Mainstreaming Human Rights Education: What’s Radical About That?

Rosemary Ann Blanchard

Abstract


One of the most radical ways of teaching about universal human rights and international humanitarian law would be to teach about these fundamental internationally-recognized standards for humane interpersonal conduct to every child who enters school in the United States.  American illiteracy about human rights and humanitarian law standards contributes to the climate in which the United States preaches human rights to it's perceived opponents while refusing to apply universally recognized hr and ihl principles to itself. From the failure to incorporate into the American educational structure the cultural and linguistic rights of Indigenous peoples and ethnic, linguistic and religious minorities to the refusal to submit to the same standards of international humanitarian law which apply to all combatants, U.S. political and military leaders have been able to rely on the unfamiliarity of most Americans with the fundamental principles of human rights and international humanitarian law to insulate them from effective public scrutiny and meaningful challenge. This article describes efforts to mainstream human rights education at all levels of public education so it becomes a part of the educational experience of every child and, thus, part of the background of every adult. The risks of having HRE co-opted are dwarfed by the risks of having HRE sidelined.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5195/rt.2016.257

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