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High Level Discussion on the UN Declaration on Human Rights Education and Training
March 2, 2010

Human Rights Council – Archive Photo

Statement by the Delegation of the United States of America
Delivered by Mark Cassayre, Political Counselor
Human Rights Council 13th Session

Geneva, March 2, 2010

Thank you, Mr. President.

The United States welcomes the participation of the high level officials in this panel, and we thank the member delegations of the platform for their work in organizing this session and their leadership on this issue. We particularly appreciate the Platform’s open cross-regional approach. We also thank the drafting group of the Advisory Council and in particular its chairman, Emmanuel Decaux, for their work in producing the draft declaration Although the United States does not have a national curriculum, the United States strongly values human rights education and training and believes it to be an invaluable tool for the advancement of human rights.

As the draft declaration expresses, human rights education and training is intimately connected to the effective enjoyment of human rights. Without an understanding of their human rights, people are unable to effectively exercise them. Promoting human rights education is thus an excellent tool for the promotion of human rights. Training of police, judges, military personnel, and law enforcement personnel can help prevent and reduce violations. Human rights education can also cultivate respect for the human rights of all individuals without distinctions based on race, sex, language, religion or other factors.

The United States is interested in the purpose of the draft declaration, and we would like to engage with our fellow member states to produce a declaration aimed specifically at promoting best practices for the furthering of human rights education and training. It should address the ways that member states, the United Nations and its agencies, civil society, and the private sector can promote dissemination of human rights information. We hope that a draft declaration will be supportive of country-specific education laws and plans and shy away from prescribing a single approach or curriculum, which may not be effective in all settings. Simultaneously, we should work to assure that people can fully benefit from human rights education and training by providing the opportunity to attend school and develop a set of skills.

We also feel that it is important that a draft declaration focus on the complementary role of human rights education to fully realize the full panoply of human rights, including the right to education, as outlined in Article 26 of the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights, and not focus on establishing human rights education and training as a new and separate right. It is especially important that the draft declaration complements other United Nations programs and initiatives to promote the right to education and increase education opportunities for all.