Samarkand, located at the crossroads of the Great Silk Road, has again become a place where global initiatives are being implemented. So, in this ancient city, the Global Forum “Human Rights Education” was held. The initiative to hold this prestigious international forum was put forward by the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan at the 76th session of the UN General Assembly and the 46th session of the UN Human Rights Council.
In total, over 120 international experts took part in the Global Forum, including high-ranking officials, specialists in human rights education from more than 30 countries of the world, representatives of government bodies, about 15 international and regional organizations, specialized educational institutions, non-governmental non-profit organizations and other institutions of civil society.
The UN-sponsored Global Forum was held in a hybrid format, which allowed experts in this field from all over the world to participate virtually in discussion sessions. We talked about the goals and objectives of this prestigious international event with the director of the National Human Rights Center of the Republic of Uzbekistan Akmal SAIDOV.
– What does human rights education provide?
– The head of state has repeatedly stressed that we must continue to work closely with the members of the UN Human Rights Council and all our partners in order to promote the United Nations initiative “Call to Action for Human Rights”.
In recent years, many initiatives put forward by President Shavkat Mirziyoyev to ensure human rights and freedoms have been implemented. For example, during the 48th session of the UN Human Rights Council, a Resolution was adopted on the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic for the rights of young people.
In addition, today the National Strategy of the Republic of Uzbekistan on Human Rights is being consistently implemented in our country. After all, ensuring the rights and freedoms of citizens, the implementation of international human rights standards in national legislation and law enforcement practice have become the main criteria for democratic reforms aimed at creating favorable and decent living conditions for people.
Back to the question. Human rights education is fundamental to promoting universal respect and universal observance of human rights.
Article 26 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights defines: every person has the right to education, which should be aimed at the full development of the human personality and increasing respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms.
The goal of human rights education is to create a world where everyone’s rights are respected, rights and obligations are understood, violations of them are recognized and actions are taken to protect them.
Education should promote understanding, tolerance and friendship among all peoples, racial and religious groups, and the peacekeeping activities of the United Nations.
As early as 1993, at the World Conference on Human Rights in Vienna, it was stated that human rights education is essential for the development and achievement of sustainable and harmonious relations between countries and for the promotion of mutual understanding, tolerance and peace. And in 1994, the UN General Assembly proclaimed the period from 1995 to 2004 as the United Nations Decade for Human Rights Education and called on all states to promote education, dissemination and information in order to create a universal culture.
In 2011, the United Nations adopted the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Education and Training, which states that everyone has the right to know, seek and receive information about all human rights and fundamental freedoms and to have access to education and training in the field of human rights.
The Declaration also notes that human rights education and training are essential to the promotion of universal respect for and observance of the human rights and fundamental freedoms of all persons, in accordance with the principles of the universality, indivisibility and interdependence of human rights.
Provisions relating to human rights education are also included in many international instruments, including the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the conventions on the rights of the child and on the elimination of all forms of discrimination against women, the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial discrimination.
Human rights education includes three aspects:
first, gaining knowledge about human rights: what they are, how they are guaranteed or protected;
secondly, teaching and education through human rights, recognizing that the context and mode of human rights education must be organized and aligned with human rights values (e.g. participation, freedom of thought and expression, and so on), and that in human rights education, the process of learning is as important as its content;
thirdly, teaching and educating by developing people’s skills and attitudes to enable them to apply the values of human rights in their lives and, alone or together with others, to take action to promote and protect human rights.
As UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Türk noted, human rights are the common language of humanity. We need a system of human rights that resonates with everyone’s voice. In everything that concerns human rights, we must act as a united front.
– The Global Forum is dedicated to the tenth anniversary of the UN Declaration on Education and Training in Human Rights. What is meant by the implementation of this document?
– The Declaration makes UN member states responsible for providing education and training for human rights. So, according to the Declaration:
first, every individual and member of society must promote respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms through education and training;
secondly, everyone has the right to education, which should be aimed at the comprehensive development of the human personality, self-esteem, and also so that all people can become useful participants in a free society, the development of mutual understanding, tolerance and friendship among all nationalities, racial, ethnic or religious groups;
thirdly, human rights education serves to enhance the culture of human rights, which involves the awareness of rights and freedoms and their active use, compliance with obligations in order to build a democratic society;
fourthly, human rights education is fundamental to promoting respect for human rights by all and ensuring their full observance;
fifthly, human rights education plays an important role in ensuring the full participation of people in all decision-making processes that affect their lives in personal, political, economic, social, cultural and environmental aspects, as well as in the prevention of violations and conflicts.
Simply put, human rights education is a vital process that involves all people, especially young people. The UN Declaration on Human Rights Education and Training aims to realize these noble goals on a global scale.
– Proposals for the fifth phase of the World Program for Human Rights Education were discussed at the Global Forum. Tell us more about it.
– The World Program for Human Rights Education is an ongoing initiative. To help this process reach all areas of life, it is critical that countries implement human rights education in primary and secondary schools, universities, teachers and activists, the civil service, law enforcement and the military, and the media.
The World Program is a useful tool to help strengthen the implementation of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Education and Training at the national level.
The World Program for Human Rights Education was developed in 2004. In the first phase (2005-2009), the main focus is on human rights education in primary and secondary education institutions; the second (2010-2014) focused on the higher education system and the conduct of human rights training programs among teachers and educators, civil servants, law enforcement officers and military personnel at all levels; on the third (2015-2019) – to representatives of the media.
From 2020 to 2024, the fourth phase is being implemented, which focuses on youth. Thus, the following tasks are provided:
– teaching and educating young people in the spirit of equality, respect for human rights and non-discrimination, which allows creating an inclusive and peaceful society;
– paying special attention to women and children in accordance with the principle of “leaving no one behind” of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, organizing human rights education for teachers working with the teaching staff;
– conducting relevant research, evaluation and exchange of best practices in the field of human rights education.
The resolution of the UN Human Rights Council dated October 6, 2022 noted the positive initiatives of various parties during the fourth stage, and made recommendations to intensify the implementation of the stages of the World Education Program in all areas.
This resolution raised the issue of formulating proposals for the fifth stage of the World Program for Human Rights Education. The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights is recommended to seek the views of all UN structures, states, civil society institutions and stakeholders on this topic.
This task was set as one of the main and before the participants of the Global Forum “Human Rights Education” in Uzbekistan. This reflects the relevance of the event, which addressed issues of global significance, important for all mankind, the further global development of education in the field of human rights.
– How does Uzbekistan participate in the implementation of international documents related to human rights education?
– It is worth noting that a lot of work has been done in the field of human rights in New Uzbekistan, including the improvement of education in this direction.
Education in the field of human rights is one of the priority directions of the state policy in Uzbekistan for the formation of a culture of human rights.
The President of the Republic of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev put forward initiatives aimed at comprehensively ensuring the rights, freedoms and legitimate interests of a person. On their basis, six resolutions of the United Nations General Assembly have already been adopted.
For the first time in the history of national statehood, the Republic of Uzbekistan was elected to the UN Human Rights Council, which means an expression of high recognition from the world community and support for the implementation of the new foreign policy of our country, including in the field of further comprehensive development of cooperation with international organizations and foreign countries.
The head of our state emphasized: “We are all deeply aware that ensuring human rights is a continuous process. This is evidenced by world history and the experience of democratic states.”
In accordance with the decree of the President dated June 7, 2021, the National Commission for the implementation of the fourth stage of the World Program for Human Rights Education in the Republic of Uzbekistan was established in the Republic of Uzbekistan, which consists of representatives of the Senate of the Oliy Majlis, the ministries of foreign affairs, justice, higher and secondary specialized education , public education, the Agency for Youth Affairs, the Ombudsman, the Council of the Federation of Trade Unions, non-governmental non-profit organizations, the media, as well as the leaders of the regions. The goal is to raise awareness of the norms and principles of universal protection of human rights, international guarantees for the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms, as well as the effectiveness of work in this direction.
At the same time, with the participation of members of the National Commission, a draft National Program for Human Rights Education was developed. In preparing it, we relied on the norms and standards of international agreements, the recommendations of the UN bodies responsible for human rights, as well as on the historical, national and cultural values of our society.
Having proclaimed the principle of the primacy of international law in the Constitution, Uzbekistan acceded to many international conventions aimed at securing and protecting human rights and freedoms (including various categories of citizens – women, children, persons with disabilities), and assumed obligations to create the necessary organizational and legal conditions for the promotion and protection of human rights and freedoms in their territory.
New Uzbekistan implements its human rights policy based on the following principles:
– adherence to generally recognized ideas and values of human rights, as well as to its international obligations;
– the policy of the state in the field of human rights follows from the priority national interests, which are based on the formation of legal statehood and a strong civil society;
– the principle of balance of interests of the individual, society and the state, fixed in the Constitution of the Republic of Uzbekistan;
– the evolutionary nature of the ongoing political and socio-economic reforms;
– openness and transparency, since Uzbekistan is ready to discuss and solve problems in this area in dialogue with all structures of civil society and with international partners.
Within the framework of the National Strategy of the Republic of Uzbekistan on Human Rights, the task of introducing training courses on human rights for higher educational institutions has been defined. Work in this direction continues consistently.
Uzbekistan is actively participating in the campaign for the World Program for Human Rights Education, the implementation of the provisions of the UN Declaration on Education and Training in Human Rights. In close cooperation with international partners, more than 120 basic international legal documents on human rights have been translated into the state language and published in large editions.
Issues of observance and protection of civil and political rights, international documents and national legislation are included in the curricula of educational institutions of general secondary, secondary specialized, vocational and higher education, advanced training systems for pedagogical, medical and social workers, journalists, judges, law enforcement officers and lawyers.
A landmark event was the creation of a consortium of law schools in the country with the aim of opening a master’s program in human rights. It included the Academy of the General Prosecutor’s Office of the Republic of Uzbekistan, the National Human Rights Center, the Tashkent State Law University, the University of World Economy and Diplomacy.
To encourage active representatives of civil society institutions, state bodies and organizations, by a decree of the Cabinet of Ministers of the Republic of Uzbekistan, the badge “Inson huquqlari himoyashi uchun” (“For the protection of human rights”) was established, which is awarded annually on December 10 – on International Human Rights Day – for merits in the field of human rights protection.
– What are the main goals and current tasks of the Global Forum?
– The main goal of the Samarkand Global Forum is to sum up the intermediate results of the implementation of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Education and Training and the UN World Program for Human Rights Education, as well as to organize the presentation of best practices, best practices and innovative approaches in this area, exchange of views and developing recommendations for improving human rights education and training at the international, regional and national levels.
The experts were given a number of tasks, including:
– discuss international, regional and national experience and approaches in the human rights education system related to the implementation of the provisions of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Education and Training;
– to study the contribution of human rights education to solving urgent problems, in particular, to the prevention of discrimination, violence and extremism;
– analyze data on the implementation of education and upbringing in the field of human rights at the national level in recent years, prepare proposals on them;
– ensure the exchange of information (by identifying, collecting and disseminating) on international, regional and national best practices, as well as on existing materials, institutions and programs;
– based on the requirements of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Education and Training and the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, it is planned to achieve exemplary results in further promoting the implementation of human rights education at the national level in the coming years.
– Tell us about the results of the Global Forum “Human Rights Education”.
– The main national organizer of the forum is the National Human Rights Center of the Republic of Uzbekistan. The Samarkand Conference is organized in cooperation with our international and foreign partners, such as the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, the Regional Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights for Central Asia, the UN team in our country, the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, the Office of the Coordinator OSCE projects in Uzbekistan and the Friedrich Ebert Foundation.
At the end of the Global Forum:
– summed up the results of the implementation of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Education and Training and the World Program for Human Rights Education;
– analyzed the scope of application of existing international and regional documents and approaches in the field of education;
– the main tasks for the implementation of the World Program for Human Rights Education have been identified;
– specific proposals for the fifth stage of the World Program for Human Rights Education have been developed;
– educational programs and recommendations have been revised taking into account post-pandemic trends.
On the final day of the forum, based on the proposals of the participants, the Samarkand Action Plan for 2023-2025 for the development of human rights education was adopted.
As part of the Global Forum, master classes on human rights education were also held, which were held in offline and online formats based on international best practices. Interesting lectures and debates with eminent professors invited from different universities of the world, in turn, created a comfortable space for a lively dialogue and practical question and answer sessions.
More than 6,500 professors and teachers from more than 20 higher educational institutions and research institutions operating in all regions of the country, students and graduate students, young scientists involved in scientific activities took part in the master classes. Also, students of 14 law colleges of the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Uzbekistan took an active part in the educational and legal event.
In addition, within the framework of the Global Forum, six compatriots, two foreign citizens and two NGOs were awarded with badges “Inson huquqlari himoyashi uchun”.
In general, the results of the implementation of human rights education will serve to raise awareness of citizens in this area. People should know and defend their rights and be sure that they will be protected, be able to identify specific violations of human rights.
Human rights education contributes to the acquisition of skills and abilities to fight and defend one’s rights, as well as to the realization that rights and freedoms are the highest value of humanity.