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Newsletter on Human Rights Education
and Education for Democracy
Published by the DARE project and the DARE network

Year 5, issue 2 (18 March 2008)
Deadline for contributions for the next issue: 16 June 08
Publication: 30 June 08


 Table of contents

1. Welcome address of the new DARE chair
2. Introduction of Deyana Kurchieva, new DARE network assistant
3. Are economic and social rights real human rights?
4. Taking stock of EDC in adult education in Europe
5. 8 new interactive websites on children's rights

Editorial


 1. Welcome address of the new DARE chair

Dear DARE Network members and friends,

It is a great honour for me to be elected as the new Chair of the DARE-Network Board. It is not an easy task following such a successful chairwoman as Hannelore Chiout, but I shall try my best to strengthen DARE as a highly efficient international network that provides support to the European community of values through its educational work and aims at strengthening the democracy and human rights throughout the European community.

As all of you are part of the success of DARE, I highly appreciate your past, current, and future contributions to its international activities. I am convinced that the Dare - Network possesses enormous potential for an attractive future and trust you to use these opportunities to the full.

Along with its many other functions, one of the most important goals of DARE is to promote a deeper understanding and commitment to human rights and democracy through education. On behalf of the DARE - Network Board, I would like to thank all DARE members for your contribution and devotion to this work and for you involvement in achieving our mutual goals.
I look forward to working together with you to keep up the momentum that we have built up till now.

Daniela Kolarova, Partners Bulgaria

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 2. Introduction of Deyana Dimitrova Kurchieva, new DARE network assistant

Since 1 January 2008 the DARE network has its first employee. Deyana Dimitrova Kurchieva works at Partners Bulgaria as coordinating assistant for the DARE Network. Deyana was born on 25.01.1973 in Sofia, Bulgaria, where she currently lives and works.

She has studied and lived in the USA for six years, where she received the BA in psychology. In 1997 she was accepted in the Master's Programme in Clinical Social Work at New Bulgarian University in Sofia, where she eventually worked as an administrator and an Acting Deputy Director.

Since 2003 Deyana has been employed at Partners Bulgaria Foundation and participated in and coordinated more than 5 projects related to children at risk. She has extensive experience in collaboration with international organizations and in working on projects related to vulnerable groups and specifically to children at risk.

Deyana Dimitrova Kurchieva, Partners Bulgaria

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 3. Are economic and social rights real human rights?

Economic, social and cultural rights were not taken up in the same international treaty as the civil and political rights are, though both international treaties were adopted at the same time, in 1966. When we take a closer look at both texts of these covenants, we find some important differences with respect to the binding nature of them.

Article 2 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights:

Each State Party to the present Covenant undertakes to take steps, individually and through international assistance and co-operation, especially economic and technical, to the maximum of its available resources, with a view to achieving progressively the full realization of the rights recognized in the present Covenant by all appropriate means, including particularly the adoption of legislative measures.


From article 2 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights:

1. Each State Party to the present Covenant undertakes to respect and to ensure to all individuals within its territory and subject to its jurisdiction the rights recognized in the present Covenant, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.

2. Where not already provided for by existing legislative or other measures, each State Party to the present Covenant undertakes to take the necessary steps, in accordance with its constitutional processes and with the provisions of the present Covenant, to adopt such laws or other measures as may be necessary to give effect to the rights recognized in the present Covenant.

From “Duties sans Frontières. Human rights and global social justice” (2003, International Council on Human Rights Policy, pdf, page 20):

The status of economic, social and cultural rights in relation to political and civil rights has at times been subject to disagreement. It is often argued that the former cannot be enforced in the same way; and that they are aspirational because in many societies it would be prohibitively expensive to implement them. It is also claimed that wide disparities in living standards between countries mean that they cannot be guaranteed; and that courts cannot (or should not) adjudicate such rights because this would lead to judicial interference in government budget decisions.

About the equality and indivisibility of all human rights, the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action, resulting from the World Conference on Human Rights (1993), is clear:

All human rights are universal, indivisible and interdependent and interrelated. The international community must treat human rights globally in a fair and equal manner, on the same footing, and with the same emphasis. While the significance of national and regional particularities and various historical, cultural and religious backgrounds must be borne in mind, it is the duty of States, regardless of their political, economic and cultural systems, to promote and protect all human rights and fundamental freedoms.

States have the duty to report regularly about their implementation of economic and social rights. From the website of the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights:

All States parties are obliged to submit regular reports to the Committee on how the rights are being implemented. States must report initially within two years of accepting the Covenant and thereafter every five years. The Committee examines each report and addresses its concerns and recommendations to the State party in the form of “concluding observations”.

The State Reports and the Concluding Observations/Comments can be found at: > Convention: CESCR; Type: State Party Report, or Concluding Observations/Comments

The Mission Statement of the The International Network for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ESCR-Net):

The International Network for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ESCR-Net) is a collaborative initiative of groups and individuals from around the world working to secure economic and social justice through human rights. ESCR-Net seeks to strengthen the field of all human rights, with a special focus on economic, social and cultural rights, and further develop the tools for achieving their promotion, protection and fulfillment. Through ESCR-Net, groups and individuals can exchange information, develop a collective voice, amplify their actions, develop new tools and strategies. By facilitating joint actions, enhancing communications and building solidarity across regions, the network seeks to build a global movement to make human rights and social justice a reality for all.

About the possibility and difficulties of a complaint procedure for economic, social and cultural rights, Wouter Vandenhole wrote (in: Netherlands quarterly of human rights ; vol. 21, no. 3):

With the entry into force of the Optional Protocol to CEDAW in 2000, four of the six main UN human rights treaties are now complemented with an individual complaints procedure. The proposal to establish an individual complaints mechanism for economic, social and cultural rights (ESCR) meets with considerable political opposition. Progress has been jeopardised by an ongoing discussion on the nature of ESCR, which are still very often considered as second-class human rights. It is submitted here that the two main issues of debate - justiciability and the nature of the obligations of States - have been sufficiently clarified in recent years in order to allow for individual complaints. Ongoing reluctance to establish an individual complaints procedure for ESCR can therefore no longer convincingly be based on legal motives. A new impetus to the debate on the establishment of an individual complaints procedure for ESCR was given in 2001, with the appointment of an independent expert, and in 2003, with the establishment of an open-ended working group. The suggested amendments to the draft for an Optional Protocol as prepared by the ESCR-Committee in 1996, may assist the working group in bringing the draft Optional Protocol in line with changed circumstances since 1996, with particular reference to the OP-CEDAW.

Human Rights Watch has its policy on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights:

Human Rights Watch considers that economic, social, and cultural rights are an integral part of the body of international human rights law, with the same character and standing as civil and political rights. We conduct research and advocacy on economic, social, and cultural rights using the same methodology that we use with respect to civil and political rights and subject to the same criteria, namely, the ability to identify a rights violation, a violator, and a remedy to address the violation.

From the Amnesty International webpage about Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights:

Everyone, everywhere has the right to live with dignity. The means that no one should be denied their rights to education, adequate housing, food, water and sanitation, the highest attainable standard of health, and other economic, social and cultural rights.

Since the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948, the international community has recognized that all human rights are indivisible.

However, while economic, social and cultural rights were marginalized for much of the 20th century, now larger numbers of individuals and organizations are acting to reclaim these rights. Nevertheless, still greater efforts are needed to ensure the respect, protection and fulfilment of these rights for everyone, everywhere.
For more than 45 years, Amnesty International has mobilized millions of people around the world.


Wim Taelman, VORMEN vzw (Belgium)

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 4. Taking stock of EDC in adult education in Europe

The Stocktaking Study on Lifelong Learning For Democratic Citizenship through Adult Education (LLL - EDC-Study)

How can adults develop competencies relevant for democratic citizenship in Europe? This was the guiding question of the LLL-EDC stocktaking study made by researchers from 7 European Universities, EAEA and the DARE-Network. The stocktaking study focuses on research, policies and practices of Adult Education for Democratic Citizenship and offers currently the most up to date overview in EDC research, policy and practice in 9 European countries.

The study aims at collecting evidence and providing an analytical review at European level of policies, which intervene in the field of Adult Education for Democratic Citizenship, and educational interventions, which have proved effective to nurture democratic citizenship among adults. It also strengthens evidence-based policy making and advocacy in the field of adult learning for democratic citizenship on local, national and European levels (e.g. EU Lisbon process).

Data gathering

The study combines empirical collections of data and events (i.e. consultations with practitioners, etc.). It's scope is collaborative and transnational, linking research, policy and practice.

The primary outcomes of the study are national reports released during the project period. These reports are combined and summarised in three transnational analysis. One can find them on the web, following the
link to the LLL-EDC study. Later this year a concluding report that will be released by Soren Ehlers who coordinated the project at the University of Aarhus/Danish School of education.

Results

Research: From the study of research literature, the study reveals that cultural heritage plays a central role to current trends in Adult Education for Democratic Citizenship (AEDC); thus different conceptualisations coexist between and within countries. However, AEDC it is not a well-defined area of research, especially empirical research is sparse. Furthermore, scholarly knowledge rarely enters policy circles. In brief, the findings highlights that, in spite of a general concern on citizens´ democratic conduct, there is still limited attention on how to nurture democratic participation via adult education.

Policy: The study provides an account of the present trends in, as well as the factors that influence, policy and implementation with respect to lifelong learning and Adult Education for Democratic Citizenship. It will also look at the socio-political contexts, the main agents and factors in the process of policy-making, and the way in which policies are implemented in the nine countries in the study.

Practices analysis: The study includes the analysis of some 25 EDC -related practices. While these practices are not necessarily representative for the countries involved in the study or for Europe at large, they provide interesting insights into a broad scope of initiatives addressing diverse topics and audiences and applying a variety of approaches and methods. It is this diversity of practices which in its collectivity represents Adult Education for Democratic Citizenship - often without being declared or recognised as such - rather than a specific course on this subject.

All national reports, additional material and transnational analysis can be found on the
website of the project.
The study was granted by the EC/Grundtvig 1.

Georg Pirker,
Arbeitskreis deutscher Bildungssttätten (Germany)

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 5. Eight new interactive websites on children's rights  (language: Dutch)

VORMEN is proud to announce its 8 brand new interactive websites on children's rights for 8 distinctive target groups:

www.rechtisnietkrom.be: for 14-15 year old students in technical secondary education
www.overmogenenmoeten.be: for 14-15 year old students in special education
www.enwijdan.be: for 14-15 year old pupils in vocational education
www.ikenjijenzij.be: for 10-12 year old students in primary education
www.kinderenhebbenrechten.be: for adults in classes for low educated people
www.watzijnkinderrechten.be: for (formal) adult education
www.tsjildrensraits.be: for students in teacher training institutes
www.derechtenvankinderen.be: for students in social higher education (not yet on line? a little patience...)

The educational and interactive websites make use of short movies, pictures,... They use 'dragging' exercises and short questions which make the participants 'win' or 'loose' rights. They have puzzles, cartoons and short 'personality tests'.
Most af them can be visited through a demo. For full visit a registration is needed. Teachers can then monitor the activity of their pupils. A manual with technical support, background information and correct solutions can be downloaded by the teacher after registration.
More information (in Dutch)


The websites are produced with the support of the Flemish government.

Wim Taelman, VORMEN vzw (Belgium)

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 Editorial

This newsletter is edited by the DARE project 'Democracy and Human Rights Education in Adult Learning', which receives funding from the European Community (Lifelong Learning Programme).

e-DARE is an initiative of the network DARE vzw, Democracy and Human Rights Education in Europe, and is distributed to the partners of the above mentioned project, to the DARE members and to interested third persons, organisations and institutions.

The authors remain responsible for the content of their contribution.

Editor: Wim Taelman
Address: DARE vzw, c/o
VORMEN vzw, Lange Gasthuisstraat 29, B-2000 Antwerp (Belgium)

Contributions for this newsletter can be sent to
wim.taelman@vormen.org

Subscribe: Persons, organisations and institutions who are interested in e-DARE can subscribe to it by adding their e-mail address at http://vormen.org/cgi-bin/dada/mail.cgi/list/eDARE
 


 

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