Each year, human rights teachers from across China come together to exchange experiences and discuss recent developments in human rights education. The Raoul Wallenberg Institute was the main organizer of this year’s meeting held in Wuhan, China last weekend, where around 60 university teachers, including teachers from Chinese party schools, participated.
“This meeting provides a great opportunity for human rights teachers and educators in China to meet and network, so they don’t feel lonely when promoting human rights education in China,” says Lu Haina from China Renmin University, who participated in this year’s National Human Rights Education Annual Meeting (NHREAM).
Human rights law is increasingly becoming a part of legal education in China, and the three Nordic institutes, the Raoul Wallenberg Institute, the Danish Institute of Human Rights (DIHR), and the Norwegian Centre for Human Rights (NCHR), have all been supporting this development with capacity development trainings since the late 1990s.
“It is not easy to promote human rights education in a party school system. However, we have to find a better way to incorporate human rights into current curriculum of party schools,” says Chang Jian from Nankai University.
Between 2001 and 2007, the three Nordic human rights institutes held annual training courses and altogether trained more than 200 Chinese university teachers in how to teach international human rights law. Around 100 universities in China offer human rights courses or incorporate human rights into current teaching at undergraduate and graduate levels.
The National Human Rights Education Annual Meeting grew out of a need for experienced human rights teachers to have a forum to meet, network, exchange experiences and discuss recent developments in human rights education. The three Nordic institutes rotate the role of being the main organizer together with a local university partner. This year, RWI hosted the meeting together with the local partner Wuhan University Institute for Human Rights Studies.
“The best part of this meeting was that it was so informative, with a lot of information on human rights education and research related information, in particular the presentations on participatory approach in human rights education,” says participant Zhou Yu, from Yunnan University.
A number of human rights teachers shared their experiences on human rights education and research, as well as the participatory approach in human rights education. In addition, Professor Michael O’Flaherty from the Irish Centre for Human Rights at the National University of Ireland, shared his knowledge and experience on global trends and the international development in human rights, focusing on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and good international practice in human rights education.
“I enjoyed participating in this meeting so much, since I rarely have such opportunity to attend meetings like these. It helps me to form a better understanding of human rights education in China. So far I’ve taken notes for over 30 pages, and I will share what I gained from this meeting with colleagues back home and encourage more young teachers joining in human rights education,” says participant Li Dan from the Party School of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.