Outcome Document of the Global Forum on Human Rights Education
(Samarkand, 5-6 December 2022)
SAMARKAND ACTION PLAN
TO PROMOTE HUMAN RIGHTS EDUCATION
We – participants in the “Global Forum on Human Rights Education” held in in Samarkand, Uzbekistan, on 5-6 December 2022, including representatives of governmental authorities, educational institutions, civil society and international organizations: Express our appreciation to President of the Republic of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev, for His initiative to convene this Forum as announced at the 76th session of the UN General Assembly and the 46th session of the Human Rights Council, and to the National Human Rights Centre of the Republic of Uzbekistan for having organized it, in collaboration with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), the UN Country Team in Uzbekistan, the OSCE, the Council of Europe, the Friedrich Ebert Foundation and other international and national partners;
Believe – inspired by the words of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights – that “recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world”, and that “every individual and every organ of society, keeping this Declaration constantly in mind, shall strive by teaching and education to promote respect for these rights and freedoms”;
Reaffirm the message and value of the Universal Declaration, as the Global Forum is held on the eve of International Human Rights Day 2022 that marks the launch of the global year-long campaign for the 75th anniversary of the proclamation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights under the slogan "Dignity, Freedom and Justice for All";
Believe that human rights education and training is fundamental for the promotion of universal respect for and observance of all human rights and fundamental freedoms, in accordance with the principles of universality, indivisibility and interdependence, and that is also essential to ensure the full participation of people in all decision-making processes that affect their lives - civil, political, economic, social, cultural, environmental, digital - and to prevent discrimination and other human rights violations, as well as violence and conflicts;
Recognize the importance of avoiding politicising human rights, including by using human rights education platform for propaganda of violence and hate speech, and reiterate that human rights education roots lay in human rights that are universal, inalienable, indivisible, interdependent and interrelated.
Build on the commitments made by all countries at the United Nations General Assembly when launching two global human rights education initiatives whose implementation we are stocktaking at this Forum – the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Education and Training, a landmark document highlighting the scope and principles of human rights education and the role and responsibilities of all relevant actors, and the World Programme for Human Rights Education (2005-ongoing), a complementary framework for action aiming to advance national implementation of human rights education organized in consecutive phases and currently dedicated to youth (2020-2024);Highlight the commitments made by all countries in the context of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development to end all forms of poverty, fight inequalities and tackle climate change, while ensuring that no one is left behind, and in particular Sustainable Development Goal 4, which calls for inclusive and equitable quality education that includes human rights education as an essential component; Also build on the commitments made by all countries at the Transforming Education Summit 2022, which has urged a reshaping of education for education systems to be able to meet the needs of learners in a rapidly changing world, including preparing learners to be active and responsible citizens of their communities and of the world by supporting them to advance human rights and social justice, respect for diversity and global solidarity;Take note of other recent international meetings with a regional focus to assess progress in human rights education, discuss good practices and challenges, and build networks of educators, particularly the “International Conference on Human Rights Education: Bridging our Diversities” (Montréal, Canada, 30 November -3 December 2017), co-organized by Equitas-International Centre for Human Rights Education and OHCHR, and the “The Art of Learning Equality, Dignity, Democracy: Forum on the Present and Future of Citizenship and Human Rights Education in Europe with Young People” (Turin, Italy, 11-13 April 2022), co-organized by the Italian government and the Council of Europe;
Acknowledge the increasing focus on human rights education for youth at the international level, as highlighted in the current phase of the World Programme for Human Rights Education, in the UN Secretary-General’s “Youth 2030: The UN Youth Strategy”, an umbrella framework to guide the UN in engaging young people and benefiting from their views, insights and ideas, in “Youth 2020: Global Solidarity, Sustainable Development and Human Rights”, adopted at the Samarkand Human Rights Web Forum in 2020 to highlight the important and positive role of youth in realizing human rights and building a culture of peace, and in the “Youth Declaration on Transforming Education”, adopted at the Transforming Education Summit 2022 as young people’s common vision on transforming education;
Express our concern at the many interconnected challenges faced by people all around the world – in particular people in situations of exclusion or vulnerability including youth, women and girls, migrants, refugees and stateless persons, and people with disabilities – including conflict and violence, discrimination, misinformation, hate speech, a rising cost of living, health emergencies including the COVID-19 pandemic, the digital divide, the widening of social and economic inequality, poverty and hunger, the escalating challenges related to climate change and the barriers to the enjoyment of human rights worldwide;
Note that human rights education contributes to identifying responses and solutions to these challenges that are consistent with human rights standards and are grounded in the understanding that everyone is equally deserving of respect and dignity;
Acknowledge the progress made in the area of human rights education and training since the Vienna World Conference on Human Rights (1993) in terms of development of policies, programmes and materials as well as institution- and network-building at all levels, taking into account opportunities for further implementation as well as existing challenges.
In light of the above, we have gathered in person and online to discuss progress in the context of the 10th anniversary of the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Education and Training and of the World Programme for Human Rights Education, share experiences, innovative approaches and lessons learnt, exchange views and discuss plans in order to further implementation of effective human rights education, particularly in Central Asia.
We recommend that:
- General Recommendations
A. Human rights education and training should encompass:
B. Education about human rights, which includes providing knowledge and understanding of human rights;
C. Education through human rights, which includes learning and teaching in a way that respects the rights of both educators and learners;
D. Education for human rights, which includes empowering persons to enjoy and exercise their rights and to respect and uphold the rights of others.
- Human rights education is beyond legal education. It is about empowering learners with knowledge, skills and attitudes so that they can take action to uphold their rights and those of others in a spirit of solidarity.
- Rather than focusing on one-way lectures, human rights education and training methodology should put the learners at the centre of the learning process by making use of participatory methodologies that include critical analysis, knowledge and skills to support individual and collective action to further human rights.
- Human rights education and training should build on the human rights principles embedded within the learners’ differing cultural contexts and take into consideration the age, cultural specificities and contexts of the learners.
- To realize the commitments made at the international level, Governments should develop and implement comprehensive and targeted national human rights education programmes and strategies, using as guidance the Plans of Action of the World Programme for Human Rights Education and the UN Declaration on Human Rights Education and Training.
- Human rights education should be promoted through any available opportunities, such as in the context of national implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and of various other relevant initiatives promoted by the United Nations (on youth, prevention of violent extremism, countering of hate speech, combating gender violence), particularly in the area of education (global citizenship education, transforming education, Education 2030/UNESCO, etc.).
- Government should create a safe and enabling environment for the engagement of civil society, the private sector, youth and other relevant stakeholders in human rights education and training, in which the human rights and fundamental freedoms of all, including of those engaged in the process, are fully protected, and should engage them as long-term partners in related efforts.
- To ensure institutionalization of human rights education, governments should include human rights in the curricula of all educational institutions, including state higher educational institutions, institutions specialising in professional development and retraining (universities, institutes, centres, faculties, courses), as well as general, secondary special and professional educational institutions.
- Human rights education programmes and materials should be accessible and incorporate the use of inclusive language and diverse perspectives that counter discrimination and stereotyping.
- All stakeholders should facilitate access to new information technologies – including addressing the digital divide - for networking, exchange of relevant information and discussion, using existing or new education portals and onsite/online communities of practice which integrate a publicly-accessible online and offline network to connect the human rights education community and house resources and materials to implement human rights education at the national level.
- Surveys on human rights awareness among the general public and specific groups should be regularly carried out as a basis for human rights education programming.
- The role of national human rights institutions and academic institutions in human rights education should be further strengthened.
- Identification, compilation and dissemination of good practices in the various areas of human rights education should be pursued at the national, regional and international levels.
- All stakeholders should participate in the global consultation on the focus of the fifth phase (2025-2029) of the World Programme for Human Rights Education.
- National level
- Human rights education in primary and secondary education:
- National education actors should adopt holistic and transformative solutions for promoting human rights education, recognizing the positive impact of human rights education on learners, educators, the education system and society. This calls for moving away from ad-hoc and short-term projects towards adopting more sustainable initiatives across the five components identified in the Plan of Action of the first phase of the World Programme as follows:
(i.) Policies and legislation;
(ii.) Policy implementation measures;
(iii.) Teaching and learning processes and tools;
(iv.) Training and professional development of teachers and other educational personnel; and
(v.) The learning environment.
- Policies to support the integration of human rights education into the formal education system should be accompanied by implementation measures that include action plans with identified responsibilities, development of coordination mechanisms and allocation of resources.
- Human rights education for children should include child rights education, in line with State obligations under the Convention on the Rights of the Child. National education institutions should adopt child-centered programmes, further working with children, educators and parents to increase the understanding of human rights and specifically the respect of child rights; the adoption of whole-school interventions that further promote the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child constitutes a successful entry point for ensuring successful practices in integrating human rights across national curricula and teaching and learning practices.
- Human rights education should be made part of pre-service and in-service teacher training and teaching certification requirements. Such training should include not only human rights content but also teaching methodologies, social skills and leadership styles, should employ learner-centred and experiential training methodologies and be supported by networking and exchange programmes.
- Textbook and material reviews should be regularly undertaken to ensure that they are relevant to the realities of the students and their evolving contexts.
- Human rights education in higher education:
- Education institutions should ensure that human rights education in higher education moves away from exclusive lecture-based methodology and makes use of participatory methodologies that include critical analysis, knowledge and skills to support individual and collective action to further human rights.
- Dialogue in the educational community should be fostered, to share human rights education experiences and good methodological practices and strategies (including moot courts, case studies, etc.).
- Education institutions should establish or strengthen existing training, resource and other educational centres to promote the establishment or enhancement of sustainable human rights education programmes and ensure their quality; for instance, legal clinics can be strengthened to provide human rights education.
- Education institutions should undertake research contributing to the development of innovative and effective methodologies and tools for human rights education based also on the analysis and assessment of existing practices, lesson-learning and evaluation exercises, and widely disseminate research results.
- Education institutions should ensure human rights training for and professional development of teaching and other education personnel, including on appropriate methods for human rights education such as using participatory, interactive, cooperative and experience and practice-based methods, taking also into account cultural considerations and linking theory to practice.
- Education institutions should introduce to the students the relevant international human rights legal framework.
- Education institutions should establish special programmes to train students as specialists in human rights and human rights education.
- Governments should regularly allocate state budget for the development and publication of human rights and human rights education materials (both paper and electronic versions) as well as their translation to national and local languages.
- Non-formal human rights education for children and youth:
- Educators should employ varied and engaging educational methods and settings such as sport, film, arts, culture, games, storytelling, drama and role-playing, which can engage collaboratively learners of all backgrounds.
- Peer-to-peer learning should be encouraged – in safe spaces, soliciting input from youth participants and centring youth voices; featuring youth social movements, youth advocates and other leaders; supporting efforts of youth-led organizations, as they are especially placed to engage their peers in situations of exclusion or vulnerability and build upon young people’s diversity of experiences.
- Human rights education should address the actual challenges that children and youth face (shrinking of civic space, violence, conflict, discrimination) and take place in an enabling and safe environment for their learning.
- Parents and the community should also be involved in human rights education efforts for youth. Educators should build trust with them and ensure their support to human rights education activities.
- National strategies for human rights education for youth must be accompanied by measures to increase the protection and realization of young people’s human rights.
- "Nothing for us without us" - children and youth should participate as key actors in human rights education design and programming.
- Human rights training for legal professionals and administration of justice officials:
- Human rights training for legal professionals and administration of justice officials should be made mandatory. For instance, the successful completion of human rights education with appropriate certification should be considered as part of bar license examination process as well as one of prerequisites for candidates to judicial positions, prosecutors and law enforcement officials.
- The competence of legal professionals and administration of justice officials with regard to the application of international human rights law and jurisprudence in judicial and administrative proceedings should be enhanced by the relevant institutions; governments should support the development of specialised training programmes and curricula.
- Governments should promote training on women's human rights and gender equality for legal professionals and administration of justice officials, in order to eradicate patriarchal attitudes and discriminatory gender stereotyping in the exercise of their duties.
- A system of training of human rights trainers within national training institutions should be established or sustained, with incorporation of successful methodological approaches implemented in other countries and/or by international organizations.
- Governments should develop and use methodological guidelines to assess the impact of law enforcement training related to human rights issues in line with the best practices and international standards.
- Governments should ensure translation of international documents containing human rights standards into national languages and their wide dissemination among legal professionals, including through national training institutions and bar associations.
- Human rights training programmes should foresee, where relevant, training activities with the joint participation of representatives of civil society, national human rights institutions, legal practitioners, judges, prosecutors and law enforcement officials.
- Governments should, where appropriate, encourage and provide support for study visits, notably of parliamentarians, parliamentary legal advisers, judges, prosecutors, senior police officers, senior prison officers, government agents, representatives of national human rights institutions and legal professional associations to international organizations dealing with human rights matters and other countries to allow for a peer-to-peer exchange and learning of good practices.
- National training institutions or academies for legal professionals and administration of justice officials should have specialized departments and faculty staff on international law and human rights, and cooperate with international organizations, including the UN system, to incorporate international standards on independence of the judiciary, protection of human rights, gender equality, protection of women and child rights, and application of international standards in judicial practice.
- The curriculum, learning resources and textbooks of national training institutions or academies for legal professionals and administration of justice officials should be updated regularly with current individual human rights cases and concluding observations stemming from UN human rights mechanisms (Treaty Bodies, Special Rapporteurs and Universal Periodic Review).
- National training institutions or academies for legal professionals and administration of justice officials should involve both practitioners and academia in design and delivery of human rights courses by focusing on specific relevant human rights issues, adapting to the audience, and choosing the appropriate practical, interactive and flexible training methodology.
- Both digital and offline platforms and professional networks for legal professionals and administration of justice officials should be provided to ensure that they regularly discuss and exchange their learning experience, clarify and learn international standards, including human rights protection.
- Regular dialogue among legal professionals and administration of justice officials should be facilitated to ensure peer-to-peer cooperation, united efforts of all concerned stakeholders and have a more streamlined approach on practice-oriented, case-based and subject-specific teaching materials for all training institutions.
- Human rights education for other groups in society:
- Human rights education should be accessible to all, including groups in situations of vulnerability and exclusion, with priority for educators belonging to those groups who can reach out more easily to their peers.
- Among the groups to be prioritized for human rights education there should be:
- women and girls, including those in rural areas
- religious leaders, public figures and community leaders
- persons with disabilities
- refugees and stateless persons
- national minorities
- elderly people.
- Co-operation and multi-level partnership between state institutions and civil society organizations should be enhanced and based on international human rights standards on freedom of association.
- Government should provide, through annual contests, grants to civil society for their human rights education activities.
- Civil society actors, human rights defenders and activists should be made aware of the existing human rights education programmes and courses available online and free of charge, including those of international organizations (CoE HELP Programme, UN OHCHR and OSCE online resources, etc.).
- In order to make human rights education work more comprehensive and efficient, capacities of research centres and think tanks on a local level should be built.
- Human rights courses for various civil society groups should be tailored to the local context, diversified, inclusive and adaptive in their content.
- While developing human rights training courses for persons with disabilities, their special needs are to be addressed (sign language interpretation, printing of materials in Braille script, availability of modern tools and instruments for Persons with disabilities).
- Persons with disabilities should have access not only to basic but also advanced human rights education programmes.
- Regional and international levels
Regional and international organizations should provide assistance to national human rights education efforts. Recommendations to this end include:
- Support States in the development, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of national human rights education and training strategy;
- Support other national and local actors involved, in particular non-governmental organizations, professional associations, higher education institutions, national human rights institutions and other civil society organizations, including by providing recognition and legitimizing their human rights education work;
- Facilitate information-sharing at all levels by identifying, collecting and disseminating information on good practice, for example through databases and the awarding of prizes, as well as on available materials and relevant institutions and programmes;
- Support and/or develop capacity-building programmes for various audiences, particularly human rights training of educators, as well as the development of educational materials based on good practice as well as translations in various national languages;
- Support existing networks of human rights education and training actors and promote the creation of new ones, at all levels;
- Provide financial support and resources.
We, participants in the Global Forum on Human Rights Education, acknowledging the commitments of States and the role of civil society and regional and international organizations, are hereby conveying the Forum's recommendations to the President of Uzbekistan, the Secretary-General of the United Nations and other international organizations
Adopted in Samarkand, 6 December 2022