Marrakech seminar on the draft Declaration on Human Rights Education and Training
Received by e-mail:
From: Felisa Tibbitts
Dear Colleagues, I would like to provide a brief update on the expert seminar on the draft UN declaration on human rights education and training, which took place in Marrakech (Morocco) on 16-17 July 2009. This seminar was organised by the Platform for Human Rights Education and Training in the Human Rights Council, which is comprised of six governments – Costa Rica, Italy, Morocco, Philippines, Slovenia and Switzerland. Those selected and invited (approximately 80 persons) included member states, members of the Drafting Group of the Advisory Committee of the Human Rights Council, specific Special Rapporteurs and members of human rights treaty bodies, and representations of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, UN agencies, regional and international organisations, academics, national human rights institutions and NGOs.
The seminar was intended to gather possible elements for the draft declaration in order to assist the work of the Advisory Committee. Seminar sessions were organized in relation to possible sections of the draft declaration: principles and general vision of the declaration; responsibility of States; the role of different stakeholders; and the role of the UN system and human rights mechanisms. The inputs and discussions collectively reaffirmed the necessity of having a declaration on human rights education and training as complementary to the World Programme on Human Rights Education and in order to further induce States to carry out such programming. At the same time, many details of the declaration will need to be determined and it will be important to see how specific the declaration will be in relation to specifying the responsibilities of States in carrying out human rights education and training, the roles of other stakeholders, approaches to be emphasized, and how the declaration guidelines might link up with other UN treaty bodies and human rights mechanisms.
The government of Morocco established a section of their website for the seminar, which currrently includes an information note on the seminar, a background paper, agenda and the opening statements that were made by government officials and dignitaries in the official opening.
We are informed that the website will eventually include speeches of all presenters. The government of Morocco provided an excellent venue for discussion among participants and was warmly thanked for their support and good will.
HREA made a presentation on the “Role of NGOs” in the workshop “Role of Other Stakeholders in a Declaration on Human Rights Education and Training.” This presentation can be found on this HREA website.
The main body of the presentation was devoted to the declaration-related substance of the written statement on human rights education and training, which was submitted to the Human Rights Council this past March. Many Global HRE listserv members were signatories to this written statement.
Listserv members may be interested to know that the Advisory Committee will be submitting a draft declaration to the Human Rights Council in their upcoming March 2010 meeting. For those listserv members who have consultative status with the United Nations, there will be regular opportunities to present input in written and oral form. For information about these opportunities, see the Human Rights Council Advisory Committee.