10 times human rights defenders and activists around the world have reminded us how human rights education makes a difference in protecting people’s rights:
1. “Human rights education is much more than a lesson in schools or a topic for a day; it is a process to equip people with the tools they need to live lives of security and dignity. On this International Human Rights Day, let us continue to work together to develop and nurture a culture of human rights for future generations, to promote freedom, security and peace in all nations.”
Kofi Annan, former Secretary General of the United Nations, Nobel Peace Prize winner
2. “Where, after all, do universal human rights begin? In small places, close to home, so close and so small that they cannot be seen on any map of the world. However, they are the world of the individual person; the neighborhood in which he lives; the school or university you attend; the factory, farm or office where you work. Such are the places where every man, woman and child seeks equal justice, equal opportunity, equal dignity without discrimination. Unless these rights have meaning there, they have little meaning anywhere. Without concerned citizen action to keep them close to home, we will look in vain for progress in the greater world.”
Eleanor Roosevelt, American political leader and activist
3. “Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world.”
Nelson Mandela, South African civil rights activist
4. “It is necessary to provide intensive human rights education for all communities in order to overcome old prejudices”.
Ruth Manorama, Indian activist
5. “Human rights education is key to addressing the underlying causes of injustice around the world. The more people know about their rights and the rights of others in society, the better equipped they will be to protect them.”
Salil Shetty, Secretary General of Amnesty International
6. “The effects of human rights education can be dramatic in awakening people to the value and power of their own lives. […].”
Daisaku Ikeda, Japanese philosopher, activist, author, and educator
7. “Education…is the key to unlocking other human rights.”
Katarina Tomasevski, Croatia, UN Special Rapporteur
8. “Even in kindergarten, children must learn, and experience, the fundamental human rights values of respect, equality and justice. From an early age, human rights education must be infused into the entire curriculum of every school: in curricula and textbooks, policies, teacher training, pedagogical methods and the general learning environment. …. [Children] they can be guided by human rights education to make informed decisions in life, approach situations with critical and independent thinking and empathize with other points of view”.
Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights of Jordan
9. “Knowledge will give you the opportunity to make a difference.”
Claire Fagin, American nurse, educator, academic, and consultant
10. “Human rights education must involve more than the provision of information and must constitute a comprehensive lifelong process through which people at all levels of development and in all strata of society learn to respect the dignity of others and the means and methods of ensuring that respect in all societies.
UN General Assembly