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Bacolod City, Philippines Thursday, January 5, 2017
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Human rights education

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As officials of the United Nations marked the fifth year of its adoption of the Declaration on Human Rights Education and Training, its General Assembly stressed the importance of human rights education in contributing to long-term prevention of human rights abuses, and to the creation of preservation of a just society.

Highlighting that education promotes values, beliefs and attitudes that encourage individuals to uphold their own rights and those of others, the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva reflected on achievements in the promotion of human rights and on possible improvements in relevant education programs.

Driss El Yazami, chair of the National Human Rights Council of Morocco, said education and training are highly significant in guaranteeing respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. Democracy is assured in a country whose citizens are educated and mindful of their rights.

With Flavia Piovesan, secretary for Human Rights at the Ministry of Justice of Brazil saying that the persistence of human rights violations could be explained by the existence of a culture of abuse and violence; UN Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights Kate Gilmore revealed that the good news that in many countries, institutions have increasingly pursued human rights education programs, with better tools and methodologies and with growing cooperation within government departments and among institutions.

Human rights advocates may have earned the ire of President Duterte for their criticism of the manner his war on drugs continues to be conducted, but as a country whose people endured numerous cases of human rights abuse during the dark days of the Marcos dictatorship, Filipinos should understand the significance of human rights education. If times have changed and our government no longer prioritizes human rights as much as other post-Marcos administrations would've liked the UN to believe, then the burden of educating the Filipinos of today and the future of their rights as humans that are the same as all other humans in this planet, regardless of race, creed, religion or addiction; rests upon the non government organizations and educational institutions who still recognize the value of human rights in the creation and preservation of a just society.

We wish the men and women who are committed to continuing the human rights education of the Filipino people the best of luck in facing the challenges of their advocacy in the coming years.*


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