Celebrate -20th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC)- free resources

As mentioned in an earlier post the 20th November is not only Universal Children’s Day, but also the 20th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.  The Inter-Agency Network for Education in Emergencies (INEE) has produced a celebratory explanation of some of the articles of the CRC and also some important resources. INEE is an open global network of over 3,500 practitioners, students, teachers, staff from UN agencies, non-governmental organizations, donors, governments and universities who work together to ensure all persons the right to quality, relevant and safe educational opportunities.

From INEE:

Tomorrow, 20 November 2009, is the 20th anniversary of the Convention of the Rights of the Child (CRC), which is a legally binding international instrument spelling out the principles that Member States of the United Nations agree to be universal – for all children, in all countries and cultures, at all times and without exception, simply through the fact of their being born into the human family. The four core principles of the Convention are non-discrimination; the best interests of the child; the right to life, survival and development; and respect for the views of the child.

The CRC is of particular importance to education in emergencies, because it forcefully brings together provisions relevant to emergencies and armed conflict in ways that few other international treaties do, offering added protection for the consistently most vulnerable group: the child.

The following 2 articles affirm the right of the child to education, in emergencies, as well as in times of peace and stability:

Article 28 obliges all state parties to establish educational systems and ensure equal and non-discriminatory access to them. Especially primary education must be compulsory and free to all, but also secondary, vocational and higher education must be made progressively available. Education must be provided in a way that respects the dignity of the child at all times. Lastly, Article 28 obliges States to encourage and promote international cooperation, with particular account taken of the needs of developing countries.

Article 29 defines the aims of education, chief amongst these being that education shall be directed to the development of the child’s personality, talents and mental and physical abilities to their fullest potential. This echoes the over-riding principle of the CRC, as stated in Art. 3, of the best interest of the child, requires that schools be child-friendly in the fullest sense of the term and that they be consistent in all respects with the dignity of the child. Lastly, that education must be for “the preparation of the child for responsible life in a free society, in the spirit of understanding, peace, tolerance, equality of sexes, and friendship among all peoples, ethnic, national and religious groups and persons of indigenous origin”.

These 2 articles must be read together with a few other key articles in the Convention:

Article 2  on non-discrimination of any kind, irrespective of the child’s or his or her parent’s or legal guardian’s race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national, ethnic or social origin, property, disability, birth or other status.

Article 38 on the respect for the rules of international humanitarian law in times of conflict, ensuring the continued and specific protection of children and civilians, protecting them from taking part in hostilities and entering into armed forces.

Amnesty International

Article 6 (right to life); Article 9 (separation from parents); Article 12 (Respect for the views of the child); Article 19 (Child’s right to protection from all forms of violence); Article 22 (Refugee children); Article 39 (Rehabilitation of child victims); and the 1st Optional Protocol (On the Involvement of children in armed conflict).

Timor Leste -Ray Harris

The right to education is also articulated in many other international conventions and documents, which do not limit this right to children, including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948); the Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees (1951); the Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (1966); the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (2006); and the non-legally binding Dakar World Education Forum Framework for Action (2000), promoting Education for All.

More free resources

The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child

The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, the body of independent experts responsible for reviewing progress made by States parties in implementing the Convention on the Rights of the Child, devoted its 2008 Day of General Discussion (DGD) on to articles 28 and 29 of the Convention dealing with the right to education, focusing upon the education of children in emergency situations. The day was intended to provide States and other actors with more comprehensive guidance as to their obligations to promote and protect the right to education as outlined in articles 28 and 29. For more information about the DGD, please click here.

The Committee released its report, including recommendations, which you can find on the INEE website along with several other supporting documents about the day. Among the recommendations particularly relevant to INEE members, the Committee:

  • calls upon States parties to honor their obligation to fully ensure the right to education for every child within their jurisdiction, without any discrimination, throughout all stages of emergency situations, including the emergency preparedness phase and the reconstruction and the post emergency phases.
  • calls upon States parties, donors and relief agencies to include education as an integral component of the humanitarian relief response from the outset.
  • urges all States parties, in particular those that are prone to natural disasters or in areas likely to be affected by armed conflict, to prepare a plan of action for the provision of the right to education in emergency situations.
  • urges States parties to fulfill their obligation therein to ensure schools as zones of peace and places where intellectual curiosity and respect for universal human rights is fostered; and to ensure that schools are protected from military attacks or seizure by militants; or use as centres for recruitment. The Committee urges States parties to criminalize attacks on schools as war crimes in accordance with article 8(2)(b) (ix) of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court and to prevent and combat impunity.
  • urges States parties, United Nations agencies, donors and relief agencies to ensure that INEE Minimum Standards are applied at all stages of humanitarian relief response in order to ensure the right of children to education in emergencies.
  • recommends that States parties and other international partners support child participation so that children can voice their views with regard to what they learn (the content) and how they learn (rights-based and child-centered active learning) and are empowered by the relevant content of education and the active learning process.

The DGD, and these ensuing recommendations on education in emergencies, built upon the 2008 report of Vernor Muñoz, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Education on the right to education in emergencies. Many INEE members contributed to the contents of this report through questionnaires developed by the Special Rapporteur and disseminated on the INEE Listserv and Website. For a summary of the report, the full text for download in Spanish and English, and highlights relating specifically to INEE and the INEE Minimum Standards please click here.

Right to Education Project
The RTE site offers information and resources for States, civil society organisations and individuals on how to interpret and claim the right to education. It is centered on the basic premise that education must be available, accessible, acceptable and adaptable to all; that education systems must be accountable, participatory, transparent and non-discriminatory; and that education rights entails both the right to, in and through education.

UNICEF Website:  20th Anniversary of the CRC
The UNICEF site includes a Take Action center that articulates what individuals can do – visa via governments, families and communities, schools and teachers, the media, the private sector, and development and humanitarian organizations — to change the Convention from words on paper into real actions for children. It also contains a section for youth, helping them to understand the CRC, know their rights and take action: http://www.unicef.org/rightsite/433.htm

INEE Minimum Standards Toolkit Thematic Guide on Human & Children’s Rights
The INEE Minimum Standards present a global framework for coordinated action to enhance the quality of educational preparedness and response, increase access to relevant learning opportunities, and ensure humanitarian accountability in providing these services. The Convention on the Rights of the Child is one of the foundational documents for the INEE Minimum Standards. The tools and resources in this guide are a selection from the INEE Minimum Standards Toolkit that relate to the cross-cutting issue of human and children’s rights. To access the Thematic Guide, please click here. All of these resources are available online and on the INEE Minimum Standards Toolkit www.ineesite.org/toolkit.

Your Right to Education: A Handbook for Refugees and Displaced Communities
The Women’s Refugee Commission created Your Right to Education: A Handbook for Refugees and Displaced Communities to raise awareness of everyone’s right to education. The handbook uses drawings that readers at all levels can understand. It is hoped that you will share Your Right to Education with children, young people and adults in your community to help them better understand the right to education, how it fits with other human rights and the benefits that education may bring. It is also hoped that Your Right to Education will serve as a tool to discuss these issues in depth and to encourage action to expand and improve education in displaced communities. Click here to download the Handbook in English, French and Arabic.

A complimentary resource is Right to Education During Displacement. A resource for organizations working with refugees and internally displaced persons (2006, Women’s Refugee Commission), which is available here.

Child Rights Information Network (CRIN)
This website and listserv offers consistently high-quality and comprehensive information on the rights of the child as defined in the CRC. It also has a selection of resources relating to education. Explore the website, and sign-up for their listserv CRINMAIL here: www.crin.org.

A Human Rights Based Approach to Education for All
(2007, UNICEF and UNESCO)
This document brings together the current thinking and practice on human rights-based approaches in the education sector. It presents key issues and challenges in rights-based approaches and provides a framework for policy and programme development from the level of the school up to the national and international levels.While the predominant focus of the document is on primary basic education and child rights within education, it is based on the EFA goals and situated within lifecycle and lifelong learning approaches. It addresses the right to education as well as rights within education, which include human rights education itself. Click here to download this resource.


Workbook -Ray Harris

Worked as consultant for UNICEF, UNESCO, UNDP, DFID, Save The Children Fund Alliance, World Bank  and  contributed to education relating to:


Program  evaluation Human rights education
Teacher  training Education in post conflict contexts
Education management training Multigrade education
Curriculum  planning, development and review Environmental education
Child rights programming, Education in emergencies
Early Childhood Education Education for disadvantaged children
Child Friendly Schooling Education in rural areas
Inclusive education, Education for Citizenship
Active and participatory learning Peace education
Instructional improvement Community participation

Developed Training manuals for UNESCO, UNICEF, WORLD BANK and Esuela Nueva Foundation. including the two training manuals for UNESCO’s ‘Embracing Diversity ‘ collection of Inclusive,Learning Friendly

Creating the Inclusive Learning Friendly Classroom


Managing the Inclusive Learning Friendly Classroom

Building capacity in Afghanistan – 40,000 more troops or 40,000 schools? Girls education.

BBC SarwaryShazia
BBC Sarwary

‘Good girls’

“I am Shazia and I am the only daughter of my parents. They always tell me that they want me to be educated because my parents work in the field all the time. We have a house in the mountains, but we don’t have water, wood and food most of the time. I have learned a lot. In my village everyone tells their children, ‘please learn from Shazia and attend school’.

“I love my school friends – they are very good girls.”

We know that investing in education, particularly for girls, can help re-buld a society.

There are several compelling benefits associated with girls’ education, which include the reduction of child and maternal mortality, improvement of child nutrition and health, lower fertility rates, enhancement of women’s domestic role and their political participation, improvement of the economic productivity and growth, and protection of girls from HIV/AIDS, abuse and exploitation. Girls’ education yields some of the highest returns of all development investments, yielding both private and social benefits that accrue to individuals, families, and society at large.

Lets think about arguments for investing more in education or increasing the number of troops in  Afghanistan. The following  is an article by Nicholas Kristof, New York Times
Dispatching more troops to Afghanistan would be a monumental bet and probably a bad one, most likely a waste of lives and resources that might simply empower the Taliban. In particular, one of the most compelling arguments against more troops rests on this stunning trade-off: For the cost of a single additional soldier stationed in Afghanistan for one year, we could build roughly 20 schools there.

It’s hard to do the calculation precisely, but for the cost of 40,000 troops over a few years – well, we could just about turn every Afghan into a Ph.D.

The hawks respond: It’s naïve to think that you can sprinkle a bit of education on a war-torn society. It’s impossible to build schools now because the Taliban will blow them up.
In fact, it’s still quite possible to operate schools in Afghanistan – particularly when there’s a strong “buy-in” from the local community.

Greg Mortenson, author of “Three Cups of Tea,” has now built 39 schools in Afghanistan and 92 in Pakistan – and not one has been burned down or closed. The aid organization CARE has 295 schools educating 50,000 girls in Afghanistan, and not a single one has been closed or burned by the Taliban. The Afghan Institute of Learning, another aid group, has 32 schools in Afghanistan and Pakistan, with none closed by the Taliban (although local communities have temporarily suspended three for security reasons).

In short, there is still vast scope for greater investment in education, health and agriculture in Afghanistan. These are extraordinarily cheap and have a better record at stabilizing societies than military solutions, which, in fact, have a pretty dismal record.

Already our troops have created a backlash with Kabul University students this week burning President Obama in effigy until police dispersed them with gunshots. The heavier our military footprint, the more resentment – and perhaps the more legitimacy for the Taliban.

Schools are not a quick fix or silver bullet any more than troops are. But we have abundant evidence that they can, over time, transform countries, and in the area near Afghanistan there’s a nice natural experiment in the comparative power of educational versus military tools.

Since 9/11, the United States has spent $15 billion in Pakistan, mostly on military support, and today Pakistan is more unstable than ever. In contrast, Bangladesh, which until 1971 was a part of Pakistan, has focused on education in a way that Pakistan never did. Bangladesh now has more girls in high school than boys. (In contrast, only 3 percent of Pakistani women in the tribal areas are literate.)

For roughly the same cost as stationing 40,000 troops in Afghanistan for one year, we could educate the great majority of the 75 million children worldwide who, according to Unicef, are not getting even a primary education. We won’t turn them into graduate students, but we can help them achieve literacy. Such a vast global education campaign would reduce poverty, cut birth rates, improve America’s image in the world, promote stability and chip away at extremism.

Education isn’t a panacea, and no policy in Afghanistan is a sure bet. But all in all, the evidence suggests that education can help foster a virtuous cycle that promotes stability and moderation. So instead of sending 40,000 troops more to Afghanistan, how about opening 40,000 schools?

And some quotations from students trying to study in Afghanistan,on the BBC site

‘I want to be educated’


BBC Sarwary

Zarmina, 8, lives in the remote Sherzad district, south-west of the eastern Afghan city of Jalalabad. Sherzad is not far from the Tora Bora cave complex near the Pakistan border.

“I travel every day for an hour from my village to school. I am in class one and I can write my name. I have made a lot of friends.

“However, we can’t study most days because it’s rainy or windy. I want to be an educated Afghan girl.”

Yasamina, 14“I fetch water every day – it takes about an hour. But, I also go to my school. I walk with my friends for four kilometres every day but I like walking to my school with my friends. I want to be a nurse when I finish my school here.”

BBC SarwaryYAS
BBC Sarwary


“My name is Lema and I am from that village in the mountain. I walk for a long long time with my friends. I like coming to school because we tell stories among ourselves. “I don’t like it when it rains or is windy because we can’t sit outside, so we walk all the way back to our village. I don’t know what I want to be in the future, but I like teaching a lot.”


Lema BBC Sarwary
BBC Sarwary

Is it worth creating schools and giving girls an education? Just revisit the benefits:

  • Reducing women’s fertility rates. Women with formal education are much more likely to use reliable family planning methods, delay marriage and childbearing, and have fewer and healthier babies than women with no formal education. It is estimated that one year of female schooling reduces fertility by 10 percent. The effect is particularly pronounced for secondary schooling.
  • Lowering infant and child mortality rates. Women with some formal education are more likely to seek medical care, ensure their children are immunized, be better informed about their children’s nutritional requirements, and adopt improved sanitation practices. As a result, their infants and children have higher survival rates and tend to be healthier and better nourished.
  • Lowering maternal mortality rates. Women with formal education tend to have better knowledge about health care practices, are less likely to become pregnant at a very young age, tend to have fewer, better-spaced pregnancies, and seek pre- and post-natal care. It is estimated that an additional year of schooling for 1,000 women helps prevent two maternal deaths.
  • Protecting against HIV/AIDS infection. Girls’ education ranks among the most powerful tools for reducing girls’ vulnerability. It slows and reduces the spread of HIV/AIDS by contributing to female economic independence, delayed marriage, family planning, and work outside the home, as well as conveying greater information about the disease and how to prevent it.
  • Increasing women’s labor force participation rates and earnings. Education has been proven to increase income for wage earners and increase productivity for employers, yielding benefits for the community and society.
  • Creating intergenerational education benefits. Mothers’ education is a significant variable affecting children’s education attainment and opportunities. A mother with a few years of formal education is considerably more likely to send her children to school. In many countries each additional year of formal education completed by a mother translates into her children remaining in school for an additional one-third to one-half year.
  • As Obama reflects on a new approach to Afghanistan, I hope some of these stories become part of the ‘armoury of the arguments’ for a more humane and constructive policy review.

    Universal Children’s Day – fighting for their rights -20/11/09 -more resources

    Universal Children's Day

    November 20th 2009 is Universal Children\’s Day. The Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) is the most widely ratified human rights treaty in the world. Today 193 states have ratified the CRC.

    As trainers and teachers we have a responsibility to inform children of their rights and to inform others that all children have basic rights. Most governments have signed the Convention but may not be active in promoting the Convention, but we can use our influence to implement the Convention on a daily basis. Awareness may be a first step, but without action, awareness has limited effect.


    20 November is celebrated as the international day for children. The United Nations General Assembly recommended in 1954 (resolution 836 (IX)) that all countries institute a Universal Children’s Day, to be observed as a day of understanding between children and of activity promoting the welfare of the world’s children. The date of 20 November marks the day on which the Assembly adopted the Declaration of the Rights of the Child, in 1959, and the Convention on the Rights of the Child, in 1989.

    UNICEF Cameroon

    What can we do?

    UNICEF states:

    Every one of us has a role to play in ensuring that every child enjoys a childhood. If you are a parent, teacher, social worker or other professional working with children, raise awareness of the Convention on the Rights of the Child among children. If you are a member or employee of an organization working for children’s rights, raise awareness of the Convention and its Optional Protocols, research and document governmental actions and policies and involve communities in promoting and protecting children’s rights. If you are a member of the media, promote knowledge and understanding of children’s rights and provide a forum for children’s participation in society. If you are a parliamentarian, ensure that all existing and new legislation and judicial practice is compatible with your country’s international obligations, monitor governments’ actions, policies and budgets and involve the community—including children—in relevant decision making.

    UNICEF- children\’s rights – free expression

    Despite this worldwide consensus on the importance of our children, 70% of the approximately 11 million child deaths every year are attributable to six potentially preventable causes: diarrhoea, malaria, neonatal infection, pneumonia, preterm delivery, or lack of oxygen at birth. These deaths occur mainly in the developing world. An Ethiopian child is 30 times more likely to die by his or her fifth birthday than a child in Western Europe. Among deaths of children, South-central Asia has the highest number of newborn deaths, while sub-Saharan Africa has the highest rates.

    UNICEF Pittenger

    The HIV/AIDS epidemic is taking a huge toll on children, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa. The number of children orphaned and made vulnerable by HIV/AIDS is projected to reach 25 million by the end of the decade, 18 million of them in Africa. This, along with only modest progress fighting malaria, means the threats facing child survival are as grave as ever.

    In 2000 world leaders outlined Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) – which range from halving extreme poverty to halting the spread of HIV/AIDS and providing universal primary education, all by the target date of 2015. Though the Goals are for all humankind, they are primarily about children. UNICEF notes that six of the eight goals relate directly to children and meeting the last two will also make critical improvements in their lives. (MDGs, UNICEF.)


     As educators, we have a duty to protect the rights of children as well as inform them of their rights and how they themselves can fight for their rights.

    UNICEF- children\’s rights -education

    United Nations links

    International Labour Organization

    Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees


    World Health Organization

    Some additional resources:

    Amnesty International – Child Soldiers

    Child Rights Information Network

    Children Now

    Defence for Children International

    Global Children’s Organization

    Human Rights Watch – Children’s Rights

    International Save the Children Alliance

    Sources: UN Dag Hammarskjöld Library, UNICEF
    Selected learning materials

    Study Guide on the Human Rights of Children and Youth (HREA)

    Conversation about child labour and the right to education with the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Education (15 June 2005)

    Children’s Rights Here and Now (Amnesty International-USA)

    Fields of Hope: Educational Activities on Child Labor. Teacher’s Guide

    “How to Protect Human Rights?” Lesson Plan: Children’s Rights in the UN System of Human Rights Protection (Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights, Poland)

    Lesson plan on refugee children (UNHCR)

    Raising Children With Roots, Rights & Responsibilities: Celebrating the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (USA)

    Teaching for Human Rights: Pre-school and Grades 1-4

    Teaching for Human Rights: Grades 5-10

    The day the Berlin Wall came down – children’s mediation of the news

    On November 9th 1989, an email message arrived at the Tynings primary school in Bristol,UK. It was from a 9 year old  girl living in East Germany who had to travel, daily, through the checkpoints to get to school in West Berlin. She was complaining to her ‘friends’ in Bristol  (by email, which was quite innovatory in 1989 for schools) that it took so long to reach school because of the crowds trying to get through the checkpoints.

    checkpoint Berlin checkpoint

    This is how the Bristol children, and their parents, learned about the reality behind the news that would later unfold before their eyes.


    Before and after the fall of the wall

    During the next few days, the ‘spark’ of the email message from their friend in East Berlin set off another ‘chain reaction’ of interest in the news by the children in Bristol. Their teacher , Keith Johnson, did not have to find ways of interesting the children in learning about what is going on in the world,they were ravenous to find out why the news did not provide ‘a child’s view’ of the world. They had some knowledge of European  cities, from curriculum topics, and something about history and Germany (of course an anglo-centric view based on stories of WWII), but these topics never excited them or developed the enthusiasm that was apparent now, and Keith was a great teacher.

    What was to unfold during the next few days was even more momentous, to Europe and the World, but it was happening in the classroom in Bristol.


    Keith wondered why anyone would want to send the school a piece of drainpipe!

    On opening the ‘parcel’, pieces of concrete dropped out of the pipe and with it, a large poster. Of course the concrete was painted and was in fact  a part of the broken Berlin Wall. The poster was a carefully drawn picture of the Brandenburg Gate with comments, ‘graffiti’ , by the children in the school in Berlin.


    As the Bristol children saw the pictures on television of people breaking down the wall they could actually handle pieces of the wall and read the comments made by the children in Berlin. A wonderful way to learn about the world, the news , differing perspectives, media bias and history in the making!



    25 years on and those children in Keith Johnson’s class must be watching the 25th anniversary celebrations of the wall coming down with some interest, thinking ‘we were there’ in spirit at least.

    berlin wall


    More news breaking – Finland and Bristol 1986

    On the same theme, children’s understanding and mediation of the news, 3 years earlier in April 1986, I, (as a Bristol primary school teacher!) also received an email message, addressed to the children of my class. It was from a school in Finland with which we had been corresponding, finding out about reindeer and life in the Arctic. This time the message was a bit more serious, but curious. The children were saying that birds had been dropping out of the sky on to their school. They did not know why.


    Later we found out about the  tremendous explosion at a huge nuclear power plant, followed by a gradual meltdown of the reactor No. 4. in Chernobyl, in the Ukraine. Of course we were ahead of the news because the explosion was kept a secret for some time.

    As was stated in the Times (May3rd 1986) “In matters nuclear, one thing is certain: there is no protection in an iron curtain”.

    aerial Chernobyl

    Aerial view of Reactor no4 ,Chernobyl nuclear power pant,1986

    The nuclear fallout which was to cover much of Europe and even effect sheep farming in North Wales, had hit the birds in Finland and this was one of the first signs of the large scale effects of the explosion.

    As a teacher,like Keith, I did not have to develop a lesson plan on environmental issues or understanding the media, or geography, or politics or health education…the children were diving in to the atlas, reading ,listening and watching the news  and asking all sorts of questions of their friends in Finland.

    kindergarten in abandoned visllageCHERn
    remains of Kindergarten in abandoned village,near Chernobyl

    My students wanted to design a newspaper of their own so that they could express what they have been finding out and to report on something that was really ‘breaking ‘ news. As a teacher, you can only marvel at the depth of understanding, cooperation and motivation to learn, from children as they find their area of interest.

    By the end of the week we had our newspaper, every child had participated, some had been journalists, some designers, some graphic artists, some sub editors and editors (suddenly there was a real reason to look up a dictionary,check spelling and punctuation, and measure distances on a map!). Their enthusiasm was infectious  – the whole school was now interested to follow the news, know about Finland and the Ukraine, about nuclear contamination, about children and cancer and much more. Of course their parents were also ‘educated’ about new aspects of the news.

    monument in ChernobylMonument in Chernobyl to those killed during the ‘close down’ of nuclear reactor No 4 Chernobyl.

    after treatment 1997,Ukraine after treatment ,Ukraine 1997

    I am sure those students from my class, 23 years on , with children of their own, still watch the news of children in the Ukraine suffering from Leukemia and other cancers , and think to themselves that they know the real story behind these devastating stories.

    011smKseniaand her doll 2005 Kesmia and her doll 2005

    and now, as they watch further devastating news about Ukraine, those same children from my class, as parents themselves, will be taking an extra special look at the news and how it is reported. As an aging Gorbachev speaks at the Brandenberg Gate, those adults will understand a little more when he mentions ‘a new Cold War’.


    build up of troops in Donetsk , Eastern Ukraine 2014

    Refugees in the news, then and now.

    Schools in Bristol and the Sudan were linked together via the good auspices of Dr Teame Mebrahtu, at the University of Bristol, who organised the links when Eritrean families fled to Sudan.Children exchanged news and questions and supported the schools in Sudan, which had accommodated children in their schools, with school materials collected from around Avon. Perhaps today those children who are now adults may reflect on the news about refugees in a more positive way.

    School Links International was a Bristol based project, started in 1985, linking primary schools in the Avon area and the rest of the world, to counter prejudice, increase international understanding, and to develop environmental awareness and action.

    Article 13 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child states:

    1. The child shall have the right to freedom of expression; this right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of the child’s choice.

    Human Rights Education – Crimes of War

    Demobilised Child Soldiers DRC. Time


    We have a duty to build capacity in people so that they know what their basic human rights are, how to find support for protection of these rights and to understand how they can take action to protect other people’s human rights.


    Check out UNICEF’s Voice of Youth site for more information about children’s rights.

    twogirls unicef
    Unicef -Sudan


    Instead of heeding lessons of the past, we seem to be reading more and more in the news about child soldiers, sexual violence being perpetrated as a weapon of war, civilians being injured, tortured, killed as a way of ‘undermining governments’ policies’ and as a general threat to innocent civilians. This is also in the context of a wide availability of more sophisticated weapons in the poorest of countries and a general plundering of natural resources , particularly minerals such as diamonds leading to a wider range of conflicts.




    The next generation will already be receiving this situation, handed down by their parents -education of the next two generations is necessary to get a real change in attitudes and behaviour and and for all children , no matter where they live, have their basic rights protected and enforced.


    The text below comes from  the HREA Quarterly Newsletter (  July-September 2009)

    The Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE/ODIHR), the Council of Europe, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) have jointly published Human Rights Education in the School Systems of Europe, Central Asia and North America: A Compendium of Good Practice. HREA was retained to develop the Compendium under the guidance of these partners.


    Designed for primary and secondary schools, teacher training institutions and other learning settings, the new tool, which collects 101 exemplary practices from Central Asia, Europe and North America, is a valuable resource for teachers and education policymakers.

    It provides resource materials relevant to key elements for successful human rights education, including 1) laws, guidelines and standards; 2) learning environment; 3) teaching and learning tools; 4) professional development for educators, and 5) evaluation.

    The collection demonstrates creative approaches to human rights education and aims to facilitate networking and exchange of experience among education professionals. The practices can be adapted to local conditions anywhere in the world.

    Below is an example of a good practice included in the Compendium:

    Crimes of War – What the Public Should Know: Educator’s Guide


    Intended Audience: Upper secondary school and university students (ages 16-22) and their teachers.

    : The Educator’s Guide was developed to make the reality of war crimes more accessible to youth, young adults and future decision makers in a classroom learning environment.

    The assumption is that if students and their teachers know the depth of the horrors of war – the same wars that are often described in mainstream media as “precise”, “modern”, or “just” – they would take a more active role in deciding when, where and why to go to war, and in influencing the way those wars are fought.

    Description: The Educator’s Guide accompanies the second edition of Crimes of War: What the Public Should Know, composed of case studies written by prominent field journalists. The Educator’s Guide was developed in co-operation with the Crimes of War Project (publisher of the second edition) and the United States Institute of Peace.

    In the Educator’s Guide, there are eight thematic chapters: weapons, violence against civilians, child soldiers, sexual violence, terrorism and torture, genocide, international courts and tribunals, and humanitarian intervention. Each of the thematic chapters is linked to case studies contained in the second edition of Crimes of War, as well as United States national education standards. The chapters include the following elements:
    • an essential question;
    • learning objectives;
    • methodology;
    • background information on the theme;
    • discussion questions (organized from simplest to most complex);
    • extension activities (that can be used for additional class work or homework);
    • ways that learners can take action; and
    • additional film, Web and print resources for the classroom.

    In addition to thematic, case study chapters, the Educator’s Guide contains a Glossary of Terms and a “Background and Key Concepts” section that presents the history of international humanitarian law and key concepts of the Geneva Conventions and its Additional Protocols.

    UGANDA Artwork 01AI
    Child Soldiers.Uganda.Amnesty International

    In order to strengthen students’ sense that they can do something positive in addressing crimes of war, each chapter provides an “action” section with practical activities, such as participating in awareness raising and action campaigns. Furthermore, two of the chapters address justice mechanisms for addressing crimes of war: courts and humanitarian intervention.


    Strengths: The Educator’s Guide supports educators in addressing the themes of crimes of war and international humanitarian law, which are rarely addressed in school settings. While making use of journalistic case studies to engage students, the lessons also provide historical and technical backgrounds necessary for understanding the themes.

    The resource is designed for flexible use by teachers. For each thematic issue, educators can choose from a range of related case studies in the second edition of Crimes of War. The discussion questions are organised from simplest to most complex thinking so that those most suitable for the students can be selected. The reference section of each chapter links teachers with original sources and multi-media tools that can be used to enhance the lesson.

    drawing 09 (3 fighters & cut hand)AI
    Child Soldiers.Uganda. Amnesty International

    Adaptability: The Educator’s Guide is intended for use in cross-national settings and was written to be culturally nonspecific, with regional examples from Europe, Africa and Asia. The second edition of Crimes of War is available in English and Arabic, and a French edition, as well as additional translations, are forthcoming.

    Availability: The Educator’s Guide can be downloaded at http://www.hrea.org/crimesofwar. Two sample chapters, “Weapons” and “Violence Against Civilians: Sieges and Sanctions”, are included in the Compendium Annex. The main text, Crimes of War: What the Public Should Know (second edition), can be found on-line in English and Arabic at http://www.crimesofwar.org/thebook/book.html.


    E-learning  – online capacity building


    HREA is offering fourteen e-learning courses in the first trimester of 2010 (1 February-20 April), including courses on child rights programming, gender mainstreaming, human rights-based programming, human rights litigation, human rights of migrants and migrant workers, introduction to human rights education, monitoring children’s rights (in French), national human rights institutions, and the UN Human Rights Council. Find out more about these and other upcoming e-learning opportunities.

    Rights of the Child -more free resources

    Following on from the last post on non-discrimination and the Convention on the Rights of the Child, Human Rights Education Association (HREA) have listed some new resources in their newsletter.

    Children’s rights: A series of lesson plans for children ages 8-10 (Oxfam GB, n.p., n.d.). Language(s): English. Keywords: lesson plan(s), primary school, children’s rights, Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), England, Scotland, Wales. URL:http://www.hrea.org/index.php?base_id=104&language_id=1&erc_doc_id=5115&category_id=5&category_type=3

    Developing rights: A resources for exploring rights around the world for ages 11-14 (Oxfam GB, n.p., n.d.). Language(s): English. Keywords: reference, students, youth, secondary school, children’s rights, right to development, right to education, African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), England, Ethiopia, Lebanon, Scotland, South Africa, Wales. URL: http://www.hrea.org/index.php?base_id=104&language_id=1&erc_doc_id=5114&category_id=6&category_type=3

    Doorways I: Student Training Manual on School-Related Gender-Based Violence Prevention and Response(Washington, DC: USAID, 2009). Language(s): English. Keywords: training manual, students, formal education, secondary school, children’s rights, sexual violence, violence against women, Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), Universal Declaration of
    Human Rights (UDHR). URL: http://www.hrea.org/index.php?base_id=104&language_id=1&erc_doc_id=5083&category_id=18&category_type=3

    Doorways II: Community Counselor Reference Materials (Washington, DC: USAID, 2009). Language(s): English. Keywords: reference, community leaders, social workers, non-formal education, training of professional groups, children’s rights, sexual violence, violence against women, Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). URL:http://www.hrea.org/index.php?base_id=104&language_id=1&erc_doc_id=5086&category_id=20&category_type=3

    Doorways II: Community Counselor Training Materials on School-Related Gender-Based Violence Prevention and Response (Washington, DC: USAID, 2009). Language(s): English. Keywords:
    training manual, community leaders, social workers, non-formal education, training of professional groups, children’s rights, sexual violence, violence against women, Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). URL:http://www.hrea.org/index.php?base_id=104&language_id=1&erc_doc_id=5085&category_id=20&category_type=3

    Education for Citizenship in the Caribbean. A study on curricular policy and teacher training in Cuba, Haiti and the Dominican Republic by Cheila Valera Acosta (Santo Domingo: UNESCO-Internactional Bureau of Education (IBE) and Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias (FLACSO), 2005). Language(s): English, Spanish. Keywords: research study, policy makers, teachers, trainers, formal education, in-service training, pre-service training, teacher training, citizenship education, civic education, education for democratic citizenship, research & evaluation, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Haiti. URL:

    See Me, Hear Me – A guide to using the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities to promote the rights of children by Gerison Lansdown (London: Save the Children, 2009). Language(s): English. Keywords: guide, human rights monitors, NGO staff, training of professional groups, children’s rights, rights of persons with disabilities, Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC). URL:

    Apart from the monthly newsletter the HREA website has a range of resources such as thos on the rights to education:

    Right to education
    Developing rights: A resources for exploring rights around the world for ages 11-14 (Oxfam GB). Language(s): English.


    A Budget Guide for Civil Society Organisations Working in Education (Victoria Perry, n.p.). Language(s): English.

    Education Rights: A Guide for Practitioners and Activists (Kate Newman, Johannesburg, 2007). Language(s): English, Spanish.

    Your Right to Education: A Handbook for Refugees and Displaced Communities (Women’s Commission for Refugee Women and Children, New York, 2007). Language(s): English, French, Arabic.

    Minimum Standards for Education in Emergencies, Chronic Crises and Early Reconstruction (Inter-Agency Network for Education in Emergencies (INEE), Paris, 2004). Language(s): English.

    Working with the Media on Gender and Education: A Guide for Training and Planning (Amy North, David Aduda, Andiwo Obondoh, Lutfer Rahman and Shamima Pervin). Language(s): English.

    Working with the Media on Gender and Education: A Guide for Training and Planning (Amy North with David Aduda, Andiwo Obondoh, Lutfer Rahman and Shamima Pervin, 2007). Language(s): English.

    A Human Rights-Based Approach to Education for All (UNESCO and UNICEF, New York/Paris, 2007). Language(s): English.

    Human Rights. YES!: Action and Advocacy on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (Janet E. Lord, Katherine N. Guernsey, Joelle M. Balfe and Valerie L. Karr, Minneapolis, 2007). Language(s): English.

    Human Rights Education in Asian Schools, Volume Six (Asia-Pacific Human Rights Information Center, Osaka, 2003).Language(s): English.

    The State of the Right to Education Worldwide. Free or Fee: 2006 Global Report (Katarina Tomaševski, Copenhagen, 2006). Language(s): English.

    ECRI General Policy Recommendation N°10 on combating racism and racial discrimination in and through school (European Commission against Racism and Intolerance, Strasbourg, 2007). Language(s): English, French.

    Rights-based Education in Cambodia. Final Report of the National Consultative Meeting on Rights-based Education in Cambodia (Farice Quinio, Phnom Penh, 2005). Language(s): English.

    Education as an intervention strategy to eliminate and prevent child labour: Consolidated Good Practices of the International Programme on the Elimination of Child Labour (IPEC) (Geneva, 2006). Language(s): English.

    Human Rights Education as Part of the Peace Process in Northern Ireland (Ulrike Niens, Jackie Reilly, Alan Smith, Bielefeld, 2006). Language(s): English.

    International humanitarian law and basic education (Sobhi Tawil, Geneva, 2000). Language(s): English.

    Rights-Based Approach to Development Programming: Training Manual (Manilla, 2002). Language(s): English.

    Stealing the Future – Corruption in the Classroom: Ten Real World Experiences (Transparency International, Berlin, 2005).Language(s): English.

    Human rights in education as prerequisite for human rights education (K. Tomaševski, Lund, 2001). Language(s): English.

    Preventing Corruption in the Education System: A Practical Guide (Katharina L. Ochse, Eschborn, 2004). Language(s):


    We still have a long way to go in terms of application of the CRC across the globe , but these and other resources can help to simplify the complexity.