First cooperation on human rights education in Northeast and Southeast Asia

The regional meeting on human rights education offered a unique opportunity for human rights educators from both Southeast and Northeast Asia to share experiences.

Increased cooperation between Northeast and Southeast Asia: NCHR Director Inga Bostad and Dr. Sriprapha Petcharamesree from Mahidol University chairing the regional meeting. (photo: E. Bjørnstøl).

A regional meeting on human rights education took place in Bangkok this week during the SEAHRN 4th International Conference on Human Rights and Peace in Southeast Asia.

The regional meeting was jointly organized by Mahidol University and the China Programme at the Norwegian Centre for Human Rights. The Norwegian Centre for Human Rights has been involved in human rights education activities in Asia for almost 20 years.

First cooperation between Northeast and Southeast Asia on Human Rights Education

The regional conference aimed to encourage wider collaboration between human rights educators from all across Asia. Human rights academics from the region met for two days to discuss wider collaboration, networking and joint research initiatives.

When opening the conference, NCHR Director Inga Bostad said that the meeting offered a unique opportunity for educators from Southeast and Northeast Asia to share experiences for the first time. Regional academic cooperation on human rights education in South East Asia is already institutionalized, through SEAHRN and SHAPE-SEA, organised by Mahidol University. The Northeast Asia region lacks similar initiatives, so human rights educators from China, Japan, Mongolia, Taiwan, and South Korea benefited from learning about the SHAPE-SEA network. 

- I hope that this meeting will contribute to increased understanding of human rights education developments and human rights challenges in Asia and that we can learn from each other, Bostad said.

An important goal is to create stronger networking opportunities and to discuss closer cooperation on human rights education issues in the future in East Asia as well.

(photo: E. Bjørnstøl)

'Concerned minority louder than silent majority'

While acknowledging that contexts for human rights are different across the Asian countries, the meeting offered the chance to discuss how to confront the human rights problems facing educators in all countries. This included how education can best be promoted in a way that equips the next generation for handling human rights problems.

As human rights education is facing increasing challenges in the region, professor Sriprapha Percharamesree from Mahidol University remined the participants of the following:

- The voice of a concerned minority is louder than a silent majority.

Mahidol University, and particularly professor Petcharamesree, faciliated the meeting and provided the opportunity to organise the event during the conference on Human Rights and Peace in Southeast Asia. The meeting was supported by the three Nordic human rights institutions: the Swedish Raoul Wallenberg Institute (RWI), the Danish Centre for Human Rights (DIHR) and Norwegian Centre for Human Rights (NCHR).


What is human rights education?

The World Programme on Human Rights Education was initiated by the UN in 2004.

National action plans on human rights education have been launched in several countries.

The UN Declaration on Human Rights Education was adopted in 2011 by the UN.

Source: The UN

By Tone Magni F. Vestheim
Published Oct. 16, 2016 11:34 AM - Last modified Dec. 30, 2020 10:28 AM