Human Rights Education


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Human Rights Education

The goal of human rights education is to foster a culture of human rights. It is about knowing human rights, but also about respecting and protecting them.

An important document is the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Education and Training (PDF, not barrier-free). It reinforces the right to access to human rights education and stresses that states have the main responsibility to foster and provide human rights education that is "developed and implemented in a spirit of participation, inclusion and responsibility" (Article 7).

Human Rights Education encompasses three dimensions:

  • Education about human rights:
    Knowledge, e.g. about important instruments to protect human rights (conventions, documents), their content and relevance, their underlying values, as well as the social and historic processes accompanying the development of human rights.
  • Education through human rights:
    The awareness, reflection and discussion of attitudes, including the relevance of human rights in your own life. The way of teaching and learning must respect the rights of everyone involved. Therefore, it should be as participative and inclusive as possible.
  • Education for human rights:
    The competence for action and emancipatory thinking: Strengthening empowerment and solidarity with the aim to advocate for your own rights and for the rights of others.

These three dimensions cannot always be separated clearly. A culture of human rights includes learning processes in all dimensions. In order to reflect attitudes, to impart knowledge, and to enhance options for actions in a sustainable way, learning about, through and for human rights is crucial in terms both of content and of methodology. It is important to organize human rights education itself in an appreciative and learner-centered way. Human rights violations should not be treated as a phenomenon only happening in "foreign countries".

Human Rights Education in the German Institute for Human Rights

The German Institute for Human Rights has a department for human rights education. However, the whole institute can be involved in activities concerning human rights education. The department for human rights education contributes to the dissemination and advancement of human rights education work. Apart from projects and thematic focal points (see menu bar), this means in particular:

Networking: The institute is cross-linked to national and international cooperation forums in the area of human rights education. This includes among other the "Forum human rights", non-governmental organizations, universities and other National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs). By networking, we strengthen the coordination, the exchange and the professionalization in the area of human rights education.

Seminars and workshops: In selected subject areas, we offer seminars and workshops. You can find them in the (German) menu button "Veranstaltungen", they are usually held in German only. We also offer a human rights academy, a one-week seminar each summer. The academy is open to everyone interested or engaged in human rights, both individuals and organizations.

Material, information and consultation: For selected subject areas and target groups, we create educational material, partly in cooperation with other educational institutions or foundations. You can find more material as well as recommendations and declarations concerning human rights education in the menu button "Essential Documents and Links". Finally, there is a huge amount of material and information to be found in the library. If possible, we are happy to consult you and to try and establish contacts between people who plan projects or activities in the field of human rights education.

Policy advice: In order to anchor human rights education in broader way, we also advise political actors and institutions, i.e. we advocate for embedding human rights education into school law and relevant curricula.

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Dr. Sandra Reitz
Head of Department Human Rights Education
Phone: +49 30 25 93 59 - 446
e-mail: reitz(at)

Paola Carega
Public Relations Officer for the projects "Kompass" and "Maßstab Menschenrechte"
Phone: 004930 25 93 59 - 467
e-mail: carega(at)

Beatrice Cobbinah
Researcher and Policy Adviser
Phone: +49 30 25 93 59 - 445
e-mail: cobbinah(at)

Kathrin Günnewig
Researcher and Policy Adviser
Phone: +4930 25 93 59 - 449
e-mail: guennewig(at)

Jana Kind
Assistant to the Head of Department
Phone: +4930 259 359 - 484
e-mail: kind(at)

Mareike Niendorf
Researcher and Policy Advisor
Phone: +4930 25 93 59 - 460
e-mail: niendorf(at)