2. States are encouraged to include in their reports to relevant human rights mechanisms, as appropriate, information on measures taken in the field of human rights education and training. The recommendation was reinforced by the Second Council of Europe Summit (1997), when the Heads of State or Government of the member states decided to “launch an initiative on education for democratic citizenship in order to raise citizens` awareness of their rights and duties in a democratic society”. The subsequent project “Education for Democratic Citizenship” played an important role in promoting and supporting the inclusion of education for democratic citizenship and human rights education in school systems. The creation of the Human Rights Education Programme for young people, as well as the publication and translation of Compass and later Compasito, have also contributed to the recognition of human rights education, particularly through non-formal education and youth work. 3. Human rights education and training should use languages and methods adapted to the target groups and take into account their specific needs and conditions. Human rights education and training should be based on the principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and relevant treaties and instruments in order to: Since then, the right to education has been widely recognized and developed by a number of international standard-setting instruments developed by the United Nations, including the International Economic Pact. Social and cultural rights, the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the UNESCO Convention against Discrimination in Education. (b) Persons with disabilities have equal access to inclusive, free and quality primary and secondary education on an equal footing with other members of the communities in which they live; (1) International cooperation at all levels should support and strengthen national efforts, including, where appropriate, at the local level, to implement human rights education and training. 4. In order to contribute to the realization of this right, States Parties shall take appropriate measures to recruit teachers, including teachers with disabilities, qualified in sign language and/or Braille, and to train professionals and personnel working at all levels of education. This training shall include awareness-raising of persons with disabilities and the use of complementary and alternative means, means and formats of communication, educational techniques and appropriate materials to assist persons with disabilities.
On the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the Council of Europe in 2009, a youth forum on human rights education – learning, living, acting for human rights – brought together more than 250 participants in the European Youth Centres in Budapest and Strasbourg. The Forum participants sent a message to the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe. The message highlights the principles and needs of HRE in Europe by: Considering that, therefore, while respecting the diversity of national education systems, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization has the duty not only to prohibit all forms of discrimination in education, but also to promote equality of opportunity and treatment for all in education, 1States should, at the appropriate level, develop strategies and policies and, where appropriate, action plans and programmes for the implementation of human rights education and training, or promote their development, for example by integrating them into school and training curricula. In doing so, they should take into account the World Programme for Human Rights Education and specific national and local needs and priorities. Governments and NGOs tend to view HRE in terms of outcomes in terms of desired rights and freedoms, while education specialists, in comparison, tend to focus more on values, principles and moral choices. Betty Reardon states in Educating for Human Dignity, 1995: “The framework of human rights education is conceived as social education based on principles and standards […] cultivate the ability to make moral choices, to take principled positions on issues – in other words, to develop moral and intellectual integrity”.4 HRE trainers, facilitators, teachers and other practitioners working directly with young people tend to think in terms of skills and methods. The promotion of the right to human rights education in the Council of Europe is therefore cross-sectoral and multidisciplinary. The Council of Europe liaises and coordinates its work in the field of HRE with other international organisations, including UNESCO, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, the OSCE (Organisation for Co-operation and Security in Europe) and the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights.
He also served as Regional Coordinator of the United Nations World Programme for Human Rights Education. The role of young people, youth organisations and youth policy in promoting the right to human rights education is also clearly defined in the Council of Europe`s priorities for youth policy, one of which is human rights and democracy, which is implemented with particular emphasis on: (c) ensure that the education of persons, and in particular of children who are blind, deaf or deafblind, is provided in the languages most appropriate to the individual; and In this context, it is important to stress the importance of the role of the social partners in the development of the European Union`s communication tools and in an environment that maximises academic and social development. Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR, 1966) guarantees freedom of thought, conscience and religion in education and recognizes the freedom of parents to ensure the religious and moral education of their children in accordance with their own convictions. The role of human rights education in the protection and promotion of human rights in the Council of Europe was further strengthened in 1999 with the creation of the post of Commissioner for Human Rights. The Commissioner is responsible for “promoting human rights education and awareness-raising”, assisting member States in implementing human rights standards, identifying possible gaps in legislation and practice and providing advice on the protection of human rights throughout Europe.