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Title: International policies and democratic education for the human rights: Theories vs practices
Authors: Campina, Ana
Keywords: Democratic education
Human rights
Issue Date: 2017
Citation: Campina, A. (2017). International policies and democratic education for the human rights: Theories vs practices. In 4th International Interdisciplinary Conference of Political Research SCOPE: Science of Politics, University of Bucharest, Romanian, 26th-28th May 2017 (Booklet pp. 21). Disponível no Repositório UPT,
Abstract: This paper argues that contemporary society requires the need of an urgent, but consistent, education for human rights adapted to the real needs of each social group, region, country, and/or at geopolitical characteristics. This is not a new question for International Laws and International Relations as disciplines; after the World Trade Center attacks on 11/09/2001, which led to the reconceptualization of terrorism and human rights protection systems. Education in this sector has been progressively a matter of the political agenda of International Governmental Organizations (whether universal, such as the United Nations, or regional, such as the European Union), of many democratic states and governments, as well as of international associations and movements which aim to promote and defend human rights. Given the evolution of the human rights paradigm and the needs for both legal and effective interpretation of the international and national “legal” violations (known or through undisclosed liabilities), one should look first at the type of identifiable and identified needs. Currently, there are two different perspectives. The first addresses the need to achieve the implementation of those policies already approved and recognized judicially and legally by the (mostly democratic) governments that intend to protect and promote fundamental and human rights. In this case, the need is related to the aim of developing and strengthening the policies or laws, as well as supporting and defending citizens denouncing human rights violations and violence, whether concealed or not, deliberate or not. The second perspective concerns the needs of millions of human beings suffering various types of violence and international law violations, including being murdered and tortured. Some may be legally protected, but there are neither effective human rights mechanisms to defend this legal protection nor the possibility of utilizing this protection. Others are living in non-democratic states, therefore, it is difficult to achieve the political power necessary to create positive change. In this context, education for human rights requires action in two dimensions: (1) political and legal changes (a hard, complex and sometimes utopic mission), and (2) improving the overall knowledge of people about their rights as well as the strategies required to protect themselves, including how to denounce violations and make their problems known. Literature in the field acknowledges that education about human rights is not only one of the most important ways to support the development of democracy in different contexts, and to foster a change in the perception and understanding of what human rights are, but is also critical in the fight against violence, human rights violations and human suffering in general. This is a complex process involving all actors of international relations, national politics, and citizens at large. For this reason, researching and theorizing about human rights contributes to making both human rights and democracy a reality lived by as many people as possible.
Appears in Collections:IJP - Comunicações a Congressos Internacionais / Papers in International Meetings

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