International Human Rights Education Conference

International Human Rights Education Conference

International Human Rights Activists, Education Experts and Practitioners from across the globe will convene at the 2nd International Conference on Human Rights Education (IHRE) to scrutinise international human rights education issues. The conference will be hosted by the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s Faculty of Law from 14 to 16 November 2011 at the Royal Hotel, Durban.

“Celebrating Diversity and Achieving Social Justice through Human Rights Education,” is the theme of the 2nd IHRE Conference. The 1st IHRE conference was hosted by the University of Western Sydney in 2010.

Officials and experts from governments and international/regional institutions with a focus on human rights, as well as judges, scholars, lawyers, students and human rights activists are amongst the delegates that will attend the conference.

The main aims of the Conference are to support and promote the United Nations (UN) objectives on Human Rights Education (HRE) which include: the promotion of the role of HRE in the advancement of good governance; to foster HRE across the African continent and to build networks amongst stakeholders; the exploration of the role of HRE in advancement of the rights of vulnerable groups; and the interrogation of the role of HRE in promoting cultural diversity and accommodating traditional value systems.

The plenary session on 14 November will be addressed by prominent human rights education experts and practitioners including Professor Frans Viljoen, Director of the Centre for Human Rights at the University of Pretoria who will deliver a paper titled: “Human Rights Education from a Multi-disciplinary Perspective.” Viljoen has published extensively on human rights issues and he is the editor of the African Human Rights Law Reports and the African Human Rights Law Journal.

“Educating Everyone? Prejudice, Terror and the Reservoirs of Hate,” is the title of a keynote address by Professor Malcolm Langford, Director of the Socio-Economic Rights Programme at the Norwegian Centre for Human Rights at the University of Oslo. Langford has many years of experience working on human rights issues in various capacities in different parts of the world, including for international non-governmental organisations, national human rights institutions, UN agencies and local community organisations. He is a seasoned publisher on human rights issues, particularly in the context of poverty and development.

Former Commissioner of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Ms Yasmin Sooka, Executive Director of the Foundation for Human Rights in South Africa, will also address the delegates. In 2002 Sooka was appointed by the United Nations as one of three international commissioners to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Sierra Leone where she served until 2004. In 2010, she was appointed by the Secretary General to the United Nations to serve on a Panel of Experts advising the Secretary General on accountability for war crimes committed during the final stages of the war in Sri Lanka.

Sooka has also assisted the Governments of Ghana, Liberia and Timor-Leste on the setting up of Transitional bodies such as Truth Commissions. She has also consulted to the UN on Transitional Justice in Afghanistan, Burundi, Kenya, Nepal and Uganda. She also serves as a Board Member of the Desmond Tutu Peace Centre in Cape Town.

Other research topics to be covered include: Education for a Human Rights Culture; Strategies for Educating about Human Rights; Human Rights, Cultural Diversity and Vulnerable Groups; HRE and Sustainable Development; HRE and HIV/AIDS; and HRE and Good Governance.

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