This project theoretically examines the contribution of the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Education and Training (UNDHRET) to human rights education programmes and modules. In particular, it focuses on university level education about, through and for human rights, and the role of university teachers as human rights educators.
All persons have the right to have access to Human Rights Education (HRE) as part of their Right to Education guaranteed under Article 13 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (1966). In addition, HRE could be seen as a key long-term strategy for the enhancement of the promotion and protection of all human rights worldwide.
HRE focuses on the development of substantial knowledge and skills about human rights standards, principles and norms by means of engaging in learning and teaching processes through pedagogical methods and techniques that are in line with human rights principle and values. In this sense, HRE is not neutral. HRE is for human rights, including the empowerment of persons to enjoy and exercise their rights and to respect and uphold the rights of others. In fact, as stated in Article 2(1) of the UNDHRET, HRE aims to provide persons with knowledge, skill and understanding, develop their attitudes and behaviors, and empower them to contribute to the building and promotion of a universal culture of human rights.
Through our different programmes, RWI contributes to the development of capacities to educate learners about, through and for human rights within academic partner institutions around the world. Experience and feedback gathered during the different HRE workshops and seminars in which I have participated as leading facilitator and researcher will be capitalized in this project, which aims to develop a further solid theoretical foundation for those capacity building actions.
The outcome of this project is to contribute to the scientific debate by means of publishing a scholarly article in a leading international peer-reviewed journal.
Alejandro Fuentes is a Senior Researcher at the Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law (RWI), an affiliated lecturer at the Faculty of Law at Lund University (Sweden) and –since 2022, a Professor of International Human Rights Law at Africa University (Zimbabwe). He received his Doctor of Laws (PhD) in International law and Master (LL.M) in Comparative and European Legal Studies from Trento University (Italy), and Law degree from the University of Córdoba (Argentina).
His main areas of expertise are international human rights law, with focuses on regional systems of human rights protection, local governance, human rights cities, and sustainable development. Additionally, Alejandro’s expertise convers a diverse set of collective and individual rights questions including cultural diversity, identity, minority, indigenous peoples, and children’s rights.
Some of the foundational questions that currently engage his research are related to balancing potential conflict of rights and how regional human rights courts search for a fair adjudicative balance between conflicting legal interests. For instance, regarding indigenous peoples rights, essential questions relate to how regional tribunals find a fair balance between the protection of their traditional lands and cultural practises, and the interest of national governments to exploit natural resources, support sustainable development and protect environmental rights.
Alejandro also has extensive experience in developing and implementing international development programmes. These programs are aimed at strengthening institutional capacities in partnership with local stakeholders, including governmental institutions and judicial actors, across the globe. These initiatives have largely focused on the advancement of human rights education (HRE) in academia, including the development of clinical legal education (CLE) at partner universities. Alejandro is currently in close collaboration with institutional partners in Africa (Kenya, Egypt, Ethiopia, Nigeria, South Africa, Botswana, Zambia, Zimbabwe); Europe (Belarus, Poland, Armenia, Ukraine, Spain, Italy, and –of course- Scandinavian countries); and the Americas (Mexico, Colombia, Cuba).
For further updates on his research, please refer to his Research profile: