What is the significance of Human Rights Education (HRE)?

To truly ensure the application of human rights in everyday life, efforts must also be made to raise public awareness and educate the general public about human rights. Human rights education was declared “essential for the promotion and achievement of stable and harmonious relations among communities, as well as for fostering mutual understanding, tolerance, and peace” by the World Conference on Human Rights in 1993.

Although the concept of Human Rights Education is widely used and implemented in formal, non-formal, and informal education, the focus of this source of information will be on human rights education development and implementation through non-formal education for young people.

Youth organizations and other youth sector actors who create and implement these types of programs are important actors in non-formal Human Rights Education. The Council of Europe and its bodies also play a significant role in supporting such efforts, particularly in Europe, by tirelessly developing new standards, methods, and practices for the implementation of human rights education. The Manual for Human Rights Education with Young People, also known as COMPASS, developed by the Council of Europe, is one of the most prominent resources for educators. In addition to it, the Council of Europe has developed a set of additional resources for human rights education.

Accelerated technological advancement caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in bringing about digitalization in almost all aspects of our lives, including Human Rights Education. However, not all educators and practitioners were prepared to design and deliver HRE online, and many assumed that simply “copy-pasting” in-person methods online would bring about the same results, which did not really happen.

On a yearly basis, the youth sector provides Human Rights Education to tens of thousands of young people, and to ensure that this is done meaningfully, it requires ongoing investments in developing new resources and increasing the capacity of educators and trainers.