We interviewed the director of the National Human Rights Center A. Kh. Saidov about the goals and objectives of this prestigious international event.
– Akmal Kholmatovich, what does education in the field of human rights provide for?
– Human rights education is fundamental to the promotion of universal respect and universal observance of human rights. Article 26 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights proclaims that everyone has the right to education and that “education shall be directed towards the full development of the human personality and towards increasing respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. Education should promote understanding, tolerance and friendship among all peoples, racial and religious groups, and should contribute to the peacekeeping activities of the United Nations.”
In 2011, the UN adopted the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Education and Training. The Declaration states that everyone has the right to know, to seek and receive information about all human rights and fundamental freedoms and must have access to education and training in the field of human rights. And human rights education and training are essential to the promotion of universal respect for and observance of all human rights and fundamental freedoms of all persons, in accordance with the principles of the universality, indivisibility and interdependence of human rights.
Provisions regarding human rights education are also included in many international instruments, including the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against racial discrimination.
Human rights education includes three aspects:
first, gaining knowledge about human rights, what they are, how they are guaranteed or protected;
second, education through human rights, recognizing that the context and mode of human rights education must be organized and aligned with human rights values (e.g. participation, freedom of thought and expression, etc.), and that in human rights education, the process of learning is as important as its content;
third, learning human rights by students to develop their skills, attitudes and values that enable them to apply the values of human rights in their lives and, alone or with others, to take action to promote and protect human rights.
As the new UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Volker Türk, noted, “Human rights are the common language of mankind. We need a system of human rights that resonates with everyone's voice. In everything that concerns human rights, we must act as a united front.”
– How is human rights education implemented?
– In 1993, the World Conference on Human Rights stated that human rights education is "essential for the development and achievement of stable and harmonious relations among nations and for the promotion of mutual understanding, tolerance and peace." In 1994, the General Assembly proclaimed the period from 1995 to 2004 as the United Nations Decade for Human Rights Education and called on all UN Member States to promote "teaching, dissemination and information in order to create a universal culture of human rights". And in 2004, the UN General Assembly, to promote the implementation of human rights education programs in all sectors, adopted a special World Program for Human Rights Education. It defines human rights education as education, training and information to create a shared culture of human rights. Comprehensive human rights education not only provides knowledge about human rights and mechanisms for their protection, but also instills the skills necessary to promote, protect and apply human rights to everyday life. Human rights education promotes the development of attitudes and behaviors necessary for the protection of human rights by all members of society.
The adoption of this program has led governments to make significant efforts to develop human rights education, mainly through public education programs. The world community sees human rights education as a means of strengthening peace, democracy and social progress.
The World Program is designed to promote the implementation of educational programs in the field of human rights in all government bodies, non-profit non-governmental organizations and the business sector, a common understanding of the basic principles and methods of educational activities in the field of human rights, the creation of mechanisms for the implementation of practical work and the strengthening of partnerships and cooperation at all levels, from the international to the grassroots. Every individual and every member of society must promote respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms through education and training. Comprehensive human rights education not only serves as a source of knowledge about human rights and mechanisms for their protection, but also provides the skills needed to promote, protect and apply human rights to everyday life.
Three phases of the World Program have already been implemented. They covered educational processes in schools, in higher education systems, and are also held for teachers, teachers and civil servants and representatives of the media.
From 2020 to 2024, the fourth phase of the World Program is being implemented, which is aimed at empowerment. It identifies young people as the target group of the fourth stage. At this stage, the following are provided:
• teaching and educating young people in the spirit of equality, respect for human rights and non-discrimination, this will create an inclusive and peaceful society;
• focusing on women and children, in line with the “leaving no one behind” goal of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, providing human rights education for educators working with the teaching staff, including children and youth;
• conducting relevant research, evaluation, exchange of best practices in the field of human rights education.
– Holding this Global Forum on Human Rights Education in Samarkand is an expression of high recognition by the world community of our country as an active initiator of decision-making on planetary problems. Isn’t it?
– Yes this is true. Samarkand is becoming a kind of center for holding international and regional forums on human rights. In 2018, the Asian Forum for Human Rights was held here, in 2020 – the Samarkand Web Forum on Human Rights “Youth 2020: Global Solidarity, Sustainable Development and Human Rights”.
In New Uzbekistan, a lot of work has been done in the field of human rights, including the improvement of education in this direction. Education in the field of human rights is one of the priority directions of the state policy in Uzbekistan for the formation of a culture of human rights.
The President of the Republic of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev put forward initiatives aimed at comprehensively ensuring the rights, freedoms and legitimate interests of a person, and they are being consistently implemented. Based on them, five resolutions of the United Nations General Assembly have already been adopted. For the first time in the history of national statehood, the Republic of Uzbekistan was elected to the UN Human Rights Council. This is an expression of the high recognition by the world community, to support the implementation of the country's new foreign policy, including in the field of further comprehensive development of cooperation with international organizations and foreign countries.
The head of our state emphasized that “We are all deeply aware that ensuring human rights is a continuous process. This is evidenced by world history and the experience of democratic states.”
By order of the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan, the National Commission was established for the implementation of the fourth stage of the World Program for Human Rights Education in the country, which consists of representatives of the Senate of the Oliy Majlis, the ministries of foreign affairs, justice, higher and secondary specialized education, public education, to support the mahalla and family, Agency for Youth Affairs, the Ombudsman, the Council of the Federation of Trade Unions, non-governmental non-profit organizations, the media, as well as heads of regions. The main goal of the National Commission is to raise awareness of the universal norms and principles for the protection of human rights, international guarantees for the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms, as well as further effective work in this direction.
Having proclaimed the principle of the primacy of international law in the Constitution, Uzbekistan acceded to many international conventions aimed at securing and protecting human rights and freedoms, as well as various categories of citizens - women, children, the disabled, and assumed obligations to create the necessary organizational and legal conditions to encourage and protect human rights and freedoms in its territory.
Our country implements its human rights policy based on the following principles:
• adherence to generally recognized ideas and values of human rights, as well as to its international obligations;
• The policy of the state in the field of human rights follows from the main national interests, which are based on the formation of legal statehood and a strong civil society;
• the principle of balance of interests of the individual, society and the state, fixed in the Constitution of the Republic of Uzbekistan;
• evolutionary phased nature of all ongoing political and socio-economic reforms;
• openness and transparency, since Uzbekistan is ready to discuss and solve all problems in this area in dialogue with all structures of civil society, as well as with its international partners.
In order to increase the role of national human rights institutions, two resolutions of the Government on a set of measures for their state support were adopted.
For the first time in the history of Uzbekistan, in 2020 the National Strategy of the Republic of Uzbekistan on Human Rights and the Roadmapwere adopted, providing for the implementation of 78 specific measures. It includes the following priority areas:
• protection of personal, political, economic, social and cultural rights;
• improvement of mechanisms for the implementation of international standards in the field of human rights and freedoms in legislation and law enforcement practice, as well as their monitoring;
• improving legal literacy in the field of human rights;
• development of cooperation with specialized international and regional structures, national human rights institutions of foreign countries.
Uzbekistan is actively participating in the campaign for the World Program for Human Rights Education, the implementation of the provisions of the UN Declaration on Education and Training in Human Rights. More than 120 major international legal documents on human rights have been translated into the state language and published in large editions, in close cooperation with international partners.
The study of issues of observance and protection of civil and political rights, international documents and national legislation is included in the curricula of educational institutions of general secondary, secondary specialized, vocational and higher education, advanced training systems for pedagogical, medical and social workers, journalists, judges, law enforcement officials and lawyers.
A landmark event was the creation of a consortium of law schools in the country, with the aim of opening a master's program in human rights. The consortium included the Academy of the General Prosecutor's Office of the country, the National Center for Human Rights, the Tashkent State Law University, the University of World Economy and Diplomacy.
To encourage active representatives of civil society institutions, state bodies and organizations, the Decree of the Cabinet of Ministers of the Republic of Uzbekistan approved the badge “For the protection of human rights”, which is awarded annually on December 10 – International Human Rights Day for merits in the field of protection of human rights.
The results of the implementation of human rights education should serve to raise awareness and understanding of issues in the sense that people recognize and accept violations of human rights, as well as the study of how they can be protected in their own country, which bodies are responsible for their protection, which international treaties are valid and applied, the execution of which rights the participants can demand. Human rights education will also contribute to the acquisition of the skills and abilities to fight and defend one's human rights, as well as to live with these values.
Interviewed by Erkin Ernazarov
From the journal “Democratization and Human Rights”, 4(96) – 2022