Briefing Notes on Human Rights Education

This ‘Briefing Notes’ have been prepared to serve as an introductory orientation and awareness raising material targeting members of the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission as well as sections of the general public. It is intended to introduce the conception and recognition of human rights education in the international and national human rights systems and the activities of the Commission in this important area forming part of its core mandate. Alas, it was never used (the fault being totally and wholly mine). Hopefully, someone could make some use of it.

Human Rights Education under the International Human Rights System

Human rights education has been recognized as an essential component of the international human rights system. The first such recognition in what has come to be called the modern international human rights system in the post WWII era is to be found in the Charter of the United Nations [1945] which called for cooperation "in promoting and encouraging respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms." This provision of the Charter is widely recognized as creating state responsibilities for educating and teaching human rights. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted by the General Assembly in 1948, which proclaimed human rights as "a common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations," also directed states as well as "every individual and every organ of society...."to "strive by teaching and education to promote respect for these rights and freedoms....". The UDHR further stressed "strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms...." as one of the goals of education (Article 26, Section 2).

The dual aspects of human rights education were formalized into the international human rights framework through the provisions of the international covenants developed by the U.N. and coming into effect in 1976 to formalize the basis in international law of the rights declared in 1948. The Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights placed the educational objective of strengthening respect for human rights in a cluster of related learning objectives. For example, Article 13 of the Covenant says that "education shall be directed to the "full development of the human personality" and to the person's own "sense of dignity...."(Section 1). The Covenant also says the State Parties:

further agree that education shall enable all persons to participate effectively in a free society, promote understanding, tolerance and friendship among all nations and all racial, ethnic or religious groups, and further the activities of the United Nations for the maintenance of peace." (Article 13, Section 1)

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Access to Justice under the International Human Rights Framework

This is a follow up on the post ‘Conceptions of Access to Justice’. It seeks to outline the international human rights framework on ‘the right to access to justice’ and briefly set out a monitoring framework capable of measuring the extent to which the right has been realized in a given national jurisdiction. Hopefully, this would lay the basis for consideration of the state of access to justice in the Ethiopian context in upcoming posts.

1 Introduction

Access to justice is a right recognized under the major international and regional human rights instruments including: the Charter of the United Nations, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR), the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) and the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (ACRWC). The core instruments on the issue, the UDHR and the ICCPR, state that everyone has ‘the right to effective remedy against violations of fundamental rights’.

2 Recognition of the Right

The UDHR states that:

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Civil Society under the Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP)

The GTP has recognized the contributions of the Ethiopian civil society sector to date and provided for their role in the development planning period covered by the document. Generally, such recognition relates to resource mobilization, implementation of social sector programmes, capacity building and good governance, and cross-cutting sectors (especially women’s and children’s affairs, youth development and social welfare).

A) Financing

The implementation of the GTP requires substantive domestic and external resources to finance the anticipated budget deficit. The contributions of NGOs in addressing the financing gap has been anticipated by the GTP based on experience during the SDPRP and PASDEP periods. In describing the role of the private sector and the public, the GTP states: (GTP, p 44)

 Accordingly, in the next five years, the private sector, the public and non-government organizations are expected to play a more active role and thereby significantly contribute to the success of the GTP. The contribution … is therefore included as one critical element of the country’s overall capacity to finance the GTP.”

 The perceived “good relationship between the government and development partners” (GTP, p. 122) has also been identified among the opportunities in mobilizing the financial resources for the implementation of the GTP. Conversely, the government is committed to strengthening the “contributions of local and international NGOs and CBOs in the implementation of the development plan” risks pertaining to the mobilization of external resources. (GTP, p. 123)

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