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People's Decade of Human Rights Education


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About the People's Movement for Human Rights Learning

About PDHRE | Our Thinking | Board of Directors, Advisor, & Staff | Regional Offices | Photo Album

FYI  --ABOUT PDHRE  - General background information


                  For all women and men to know human rights and claim  them as a way of life.


            PDHRE, People's Movement for Human Rights Learning, formerly The People’s Decade for Human Rights Education,  is an independent, international, non-profit organization promoting, enhancing and providing learning about human rights as relevant to people's daily lives at all levels of society, that leads to action. PDHRE was established in 1988 in an effort to respond to the unmet need for Human Rights Learning at the grassroots level that needed this knowledge and strategy the most as a powerful tool for action. Since then, PDHRE has conducted and/or facilitated Human Rights Learning and training at the community level in more than 60 countries, and produced a unique range of written and audio-visual pedagogical materials to support learning and dialogue for socio-economic transformation. PDHRE was instrumental in the creation of the United Nations Decade for Human Rights Education (1995 – 2004) and is committed to create a process by which all will know human rights towards social and economic transformation.  PDHRE is convinced that imposed ignorance is a human rights violation and the learning about human rights as a way of life is an imperative for meaningful human, social and economic development. There is none other…-- to break thought the vicious cycle of humiliation. 


            PDHRE and its affiliates in Latin America, Africa, Eastern and Western Europe, North America, and Asia, work as human rights ‘extension services’ in culturally diverse communities to stimulate develops and facilitates a wide variety of grassroots programs and projects, where people learn about human rights as a way of life and claim them. Its trainers introduce human rights in a comprehensive and integrated way to local concerns and expectations with a special focus on economic, social and cultural rights, gender equality and non discrimination. Over the years PDHRE has built up a network of human rights educators and activists worldwide, an award-winning web site and learning materials for a variety of target groups. In its community work, PDHRE reaches out to local community leaders, introducing them to the holistic human rights framework as related to their specific concerns, and strives towards a systemic analysis critical thinking to assure economic and social justice. To achieve this vision, and mission PDHRE is facilitating the development of Human Rights Cities around the world where communities learn to use the holistic framework of human rights to re imagine and reconstruct the lives of all women, men, youth and children—joining in societal development—belonging in community in dignity with others.


            To expand this work, and to argue its imperative, PDHRE has been actively promoting a dialogue about the holistic vision of human rights at the UN, as deputy of the NGO Committee on Human Rights. Within these activities, it has promoted with the government of Benin, and cosponsored by more than 100 countries, adopted without a vote, the UN GA Resolution A/RES/63/173, The International Year of Human Rights Learning. This is an important achievement for the long and rich experience that PDHRE can offer to the world. It is now promoting a five-regional plan to implement the resolution, starting with 25 countries. This will lead to the beginning of a process of learning and dialogue at the community level, that will have in 10 to 15 years all women, men, youth and children know human rights as a way of life, as relevant to their daily lives guided by the holistic human rights framework.

PDHRE is recognized all over the world in its commitment to have human rights a way of life, defining human rights in a new, positive and proactive way, towards the full realization of human rights for all. For this work the organization's founder, Shulamith Koenig, received the 2003 UN Human Rights Award. This award was given to Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela among 35 others that have received it during the last 35 years.


            The PDHRE Board of Directors issued a Global Appeal for Human Rights Learning, which can be viewed at: http://www.pdhre.org/global-appeal.html , including its highly-acclaimed signatories from around the world. More information about the organization, its activities and publications can be found at: http://www.pdhre.org/ .


The commitment of PDHR is to facilitate the development a new political culture based on Human Rights—moving from charity to dignity…-- human rights as the banks of the river in which life can flow freely…-- and when the floods come the knowledge and ownership of human rights become a powerful tool in the hands of people to strengthen the banks and have life continue to flow freely with choice and dignity.

About PDHRE | Our Thinking | Board & Staff | Regional Offices | | Photo Album

A Brief Introduction To Our Thinking

More than any other moral language available at this time in history, the language of human rights is able to expose "the immorality and ...barbarism of the modern face of power... We cannot take rights seriously without taking suffering seriously..." (- Upendra Baxi, Human Rights and Inhuman Wrongs) Poverty, warfare, environmental degradation, the deleterious effects of globalization, discrimination, disease, illiteracy, and labor exploitation are just some of the threats bearing down on our right to be human — to live in security and dignity.

Yet, every one of the horrors and threats confronting humanity today could be fought on the grounds of its being in violation of the human rights declared in the Universal Declaration of 1948. The rights set down in this and other international covenants, declarations, and conventions create a space from which a multitude of struggles to improve the welfare of individuals and communities around the world can spring.

We therefore seek to provide a framework for serious global debate among groups working for social and economic justice, and their constituencies, who may not yet have identified their experiences and goals with the rights stated in international human rights documents and the enunciations of the major UN-sponsored world conferences. We also seek to engage human rights-identified organizations in the just and balanced promotion of economic, social, and cultural rights along with civil and political rights.

Ten Guiding Principles for Human Rights in Society

PDHRE derives its mandate to promote human rights Learning  from an underlying conception of human rights in society reflected in the following ten points:

1.    Contemporary enunciations of human rights standards echo people's struggles. Diverse human rights movements are flourishing worldwide and the moral heroism of victims indicates future paths of struggle.

2.    The human right of individuals, groups, associations, and nations to learning human rights is an individual and collective human right-- as a way of life. 

3.    Human rights learning aims to achieve universal commitment to the dignity and worth of each human person. It should be a collective endeavor of all individuals and agencies; it should be participatory and an exemplary practice of the virtues it proselytizes for others.

4.    The evils that have plagued humankind from time immemorial persist, among which are injustice, exploitation, patriarchy, impoverishment, tyranny, civil strife, genocide, catastrophic state failures, and calamitous abuses of power. Their persistence produces humiliation and despair, but it also spurs action for change, and learning human rights as a ay of life can help to define this social transformation.

5.    Human rights learning has to reinforce the human right to peace, which includes the human right to a denuclearized earth, immunity from all weapons of mass destruction and the armament process, and the human rights of all to benefit from peaceful uses of science and technology.

6.    Genocidal practices are the most massive form of human rights violations, and every human being should be empowered through human rights learning  to delegitimize, expose, and undermine the very possibility of the emergence of such practices everywhere.

7.    Women's human rights are now fully recognized. Human rights learning must empower struggle against all forms of patriarchy everywhere and accelerate the full accomplishment of a world based on respect for the dignity of all women.

8.    Dignity of labor is an ineluctable aspect of human interdependence, social cooperation, and just development. Human rights education must aim to promote conditions which foster respect for the inherent dignity of human labor and the rights of workers.

9.    The mission and the mandate of human rights learning extends to the creation and development of cultures of human rights wherein the basic material and non-material needs of all human beings are met and all victims of historic discrimination, including indigenous peoples, excluded peoples, and ethnic minorities stand redressed.

10. The Decade for Human Rights Education and now the process called for by the UN is intended to have people working together to build stronger solidarities in struggle whose collective conscience is transformed by the message of dignity and equal worth of every individual person. The dedication of nation-states and the United Nations system to human rights education is a first step. But each individual human being has a stake in human rights learning as an empowering and inspirational strategy for the pursuit of an improved common future.

Day after day human rights are given new life by the experiences and efforts of communities to recognize and claim their right to live in dignity and security. Law, which is born of struggle, opens spaces for creative social action, and we must be careful not to underestimate its importance.

Behind the thicket of human rights norms and standards and procedures there lies the recognition of our shared dignity as a human being and of the things that endanger this dignity. The body of law organized around the Universal Declaration of Human Rights specifically deals with the nonnegotiable conditions of being fully human. As long as a single human being is unable to express the highest potential of what it means to be human, all of our human rights are imperiled.

Learning about human rights as a way of life  is a way of clearing and preparing the ground for reclaiming and securing our right to be human. It is learning about justice and empowering people in the process. It is a social and human development strategy that enables women, men, and children to become agents of social change. It can produce the blend of ethical thinking and action needed to cultivate public policies based on human rights and opens the possibility of creating a human rights culture for the 21st century.

Our ultimate goal is to show through shared learning and dialogue why the space created by human rights norms and standards should not be negated. Rather the space opened by human rights law can be used to engender social, economic, and political changes at the local, national, and international level that serve to reclaim and secure the most comprehensive and fundamental of human rights, morally and politically, -- the right to be human -- moving charity to dignity for all.  

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About PDHRE | Our Thinking | Board of Directors, Advisor & Staff | Regional Offices | Photo Album

People's Decade of Human Rights Education
A World Movement


Elected Presidium

Susana Chiarotti
President of CLADEM, a Latin American 17 country women's network- Argentina

Virginia B. Dandan
Chairperson, United Nations Committee on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights, Philippines.

Peter Leuprecht
Elected President, Austria/Canada
Dean Faculty of Law, McGill University, Canada; formerly Director of human rights and Deputy to SG, Council of Europe. UN Rapporteur on Cambodia. 

Adama Samassekou
Former Minister of Basic Education, Republic of Mali, President PDHRE/ Africa, President of Preparatory Committee for the UN World Summit on the Information Society, Mali.

Executive Committee

Kamal Hossain
Elected Vice President, Bangladesh
Lawyer, Former Foreign Minister of Bangladesh. Rapporteur on Pakistan.

Betty Reardon
Vice President
Founding Member. Prof. of Peace & HR Education, Teachers College, Columbia University.

Stephen Marks
Elected Secretary
François-Xavier Bagnoud Professor of Health and Human Rights, Harvard School of Public Health. Formerly Prof. of HR Int'l. Law and UN Studies, Columbia Univ.  and Human Rights Division UNESCO.

Daniel Solomon
Elected Treasurer, USA.
Founding Member. Lawyer- Labor law expert and donor.

Board Members

Neshad R. Asllani, MD
Paul Harris Fellow, Assistant District Governor, D-2481, Kosova

Upendra Baxi
Philosopher of Law and writer. Prof. of Law, Warwick University, Formerly Vice Chancellor Delhi University, India/UK.

Wolfgang Benedek
Professor, Director ETC, European Training Center for Human Rights and Democracy, Graz, Austria, Partner of PDHRE Europe

Fantu Cheru
Professor of African and Development Studies. American University, Washington DC. UN Rapporteur on Structural Adjustments and Debt, Ethiopia/USA.

Ivanka Corti
Former Chair of CEDAW and currently member of CEDAW, Italy

Satya Das
Author and human rights advocate, public policy consultant, Canada.

Cees Flinterman
Professor of International Human Rights, International Law, Netherlands.

Richard Goldstone
Justice, Constitutional Court of South Africa.

Iva Kaufman
A founding member of PDHRE, Media Consultant- New York

Miloon Kothari
Habitat International Coalition, Chair of the Committee on eviction & housing, UN Rapporteur on Housing, India.

Walter Lichem
Director, UN Office of the Foreign Ministry of Austria, Former Ambassador of Austria to Canada, Formerly of UNDP, Austria.

Orly Lubin
Associate Professor, Chair of the Department of Poetics and Comparative Literature, Chair of MSJW Women Study Forum, Tel Aviv University, Israel.

Kathleen Modrowski
Professor, Social Anthropologist, Long Island University, NY, USA.

Jean-Louis Roy
President Right and Democracy, International Center for Human Rights and Democratic Development, Montreal, Canada.

Elsa Stamatopoulou
Director, Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, UN Office, New York, Greece/USA.

Danilo Turk
Assistant Secretary General of the United Nations for Political affairs. Former Ambassador of Slovenia to the UN. Law Professor, Slovenia.

Burns H. Weston
Bessie Dutton Murray Distinguished Professor of Law Emeritus and Director, The University of Iowa Center for Human Rights, USA


Shulamith Koenig
Founding President, Israel/USA.

Robert Kesten
Executive Director, USA.

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About PDHRE | Our Thinking | Board of Directors, Advisor & Staff | Regional Offices | Photo Album

PDHRE Regional Offices

PDHRE- Latin America. This Regional Office is in collaboration with:


The Institute of Gender, Law and Development in Rosario Argentina, promotes women's rights through law and policy reform and works to bring about the domestic application of international human rights norms for the achievements of women’s rights. The institute conducts on-going seminars and training on cultural, civil, economic, political and social human rights from a gender perspective, and promotes advocacy and action on these issues as related to women’s lives.

Contact Person: Ms Susana Chiarotti
Rosario, Argentina
Tel/Fax: +54 341 4370 874
Email: insgenar@tau.org.ar


PDHRE- South Asia. This Regional Office in collaboration with:


YUVA, based in Mumbai and Nagpur, India, is dedicated to educating and empowering street children and developing advocacy and policy on the issue of child labour. Over the years it has worked with more then 40,00 children, training youth to develop self-help educational programs, support groups, and hotlines on issues of heath and child labour. It also conducts training for marginalized groups such as the Dalit people in slum areas, focusing on systemic change towards poverty alleviation with a special focus on women’s issues in these communities.

Contact Person: Mr. Minar Pimple
YUVA, Mumbai, India
Tel: +91.22.414 3498/ 4155250, fax: +91-22-413 5314
Email: yuva@vsnl.com
Web: http://www.yuvaindia.org 


PDHRE-Africa. This Regional Office, was newly established in Bamako, Mali, on June 22, 2000, for the purpose of promoting Human Rights Education, in particular through the creation of the Institut Africain d' Apprentissage de l' Education aux Droits Humains /African Learning Institute for Human Rights Education (INAFAEDH/ALIHRE)

Leadership of the team includes several members who participated actively in the creation of the national initiative. Its goal is the promotion of HRE using the "PDHRE approach", and taking into account Malian and African realities and positive values, in particular the values of solidarity, sharing and consensus.

Mr. Adama Samassekou, former Minister of Basic Education, is the President of PDHRE/DPEDH-Mali and assumes the responsibility of establishing the National Institute for the INAFAEDH/ALIHRE.

The leadership of the organization includes several of the original participants in the creation of the national initiative.  Mr. Adama Samassekou, until recently Minister of Basic Education, has been named director of PDHRE Mali and will be responsible for establishing ALIHRE.

Contact Person: Adama Samassekou
PDHRE Mali/ Africa
BP E 214, Bamako, Mali
Tel/Fax: (223) 23 16 63
Mobile: (223) 77 48 70
Email: samass_pdhre@hotmail.com


PDHRE- Europe.  In partnership with ETC European Training and Research Centre for Human Rights and Democracy

Contact Person: Prof. Wolfgang Benedeck
Schubertstrasse 29,
A-8010 Graz, Austria.
tel.: 0043 316 380 3419, fax: 0043 316 380 9455
e-mail: gerd.oberleitner@kfunigraz.ac.at 


PDHRE- South East Asia and Pacific is now in formation. The creation of the PDHRE office has been undertaken by Member of the PDHRE Board and Chairperson of the ESCR Committee.

Contact Person: Virginia B. Dandan
15 A Bautista, U.P. Campus
University of Philippines
Diliman, Quezon City 1101
Tel: (632) 434-6981 (work) Tel: (632) 926-1110 (home)
Fax: (632) 434-7981
Email: vbdsline@vasia.com


For more information, please contact PDHRE:

The People's Movement for Human Rights Learning (PDHRE) / NY Office
526 West 111th St. Suite 4E,
New York, NY 10025, USA
Tel: 1-212-749-3156 * Fax 1-212-666-6325
e-mail: pdhre@igc.org

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