program is dedicated to promoting the human rights principles and positive value system that are set forth in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Teaching about human rights means both conveying ideas and information concerning human rights and nurturing the values and attitudes that lead to the support of those rights.

Property of the Human Rights Watch Student Task Force, 2011
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