Understanding Human Rights

Understanding Human Rights

Educational Challenges for the Future

Paula Gerber

Paula Gerber argues that international law can learn from the medical profession, which has long recognised that ‘prevention is better than cure’. There is an urgent need for HRE to be recognised as one of the best ways of preventing future human rights abuses; it is, in essence, a prophylactic for human rights violations. The book explores the provenance of human rights education in international law before critiquing the UNs work in this area across numerous different organs, including treaty committees, the Human Rights Council, General Assembly and Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. The author identifies a number of deficiencies in the UNs HRE activities, and makes recommendations for how the UN can more effectively promote HRE and increase states compliance with their international HRE obligations. This book provides a unique and timely insight into the workings of the UN in this vital aspect of international human rights law.

Chapter 3: Human rights education and the Committee on Economic,

Paula Gerber

Subjects: law - academic, human rights, politics and public policy, human rights


Within the UN organization, treaty committees have a particularly important role to play in promoting and protecting the human rights set out in the nine core human rights treaties. The committees are made up of independent experts that monitor State Parties’ implementation of their obligations under the human rights treaties. There are two treaty bodies that are especially relevant to HRE, namely the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESC), and the Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC). These two committees have been singled out for in-depth analysis in this and the following chapter because the treaties they monitor contain specific HRE mandates, namely Article 13(1) of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), and Article 29 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CROC). This is not to say that other treaty committees do not address HRE in their work, but the CESC and the CRC oversee the most explicit HRE treaty norms, and are therefore the most appropriate to evaluate in order to develop an understanding of the UN’s efforts when it comes to HRE.

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