We believe that higher education can promote human rights through teaching, learning, research, policies, and practices.
The human rights-based approach to education recognizes higher education actors as ‘duty bearers’ with obligations to abide by international human rights law and to adhere to and promote the human rights norms of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other human rights standards.
Principles of the human rights-based approach to higher education
- Universities and colleges provide a unique space to promote human rights education and should adopt a human rights based-approach that aligns with human rights values and principles, including non-discrimination, equality, transparency, accountability.
- Human rights based-approaches should be incorporated into all aspects of higher education, including teaching and learning, research, policies, programming, and culture and campus life.
- Universities and colleges, including but not limited to, students, faculty, staff, alumni, partners, and other stakeholders, are rights-holders and duty-bearers with obligations to abide by international human rights law and to adhere to and promote the human rights norms of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other human rights standards among themselves and the communities they impact.
Principles of human rights education in higher education
- The definition of human rights education as put forward in the UN Declaration on Human Rights Education and Training (UNDHRET) is the current guiding definition of HRE. The UNDHRET states that human rights education comprises “all educational, training, information, awareness-raising and learning activities aimed at promoting universal respect for and observance of all human rights and fundamental freedoms and thus contributing to, inter alia, the prevention of human rights violations and abuses by providing persons with knowledge, skills and understanding and developing their attitudes and behaviors, to empower them to contribute to the building and promotion of a universal culture of human rights.” (United Nations Human Rights Council 2011)
- Effective human rights education promotes human rights and human dignity, equality, and non-discrimination.
- Global, local, diverse, critical, emancipatory, and decolonizing perspectives are essential to human rights education.
- Human rights education builds capacities of individuals and communities to defend and promote human rights and should dismantle structural violence, including but not limited to ableism, anti-Semitism, classism, heteronormativity, Islamophobia, racism, sexism, and xenophobia.