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HREA organises conference on impact of UN Decade for Human Rights Education in Europe

Amsterdam, 7 December 2004 -- On 3 and 4 December, HREA organised a conference on the impact of the UN Decade for Human Rights Education in Europe. At the conference, which was part of the activities of the "Democracy and Human Rights Education in Europe" (DARE) Network, participants from over 30 European countries took stock of the accomplishments during the Decade (1995-2004) and identified challenges and possibilities for human rights education for the coming years.

Fifty educators from all over Europe met in Soesterberg (the Netherlands). In addition to representatives of DARE member organisations, participants included HRE staff from Amnesty International-Netherlands, Amnesty International-Norway, Canadian Human Rights Foundation, Flensburg University, Humboldt University, IDEA, NGO Training and Research Centre-Bilgi University, UNESCO HRE Chair-University of Magdeburg, and the University of Nijmegen. It was an opportunity to discuss achievements and challenges to human rights education (HRE) in Europe over the last decade, share successful approaches and learning models, review regional and Europe-wide HRE policies and strategies to strengthen HRE in Europe. Panel workshops were held around HRE in elementary and secondary schools, HRE in higher education, teacher training and training of trainers, training of professional groups, HRE and youth, and HRE and dramatic expression.

The panel discussions, workshops and various small group and plenary discussions made clear how much has been achieved over the past ten years - in the areas of curricular frameworks, materials and text development, training models, the expanding number of human rights programmes (undergraduate and graduate) at European universities, and greater awareness of HRE amongst both educators and policy makers as well as the general public. Despite the growth and success of HRE, however, the national and local context and conditions that human rights educators work in continue to vary tremendously across Europe.

Some of the main recommendations by conference participants for included:

- strengthening coordination of activities in the field of HRE
- lobbying for and monitoring of (at both European and national level) implementation of existing HRE commitments, policies and regulatory frameworks
- focusing more resources on training professional groups (e.g. police)
- fostering the establishment of European pre-service teacher training initiatives dedicated to HRE.

The proceedings of the conference will form the basis for a publication about HRE in Europe during the UN Decade (1995-2004), which will be published by HREA in 2005.




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