The Future of Human Rights Education

  • Thu 10 - Fri 11 Dec 20


  • Online


  • Event type

    Workshops, training and support

  • Event organiser

    Human Rights Centre

  • Contact details

    Law and Human Rights Events and Communications Team

Please join us for a two day webinar workshop hosted by the Human Rights Centre at the University of Essex.

The field of human rights education is wide and is conducted in a range of different settings, formal and informal, at many different levels. All human rights educators and students of human rights have an interest in human rights education. The critical importance of human rights education as a conduit for human rights and in securing global peace was first recognised in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948).

The World Conference on Human Rights (Vienna, 1993), reaffirmed obligations on states to provide education that strengthens human rights and fundamental freedoms, and emphasised the importance of human rights education programmes in promoting tolerance and friendly relations between states, as well as racial and religious groups. Indeed, the UN Decade on Human Rights Education from 1995 to 2004, and an associated UN resolution stipulated that human rights education involves more than just the transmission of information, but is a lifelong process by which people ‘learn respect for the dignity of others and the means and methods of ensuring that respect in all societies.’

Several other initiatives for human rights education followed, such as the establishment of the World Programme for Human Rights Education in 2005 (2005-ongoing), culminating in the adoption of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Education and Training in 2011.

The Human Rights Centre’s Future of Human Rights Education event gives educators, students, and activists a unique opportunity to reflect on the meaning of human rights education. The first panel of the Future of Human Rights Education event will feature the Human Rights Centre Clinic and the Digital Verification Unit, where through social justice projects students develop their professionalism for human rights advocacy and work in the field.

An underexplored element of human rights education, ‘education through human rights, which includes learning and teaching in a way that respects the rights of both educators and learners,’ will be discussed in the second panel led by the UNESCO Chair in Human Rights in Higher Education, Felisa Tibbitts. This panel will raise the question of how human rights educators incorporate human rights principles and values, such as equality and non-discrimination into the classroom? How do asymmetries of power in human rights learning environments affect participation? The panel will examine human rights education as a pedagogy that can build more inclusive and peaceful societies.

The final panel takes feedback from Essex alumni who are established human rights practitioners. It is important to note changes both in the human rights employment landscape and the requisite skillsets required of graduates – changes that may have commenced before 2020, but have been expedited by the coronavirus pandemic. Students and educators alike will be keen to know what is on the horizon for human rights education and how can we be best equipped to defend human rights into the future? How can human rights education contribute to a politics of hope into the 21st century?

Thursday 10 December 2020
Panel One: Human Rights Education for Human Rights

11.00am to 12.30pm – UK GMT


Dr Patricia Palacios-Zuloaga and Dr Koldo Casla, Human Rights Centre Clinic, University of Essex

Dr Daragh MurrayDigital Verification Unit, University of Essex; Student training in the verification of digital information of human rights abuses

Thursday 10 December 2020
Panel Two: Human Rights Education through Human Rights

2.30pm to 4.00pm – UK GMT


Professor Felisa Tibbitts (UNESCO Chair Human Rights Education in Higher Education, Chair in Human Rights Education in the Department of Law, Economics and Governance at Utrecht University and a Lecturer in the International Education Development Program at Teachers College, Columbia University)

Dr Aoife Duffy, Co-Deputy Director Human Rights Centre, University of Essex

Dr Carlos Gigoux-Gramegna, Deputy Director Centre for Migration Studies, University of Essex

Friday 11 December 2020
Panel Three: Future Directions for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights

4.00pm to 5.30pm – UK GMT

Chair; Dr Andrew Fagan, Director of the Human Rights Centre, University of Essex.

Essex Alumni panel

Professor Sandy Liebenberg - H.F. Oppenheimer Chair in Human Rights Law and Distinguished Professor in the Faculty of Law, University of Stellenbosch; Vice-Chair of the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights

Professor Cephas Lumina - Professor of Law, Nelson Mandela School of Law, University of Fort Hare; Advocate of the High Court of Zambia; Member of the Committee on the Rights of the Child

Ignacio Saiz - Executive Director of the Center for Economic and Social Rights (CESR)

Dr Magdalena Sepulveda - Executive Director of the Global Initiative for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (GI-ESCR) and Senior Research Associate at the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD)

How to join this workshop

To join this online workshop please register on Eventbrite.  Upon registration, you will be sent the webinar ID’s.

The webinar will be accessible via Zoom. Please make sure you have created a Zoom account in advance of joining the workshop, if you haven’t yet, please create an account in advance. If you are a University of Essex staff member or student please follow the instructions on how to create an account.

For those who cannot join this online workshop, the videos of each panel will be posted afterwards on our social media channels.

How to ask questions

You can submit any questions before the event, by sending an email to lawhrcevents@essex.ac.uk, these will be answered during the live event.

When attending the events, please use the Q&A box to ask your questions, the chair of each session will take a selection of questions at the end of each panel.

Further Information

If you have any queries, please contact Dr Aoife Duffy.