Human Rights and Social Policy in the United States: an educational agenda for the 21st century

Journal of Moral Education 23 (3):261-272 (1994)
Abstract Education in the human rights arena has tended to emphasise, at least in the United States, civil and political rights. Into the next century, this moral educational agenda should be expanded to include more emphasis upon economic, social, and solidarity rights and the notion of the interdependency of human rights, the official position of the UN Human Rights Commission. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, reaffirmed at the recent World Conference on Human Rights, is the authoritative definition of human rights standards, and increasingly referred to as customary international law. That document should provide an adequate grounding for human rights education, which should facilitate a ?human rights culture?. It is argued here that moral education should not seek ?converts? to the principles of the Declaration, but rather emphasise open discussion and scholarship in order that students choose their values. This expansion in people's consciousness in regard to a comprehensive understanding of human rights principles could directly impact constitutional change, social policy and the fulfilment of human needs
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