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Samarkand action plan for the development of human rights education

Samarkand, at the crossroads between the Great Silk Road and China, is once again a hub for global initiatives. The Global Forum “Human Rights Education” took place in this historic city. This prestigious international forum was initiated by the President of Uzbekistan during the 76th session of UN General Assembly and 46th session of UN Human Rights Council. Over 120 international experts participated in the Global Forum. They included high-ranking officials from over 30 countries, experts in human rights education, and representatives of 15 international and regional organisations.

Education in human rights is essential to promote universal respect for and universal observance. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights Article 26 states that every person has the right of education. Education should aim to develop the individual and increase respect for fundamental freedoms and human rights.

Human rights education‘s goal is to make the world a place where all rights are respected and understood. Education should encourage understanding, tolerance, friendship, and peace among all races, religions, and UN peacekeeping activities.

In 1993, the World Conference on Human Rights was held in Vienna. It was established that human rights education is crucial for the establishment and maintenance of harmonious and sustainable relations between countries as well as for the promotion and preservation of peace, understanding, tolerance, and mutual understanding. In 1994, the UN General Assembly declared the 1995-2004 period the United Nations Decade for Human Rights Education. It called for all countries to encourage education, dissemination, and information to build a universal culture.


The United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Education and Training was adopted by the United Nations in 2011. It states that all people have the right to seek, obtain, and receive information on all human rights and freedoms, as well as to access education and training in this area.

The Declaration notes that education and training in human rights are crucial to the promotion and observance universal human rights. This is in line with the principles universality, independence, and interdependence.

Many international instruments include provisions relating to human right education, such as the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the Conventions on the Rights of the Child and on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discriminationation, the Conventions on the Rights of the Woman and the Conventions on the Rights of the Child.


Education in human rights includes three aspects:

First, Gaining knowledge about human rights: What they are, and how they can be protected or guaranteed;

Second, education and teaching through human rights. Recognizing that human rights education must be based on human rights values, the environment and method of education must be arranged and aligned with them (e.g. Participation, freedom of thought, expression and so forth are all important aspects of human rights education.

Thirdly, teaching, educating, and developing people’s attitudes and skills to allow them to use the values of human right in their lives, and to act alone or with others to protect and promote human rights.

Volker Turk, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, noted that human rights are the common language among humanity. A system of human rights must be universally accepted. We must unite in all matters relating to human rights.

The UN Declaration on Education and Training in Human Rights entitles UN member countries to provide education and training in human rights. The Declaration states:

First, Every individual and member in society must encourage respect for fundamental freedoms and human rights through education and training.

Second, everybody has the right to education. Education should aim at the complete development of the individual and self-esteem. It should also be designed so that everyone can participate in a free society and foster mutual understanding, tolerance, and friendship between all nationalities.

Thirdly,human right education promotes a culture of human rights. It involves awareness and active use of rights and freedoms, and compliance with obligations, in order to create a democratic society.

Fourthly, human right education is essential to promote respect for human rights and ensure their full observance.

Fifthly, human right education plays an important part in ensuring that people are fully involved in all decision-making processes that impact their lives in personal and political, economic and social aspects as well as the prevention of violations or conflicts.

Human rights education, in its simplest form, is an essential process that includes all people, particularly young people. These noble goals are being realized by the UN Declaration on Human Rights Education and Training.

At the Global Forum, proposals for the fifth phase in the World Program for Human Rights Education (WPHRE) were discussed. The Program is an ongoing effort. It is crucial that all countries provide human rights education in primary, secondary, university, teachers, activists, civil service, law enforcement, military, and media schools. This will help the process reach all areas of society. The World Program can be used to strengthen national implementation of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Education and Training.

In 2004, the World Program for Human Rights Education began to be developed. The first phase, 2005-2009, focuses on human rights education in primary or secondary education institutions. The second, 2010-2014, focuses on higher education and the conduct and evaluation of human rights training programs for teachers, educators, law enforcement officers, and military personnel at all levels. The third, 2015-2019, focuses on representatives of the media.

The fourth phase, which focuses on the youth, will be implemented between 2020 and 2024.

Teaching and educating young people in an environment of equality, respect for human right, and non-discrimination. This allows us to create a peaceful and inclusive society.

– Paying special attention to children and women in line with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development’s principle of “leaving none behind”, organizing human rights education for teachers who work with the teaching staff;

– Conducting relevant research, evaluation, and exchanging best practices in human rights education.

The UN Human Rights Council resolution dated October 6, 2022 praised the positive efforts of different parties during the fourth stage and recommended that all stages be implemented more intensively.

The resolution brought up the question of formulating proposals for a fifth stage of the World Program for Human Rights Education. It is recommended that the Office of the UN High Commissioner For Human Rights seeks the opinions of all UN structures, states and civil society institutions as well as stakeholders on the topic.

This task was assigned as a main task by the participants at the Global Forum “Human Rights Education” in Uzbekistan. This is a reflection of the importance of the event which dealt with issues of global importance, crucial for all humanity, and the future global development of education in human rights.

Uzbekistan actively participates in the implementation international documents related to human right education. It is important to note that there has been a lot of work done in New Uzbekistan in the area of human rights, including improvements in education.

Uzbekistan’s state policy prioritizes education in the area of human rights in order to create a culture that respects human rights.

Shavkat Mirziyoyev, President of the Republic of Uzbekistan, presented initiatives that aim to ensure the full protection of rights, freedoms, and legitimate interests of all people. Six resolutions from the United Nations General Assembly were based on these proposals.

The Republic of Uzbekistan has been elected to the UN Human Rights Council for the first time in its history. This is a sign of high international recognition and support for our new foreign policy, including further development of cooperation with foreign countries.

The Republic of Uzbekistan established the National Commission for the Implementation of the Fourth Stage of the World Program for Human Rights Education. It was created in accordance with the Presidential Decree dated June 7, 2021. This commission includes representatives of the Senate of the Oliymajlis, the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Justice, Higher and Secondary specialized Education, Public Education, the Agency for Youth Affairs. Its purpose is to increase awareness about the principles and norms of universal protection and human rights, international guarantees of protection for human rights and fundamental liberties, and the effectiveness of work in this direction.

A draft National Program for Human Rights Education was also developed with the help of the National Commission. We relied on the standards and norms of international agreements, recommendations from UN bodies responsible for human right education, and the historical, cultural, and national values of our society in preparing it.

Uzbekistan declared the principle of international law’s primacy in its Constitution. It also acceded many international conventions that aim to secure and protect human rights and liberties (including different categories of citizens such as women, children, and persons with disabilities) and took on the responsibility of creating the legal and organizational conditions necessary for the protection and promotion of human rights in their territory.

New Uzbekistan has a human rights policy that is based on these principles:

– Adherence to internationally recognized ideas and values concerning human rights.

– The policy of the state in human rights is a result of priority national interests. These are based on the formation and maintenance of a legal statehood and strong civil society.

– The principle of balance of interest between the individual, society, and the state as set out in the Constitution of Uzbekistan

– The evolution of ongoing socio-economic and political reforms

– Transparence and openness, as Uzbekistan is willing to discuss and resolve problems in this area with all structures and international partners.

The task of creating training courses on human right for higher education institutions within the framework of the National Strategy of the Republic of Uzbekistan on Human Rights has been identified. This direction is being worked on continuously.

Uzbekistan actively participates in the World Program for Human Rights Education campaign, which aims to implement the UN Declaration on Education and Training in Human Rights. More than 120 international legal documents on human right have been translated into Uzbekistani and published in large volumes.

The curricula for educational institutions of general secondary, vocational, specialized, and higher education include issues of respect and protection of civil rights, international documents, and national legislation.

The creation of a consortium of law school in the country to open a master’s degree in human rights was a landmark event.

By a decree of the Cabinet of Ministers of the Republic of Uzbekistan the badge Inson huquqlari uchun (“For the protection of Human Rights”) was created. It is given annually on December 10, on International Human Rights Day, for outstanding contributions in the area of human right protection.

The primary goal of the Samarkand International Forum was to summarize the intermediate results of implementation of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Education and Training and UN World Program for Human Rights Education. It also aimed to organize the exchange of views and to develop recommendations for improving human right education and training at all levels, including the national, regional, and international levels.

They were assigned a variety of tasks including:

Discuss international, regional and local experiences and approaches to human rights education system in relation to implementation of UN Declaration on Human Rights Education and Training.

– To study the role of human rights education in solving urgent problems, e.g., the prevention of violence, discrimination and extremism.

Analyze data about the implementation of education in the area of human rights at the national and local levels in recent years and prepare proposals.

Ensure the exchange of information by identifying, collecting, and disseminating best international, regional, and national practices as well as existing materials, institutions, and programs.

It is based on the UN Declaration on Human Rights Education and Training and on the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals. It is envisioned to produce exemplary results in further supporting the implementation of human right education at the national level over the next few years.

Samarkand Conference is co-organized with international and foreign partners such as the Office of the UN Human Rights High Commissioner, the Regional Office of the Haut Commissioner for Human Rights for Central Asia and the UN team in our country. The OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, the Office of the Coordinator OSCE projects in Uzbekistan and the Friedrich Ebert Foundation.

The Global Forum’s end:

– Summarising the results of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Education and Training and of the World Program for Human Rights Education.

– Analyzed the potential application of international and regional documents and approaches in education.

– The main tasks for the implementation and promotion of the World Program for Human Rights Education are identified.

Specific proposals for the fifth stage in the World Program for Human Rights Education were developed.

Educational programs and recommendations have been updated to reflect post-pandemic trends.

The Forum’s final day saw the adoption of the Samarkand Action Plan 2023-2025 to support the development of human right education based on the suggestions of participants.

Master classes on human rights education were also part of the Global Forum. These were offered in both offline and online formats, based on international best practice. In turn, these lectures and debates were held with distinguished professors from various universities around the globe. This created an environment for lively discussion and practical questions and answers.

The master classes were attended by more than 6,500 teachers and professors from more than 20 higher education institutions and research institutes located in all parts of the country. Students and graduate students as well as young scientists engaged in scientific activities, and students. The educational and legal event was also attended by 14 students from the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Uzbekistan.

Inson huquqlari uchun was also awarded to six compatriots, two international citizens, and two NGOs within the Global Forum.

The results of human rights education will generally raise awareness among citizens. It is important that people know their rights, defend them and are able to identify violations.

Human rights education helps to develop skills and abilities that can be used to defend and fight for one’s rights. It also contributes to the realization of the highest human value, which is rights and freedoms.

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