Monday, August 31, 2015

The global human rights education project: a Trojan horse

Protesters under Trojan Horse
The “global human rights education project” is a collective term for a worldwide rights-advocacy campaign through both formal and non-formal education channels. Amnesty International (AI), a major actor in human rights education (HRE), describes HRE on its website ) as  “a deliberate, participatory practice aimed at empowering individuals, groups and communities through fostering knowledge, skills and attitudes consistent with internationally recognized human rights principles.”

Sounds innocuous – laudable, even – until one takes a long, hard look at how it defines and applies those ‘principles’.

The legal basis for “universal” human rights is fragmented and weak. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and the UN Declaration on Human Rights Education and Training, being UN General Assembly resolutions, have no legal force. Most international human rights treaties are toothless tigers. The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights is non-judiciable. The Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women is hamstrung by the numerous reservations nation-states entered (those who signed up at all).

This list can be added to at leisure. Unless incorporated into domestic law, “universal” human rights are more in the realm of whims than hard law.

HRE crusaders nonetheless doggedly pursue their global agenda.  (more...)

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