Human rights are an inherent part of every individual. They are the outcome of long struggles and achievements. Responding to the necessity to counter - and in the future prevent - the tragic effects of genocide, war, economic depression, nationalism and colonialism, they were engraved in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as "a common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations". Then, they carried the hope for freedom, justice and peace in the world. Today, they are often questioned, attacked, dismissed and violated. But they still stand to remind us that “we are all born equal and free in dignity and rights”.
Promoting and protecting human rights is yet a work in progress. Much still needs to be done, but we can build on the concrete improvements and achievements that human rights have already allowed over the years. We can defend cases, advocate for change and bring about progress on the basis of legal instruments and mechanisms: laws, institutions, courts. We can face challenges with the strength of the benefits that have been demonstrated around the world: greater freedom and democracy; better health, education, and standards of living. To continue our efforts, we need information, education, awareness and action. This course provides you with a solid basis to understand, know and stand up for human rights.
Module 1 focuses on the international framework of human rights promotion and protection. In particular, it summarily explains standards, mechanisms, benefits and challenges in the current set up, especially at the United Nations level.
Module 2 is dedicated to regional perspectives on the standards, mechanisms, benefits and challenges in five regions of the world: Africa, the Americas, the Arab World, Asia Pacific, and Europe. In so doing, it specifically analyses the links with the international framework and the distinctive features of each geographical area.