Human rights education initiatives in ethiopia: challenges and opportunities

University essay from Lunds universitet/Juridiska institutionen

Abstract: Almost all states around the world have ratified the ICCPR and ICESCR in which the main human rights standards are stipulated. Many have accepted the other relevant international human rights instruments including CRC, CERD, CEDAW and CAT. Many have also incorporated human rights provisions in their Constitutions. Ethiopia is one of the countries that have ratified all the major human rights instruments mentioned above. However human rights problems involving civil and political rights are still occurring including problems related to Economic and Social rights, as there is widespread extreme poverty through out the country. There are also quite a number of traditional practices and attitudes that seriously violate the rights of women and children in particular. Though there is no comprehensive and systematic survey conducted, one may presume that a lot of people around the world, and in Ethiopia too, are not aware of or do not articulate their rights as a human being. And this lack of awareness has contributed a great deal to the existence of various types of human rights violations in different countries including Ethiopia. This situation has undoubtedly called for an action to help people become aware of their rights by using Human Rights Education. Since recently, the importance of human rights education was given recognition worldwide, particularly after the World Conference on Human Rights (1993). In this Conference human rights education was even considered as prerequisite for the enjoyment of other human rights and, therefore, making it the responsibility of the states to carry out such programmes. In a number of countries interventions in human rights education has been tried by NGOs as well as government agencies. In Ethiopia, too, human rights education is being carried out since a few years back, and more precisely after the military communist government is toppled down in 1991. Though human rights education activities in Ethiopia are at a rudimentary stage, the theme of this thesis would be reviewing some of the activities in the country. The thesis contains three chapters. The first chapter tries to identify international conventions, declarations and other documents that are incorporating statements concerning human rights education. It is concerned about clarifying what human rights education means as well as defining its scope. It goes on by discussing whether human rights education is human rights as many writers claim to be. Here the provisions of the binding instruments are reviewed in attempt to find the answer. The same chapter talks about the content, targets, and methodology of human rights education. The relationship between civic education and human rights education is also another area of discussion in attempt to define their difference and similarity. Finally the UN Decade for Human Rights Education is reviewed along with its implication in human rights education interventions in a particular country. Chapter two is entirely devoted to the Ethiopian experience with regard to human rights education. Here, the domestic normative framework concerning human rights education is reviewed. The larger portion of the chapter however dwells on how different actors are carrying out human rights education work concerning the content, targets, strategies, methodology, evaluation, impact and other related issues. Chapter three tries to amplify the challenges that could be faced by any actor involved in human rights education in Ethiopia. Such as how one could effectively use human rights education for betterment of the life of the marginalized, the effect of globalisation and some of the challenges from culture and religion. The role of the Government and the human rights NGOs is also questioned as long as what is ideally needed from a human rights education is an empowering one.

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