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Human Rights Education in schools: A Guide to Understanding

Human Rights Education is a crucial aspect of empowering individuals and communities to promote and protect their fundamental human rights. It is a process of learning, disseminating, and applying knowledge and skills related to human rights to foster social justice, equality, and respect for diversity.

School children holding placards protesting against the treatment of Uighur Muslims in China.

Image: One of RFK Human Rights UK's Speak Truth To Power schools stage a protest in the local community in support of the Uighur Muslims facing human rights abuses in China.

Why is Human Rights Education important?

Human Rights Education plays a vital role in promoting and protecting human rights. It helps individuals and communities to understand their rights and responsibilities, to recognise and challenge discrimination and injustice, and to participate actively in social, economic, and political life. Human Rights Education also fosters critical thinking, empathy, and respect for diversity, which are essential values for building a just and peaceful world.

What are the goals of Human Rights Education?

The goals of Human Rights Education are to:

  • Enhance knowledge and understanding of human rights principles, standards, and mechanisms

  • Develop skills to promote and protect human rights, including communication, advocacy, and activism

  • Foster attitudes of respect, empathy, and tolerance towards individuals and groups with diverse backgrounds and identities

  • Promote social justice, equality, and non-discrimination in all spheres of life

  • Empower individuals and communities to claim and exercise their human rights

Female student stands up in group to deliver her speech.

Image: RFK Human Rights UK and Loudspeaker Live host a public speaking and confidence workshop to support young people on our Speak Truth To Power programme to speak up for their human rights.

What are the methods of Human Rights Education?

Human Rights Education can take various forms, depending on the target group, the context, and the objectives. Some of the common methods of Human Rights Education include:

  • Formal education, such as school curricula, textbooks, and teacher training programs

  • Non-formal education, such as workshops, seminars, and training programs for youth, women, minorities, and other vulnerable groups

  • Community-based education, such as awareness-raising campaigns, public events, and cultural activities

  • Media-based education, such as documentaries, films, and online resources

  • Advocacy and campaigning, such as lobbying, petitions, and social media campaigns


A colourful display shows a painted illustration of school children holding placards reading 'love one another' and 'we are all equal' alongside a rainbow, planet with trees on it and a black lives matter logo.

Image: Display made by students at Speak Truth To Power school, Sacred Heart Primary School.

How do we teach Human Rights Education?

Here are RFK Human Rights UK we provide free school resources, teacher training and unique opportunities for young people to participate in workshops and events.

We give schools the tools to discuss key issues that are important to their local community. Teachers can teach these sessions in a range of subjects; from art, history, music and drama. Discover how you can bring human rights education into your school.

Female student dressed up as Josephine Baker holds a book open on a page describing who Josephine Baker was.

Image: Pupil at Speak Truth To Power school, Sacred Heart, dressed as Josephine Baker for Human Rights Heroes Day 2022.

Human Rights Education is a crucial tool for promoting and protecting human rights, fostering social justice, and building a culture of peace and respect. By enhancing knowledge, developing skills, and fostering attitudes of respect and empathy, Human Rights Education empowers individuals and communities to claim and exercise their human rights and to challenge discrimination and injustice. We must continue to invest in Human Rights Education at all levels and in all spheres of life to ensure a better future for all.

Discover how you can make an impact in the lives of young people.


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