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Europe's largest human rights conference focuses on education

Warsaw, 10 October 2008 -- Government representatives, experts and human rights defenders from 56 countries gathered in Warsaw from 29 September-10 October for the Europe's largest human rights and democracy conference. The two-week Human Dimension Implementation Meeting reviewed the progress made by states that participate in the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) in fulfilling their human rights and democracy commitments. The meeting was organised by the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR)."What makes this conference unique is the participation of representatives of civil society, including NGOs, and the possibility for them to exchange views with governments on an equal footing," said Toralv Nordbo, ODIHR Deputy Director.

The Human Dimension Implementation Meeting, Europe's largest human rights and democracy conference, opened on 29 September 2008. (OSCE/Agnieszka Rembowska)HREA's Director Felisa Tibbitts moderated the working sessions on education and awareness-raising in the promotion of human rights. In her introductory comments Ms. Tibbitts emphasised the importance of five factors for successfully carrying out systemic national programming in schools, including: clarity of purpose, inducements/incentives for carrying out human rights education, resources, adequate teacher preparation and accountability. She also highlighted some of the lessons learned from the November 2007 Regional European meeting on the World Programme for Human Rights Education, which took place at the Council of Europe in cooperation with ODIHR/OSCE, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, and UNESCO.

Over thirty representatives from government, national human rights institutions, international governmental organisations and NGOs shared successes and challenges in carrying out human rights education and training. Partnerships between state and non-state actors at all levels were identified as one of the key factors for successful programming. All participants confirmed the importance of carrying out human rights education as part of national efforts to promote, protect and fulfill human rights in their national environments. The full report from the working sessions on education and awareness-raising will soon be available at ODIHR website.




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