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date: 08 December 2023

Human Rights Educationlocked

Human Rights Educationlocked

  • A. Kayum AhmedA. Kayum AhmedColumbia University


Human rights education (HRE) can be described as a tool for popularizing and giving effect to the universal human rights regime. The United Nations (UN) defines HRE as (a) acquiring knowledge about human rights and the skills to exercise these rights, (b) developing values, attitudes, and beliefs that support and reinforce human rights; and (c) defending and advancing human rights through behavior and action. HRE is therefore an ideological instrument deployed as a tactic to inspire agency and activism, primarily as a counterbalance to state power. HRE as tactics is used to denote the education and training of individuals and groups working toward claiming certain protections for themselves or on behalf of those on the margins of society. This typology encompasses the range of legal, advocacy, and policy tools available within human rights frameworks to uphold and protect the rights of individuals and communities. But it is also important to recognize that human rights discourses can been appropriated by certain states to strengthen their sovereign power. HRE as sovereignty acknowledges that states, as well as corporations and far-right civil society groups, can appropriate human rights language in order to reinforce power and legitimacy. States who engage in HRE as sovereignty deliberately employ human rights language with the aim of constructing a self-serving narrative that entrenches power or legitimizes their behavior and actions. HRE as sovereignty characterizes the appropriation of HRE to entrench power through the creation of an official, immutable narrative embedded in human rights language.


  • Curriculum and Pedagogy

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