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INTRODUCING : SEMINAR/S ON ECONOMIC SOCIAL AND CULTURAL RIGHTS
WITH SOCIAL ECONOMIC JUSTICE ORGANIZATIONS TO MOBILIZE THEM
TO USE HUMAN RIGHTS FRAMEWORK IN THEIR SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC JUSTICE ACTIONS

PDHRE is offering facilitation and supervision to action oriented social and economic justice, community groups, for the purpose of facilitating seminar/s and manuals in order to engage non human rights organization in a dialogue about human rights and its relevance to people's daily lives and their struggle for economic and social justice. PDHRE's is playing a major role in facilitating the learning about human rights as a fully comprehensive, holistic framework applicable as a powerful tool to non human rights organizations and their concerns. Furthermore, the rich experience gained thus far in many communities around the world demonstrates that human rights education is a critical strategy for mobilization and action and for communities and individuals to gain a comprehensive systematic analysis, an imperative for social change.

PDHRE views these seminar/s and manuals as a first step towards developing an ongoing genuine process of learning human rights, to be implemented with, for and by local community activists who will assume the responsibility to introduce this process at the grassroots level. At the outset, PDHRE, proposes that the interconnectedness and indivisibility of human rights will be highlighted by demonstrating the interdependence of political , civil economic, social and cultural rights. And further, develop an analysis about human rights Commitments and Obligations undertaken by their own governments to enforce human rights. This could include discussions about "Poverty as a Human Rights Violation", (as in the UNDP Human Development Report) and the systemic obstacles to "progressive realization" assumed by Member Sates of the UN for all people to have access to: housing, food, education, work and healthcare.

The underlying purpose for promoting these local learning projects are for all women, men, youth and children to:

  • know human rights as a guide line for their participation in decision making,
  • claim these human rights in a world in which multi nationals and finical markets are assuming "rights" gaps that furthers the gap between the "haves" and "have nots" and widen the gap of dignity !!!

    --and most important :

  • develop actions that will demand that democracy becomes a delivery system of human rights, i.e. develop human rights communities that enforce and strengthen human rights democracies

In this context, the issues of food , housing, health care, gainful employment and education need to be understood as fundamental and inalienable human rights. In their struggle for social justice people must be made aware that their own government has agreed to enforce human rights and scrutinize their laws and policies accordingly. In the Economic Social and Cultural Covenant which more than 150 nations have ratified, governments have made a commitment to "progressive realization" of economic and social human rights, but the people hardly know about it.

It is expected that as a result of the learning and monitoring process, which will follow after the initial seminar/s take place, communities will work together to develop and present "alternative budgets" in which they requests and direct their governments, and other funding agencies, to provide funds that will accelerate progressive realization of economic and social human rights --and most important to assure that the humanity of all women, men, youth and children are respected and as needs to deeply understood: The realization of one human rights can violates another. Governments that do not abide by the legal Obligations and political Commitments they have made in the international arena can be deemed by their people: human rights violators!

1998, offers a special incentive for promoting this process as part of the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It is an important land mark to be utilized for the promotion of knowledge about the relevance of human rights, to people's daily lives, to encourage the change of attitudes, and for the internalization of the fact that all people are full owners of human rights as a birth right. Learning about human rights in this context gives a strong leverage to communities to join in their concerns and request that the Government who have signed the many treaties enforce them through laws, policies, allocation of resources and the working together to reshape relationships in the community, such as the issues of gender, marginalized people, youth, children to mention just a few issues of relationships.

To facilitate these seminars, PDHRE is reaching out to local organizations working on a wide array of concerns such as: labor, women, development, the environment, HIV- AIDS epidemic -that raises very distinct human rights issues- healthcare, migrant labor, refugees, education, literacy, adequate housing, food security, work at living wages, sanitation, clean water, disabilities and more.

Members of the groups who will be invited to participate in the seminar should be requested in advance of the meetings to share their specific social and economic justice concerns in writing. These narratives will be presented to the human rights resource people who will facilitate the discussions and dialogue. They will be exceed to use these narratives in the seminar to highlight commonalties and differences of their objectives, and to introduce the human rights framework elated to these concerns. It is proposed that the nature of the seminars will participatory, i.e. from their own narratives and historic memory learners understand the interconnectedness and interdependence of human rights.

The objectives of gathering a variety of participants from a large array of social justice groups in one seminar is to:

  • Enforce the awareness to the fact that systemic realization and/or violations of human rights are interconnected and interdependent,
  • Use their concerns to present a holistic view of human rights by introducing to the participants the specificities of norms and standards enunciated in the major Human Rights Treaties --underlying the imperatives imbedded in human rights international law for sustainable human development and as related to their daily activities.

The proposed design for these two-day seminars are as follows:

On the first day the participants will share their narratives and their expectations as to what they hope to "take back home" to make their efforts easier. The resource people will use this information to lead them into further discussions in which they may discover how to identify their issues as human rights issues in their narratives, and the possibilities that exist in using the human rights framework. This could lead to discussing the strategies of how specifically the human rights framework can be used to fight economic and social violations and how to promote the realization in a practical context.

Please note: Throughout the seminar, effort should be made to understand and relate to the social and economic violations imposed on many communities by the spread of globalization, and bi lateral and/or multilateral trade and investments agreements (such as MAI, and IMF & World Bank Structural Adjustments programs.)

On the second day, participants will collaborate to develop follow up activities, i.e. strategies and methodologies to support the integration of human rights learning in their work in the communities and/ or their specific constituencies.

Several such strategies can include:

  • the development of a human rights education "extension service",
  • a "human rights house" that will be responsible to give legal advice, develop manuals in local languages, hold community dialogues between villagers and local government, and conduct thematic human rights seminars. They could also decide, after the initial stage of introducing the learning about human rights has been accomplished and as a part of the learning process, request people monitor and document what they perceive to be the realization and/or violation of human rights in their community. These can be then presented at the "Town Meeting" for discussion, analysis and the planning of actions.

The Broad objectives as plans unfold for the community can get together to develop a plan of action as part of the UN Decade for Human Rights Education. The objective should be to create a multiplier effect that will "ripple" through the community from people to people, from generation to generation for all, through the learning about human rights to "walk with human rights".

The following five points could be emphasized and integrated in the discussions throughout the two-day seminar:

  1. Challenges and opportunities to consolidate actions for social justice with human rights issues.
  2. How human rights education can be used as a strategy for the realizing social economic and cultural rights.
  3. Understanding the diversity of, and "making the connections" about human rights and daily lives.
  4. Use indigenous resources , and narratives as available. This is to highlight wherever possible that the cultural heritage of the community had originally sought to guarantee human rights of its people, even though they do not call it as such, i.e. protect and promote human dignity.
  5. Furthermore it is important that cultural identity be equated with international human rights norms and standards, emphasizing through specific examples that these contain the articulation of their own aspirations. There is, therefore, a need to highlight that international human rights law re-affirms and strengthen what is already there in people's own cultures and behaviors.

    To achieve this purpose, needs, challenges and opportunities need to be identified and plans should be drawn to build efficient delivery system and capacity for the community to understand and act on achieving human rights.

    To start the process for evaluation and implementation, participants will be requested to develop pilot projects across the community. Development of resources will be assisted by PDHRE.

    Several other seminar outcomes may be considered, such as Trade Unions coming out with a Declaration for the 50th Anniversary of UDHR, such as: "Workers Rights are Human Rights" (Such a Declaration was a result of PDHRE's workshops with major trade unions in Chile followed up by a five day training of trainers seminar conducted by a PDHRE affiliate in Chile for local trade union leaders.)

    If this dialogue is dynamically introduced into the community, PDHRE will be glad to assist you in finding resources to take the next steps, develop thematic and regional projects that will take these ideas and actions further.

    We need to stress the importance that women as well as youth participate in this process

    Young people, the custodians of the 21st are searching for meaning and purpose. It is critical for youth as they weave their future, to engage their energies and become human rights educators in their communities.

    Furthermore, in PDHRE outreach, women's groups were found to be the best social actor in many countries and thus, excellent human rights educators. Paul Freire teaches us that out of the narratives of their struggles people learn to become social agents of social change. The women's movements provide a strong and effective arm for developing the learning about human rights across society. Summoning all forces activists will engage to learn and strategize how people can first learn about the norms and standards the international community has agreed upon, how to identify these norms and standards directly and simply and what, in principle, are the commitment and obligations the government has undertaken to fulfill.

    The fact is that all governments want to show that they are POLITICALLY CORRECT as they "SPEAK" human rights for "export" purposes but hardly enforce them at home.. On the other had if people do not know about this great promise of the 20th Century human rights will be drowned in its rhetoric. (Imposed ignorance is a human rights violations). The human rights language is the most important and powerful language available to us.

    PDHRE's educational process does not look to enumerate violations but to look at the process of that will bring about the realization of justice within a human rights framework. We Invite you to join this exciting process!!

    At the close of this paper we wish to remind you that the High Commissioner of Human Rights had requested every UN Member Nation to implement national plans for human rights education, as a follow up of the Vienna plan of action, being revisited; and the UN Decade of Human Rights Education , 1995-2004. This an excellent entry point for communication and action.


    For more information, please contact PDHRE:

    The People's Movement for Human Rights Education (PDHRE) / NY Office
    Shulamith Koenig / Executive Director
    526 West 111th Street, New York, NY 10025, USA
    tel: +1 212.749-3156; fax: +1 212.666-6325
    e-mail: pdhre@igc.org