Why is Human Rights Education important?


Human rights education can: modify values and attitudes; change behaviours; potentiate social justice; helping to develop attitudes of solidarity in matters, communities and nations; help develop knowledge and analytical skills; and foster participatory education.


Human rights education is learning that develops human rights knowledge, skills and values. This education establishes the responsibility, both of States and individuals, to respect, protect and promote the rights of all human beings, regardless of sex or gender, age, disability, ethnic or national origins, language or beliefs.

Human rights education comprises a set of methods that represent the intentions of the respective educational approach, that is since the realization of people’s rights and dignity are at the heart of human rights education, the educational approach must focus on the person. Training actions and seminars on human rights must take into account the concerns and needs of the participants, combining intellectual challenges with the development of skills and the shaping of attitudes.

In this context, the basis of human rights education should consist of four essential objectives: the transfer of knowledge and information (notion of human rights, human rights standards, protection of human rights, meaning of human rights in daily life and the work of the participants); the development of skills, that is, empowering participants to live, work and fulfil their tasks, respecting and implementing human rights, and developing their capacities such as communication, argumentation and debate, critical analysis, among others; the modification of attitudes, to clarify values, discover negative attitudes and accept new attitudes, reflect on the relativity of each one’s cultural and gender roles; and, finally, action, that is, the active transfer and implementation of human rights skills and awareness in daily life and work.

Education for human rights is thus essential for active citizenship in a democratic and pluralist society. Active and responsible citizens need to be able to think critically, make moral choices, take positions of principle on issues and plan democratic directions of action.

To be effective, human rights education must consist of two crucial objectives: learning about human rights and learning for human rights. Learning about human rights is an essentially cognitive process, including the history of human rights, documents in this area and mechanisms for implementation. In turn, education for human rights refers to the understanding and adoption of the principles of equality and human dignity and the commitment to respect and protect the rights of all.

In conclusion, human rights are highly inspiring and practical, representing the hopes and ideals of most human beings and empowering people to achieve them. And only through respect for the principles of human rights in your own life, can you finally lay the groundwork for a common existence and respect for the rights of others.



COMPASS (2015). Manual de Educación en los Derechos Humanos com Jóvenes. Available: https://rm.coe.int/compass-spanish-2015/168077bbdf

Deusdete de Carvalho, João (2016). “Educação em direitos humanos: possibilidades e contribuições à formação humana”. Available: https://jus.com.br/artigos/49804/educacao-em-direitos-humanos-possibilidades-e-contribuicoes-a-formacao-humana

Instituto Interamericano de Derechos Humanos (1999). Manual de Educación en Drechos Humanos. Available: https://www.iidh.ed.cr/IIDH/media/1921/manual-educacion-en-ddhh-niveles-1-y-2-1999.pdf

Moreira, Vital y Gomes, Carla de Marcelino (2012). Compreender os Direitos Humanos, Coimbra, Portugal.

Naciones Unidas (2004). “World Programme for Human Rights Education (2005–ongoing)”. Available: https://www.ohchr.org/documents/issues/education/training/infographic-wphre.pdf  


Written by: Maria Luisa Pereira

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