Launches agreement on human rights education in Southeast Asia

The aim is to improve human rights education in the whole region of Southeast Asia through a new cooperation between NCHR and SHAPE SEA. 

Strengthening human rights education: Director of NCHR Inga Bostad and Vicepresident of Mahidol University Professor Banchong Mahaisavariya sign the agreement on human rights education and research in Southeast Asia (photo: T. Vestheim)

The new agreement involves 47 universities in 11 countries in Southeast Asia. The cooperation between NCHR and Southeast Asian Human Rights Network (SHAPE SEA) was launched during the Forth International Conference on Human rights in South East Asia in Bangkok this week.

The aim is to improve human rights of peoples in Southeast Asia through education and applied research.

Fixing goals for human rights education

This long-term agreement is a product of years of discussions and preparations. It is a result of good cooperation between NCHR, Mahidol and SHAPE SEA.

The specific objectives regarding human rights education in the region are the following:

  1. To increase by 50% the availability of human rights and peace education/teaching resources of university and graduate students in Southeast Asia. 
  2. To increase by 50% the number of qualified academics teaching human rights and peace at Southeast Asian universities by 2019
  3. To increase by 50% the number of universities supporting and ‚Ä®delivering a common regional human rights and peace curriculum/ programs in Southeast Asia. 

Crucial timing

Inga Bostad, director of the NCHR, emphasized the timing of the agreement during the launch.

- These are challenging times for human rights democracy and the rule of law not only in Southeast Asia, but globally, Bostad said.

Nationalism and traditional values color discussions on human rights and governance not only in Southeast Asia, but globally.

- In our discourse in the Western countries, we have diagnosed our society as a post factual society. This condition marginalizes academia through rhetoric that appeals to the emotional rather than the rational. The US election, Brexit, migration, climate skeptics, terrorism, are some examples of issues and debates induced by fear and hatred, Bostad said.

Global fellowship

- This agreement underscores a global fellowship in human rights work. We are in this together, Bostad said.

She also highlighted that the context SHAPE SEA represents constitutes a cherished and valuable meeting place for NCHR students and researchers.

By Tone Magni F. Vestheim
Published Oct. 14, 2016 5:45 AM - Last modified Dec. 8, 2016 5:26 PM