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 5: Human rights education and the Human Rights Council

Paula Gerber

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


Unlike the treaty bodies examined in the previous two chapters, the Human Rights Council (HRC) is an inter-governmental body, made up of state representatives, not independent experts. Thus, it is revealing to examine whether there are any similarities between the way HRE is perceived and prioritized by government representatives on a political body, such as the HRC, and the way HRE is perceived and prioritized by experts on treaty committees, such as the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and the Committee on the Rights of the Child.

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