The 19th Informal ASEM Seminar on Human Rights on the topic ‘Human Rights Education and Training’ (ASEMHRS19) was held on 4-6 November 2019 in Tromsø, Norway. The Seminar brought together 123 official government representatives and civil society experts, representing 44 ASEM Partners, to discuss the state of human rights education and training. The Seminar concluded that there was a real need to build on the momentum of the forum to move forward in strengthening existing efforts. At the same time, the Seminar recognised that access to human rights education is contingent on access to education.
However, the momentum built during the ASEMHRS19 meeting and thereafter is now being overshadowed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Education has been hit particularly hard by it with 1.53 billion learners out of school and 184 country-wide school closures, impacting 87.6% of the world’s total enrolled learners. Drop-out rates across the globe are likely to rise as a result of this massive disruption to education access. Interruptions to education can have long term implications, especially for the most vulnerable who are traditionally already facing difficulties in accessing education – girls, refugees, displaced and migrant children, to name a few.
Without access to education, the human right to human rights education cannot be realised. This problem is particularly acute for out-of-school children who are more likely to be exposed to risks like family violence, child labour, forced marriage, and trafficking & exploitation. Yet at the same time, it is important to adopt more innovative approaches to human rights education, including e-learning, in both classrooms, teacher preparation and professional development, as the ASEMHRS19 Seminar concluded. Has the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent global lockdowns resulted in such innovation in e-learning?
Objectives of the Webinar:
- To discuss the impacts of COVID-19 on access to education and possible ways to address and strengthen support for educators, trainers, university instructors, and others working in the education sector in formal and informal settings.
- To share some of the recommendations of the ASEMHRS19 on human rights education and to discuss how they can be implemented even in times of the COVID-19 pandemic.
- To explore how National Human Rights Education Plans can be used as a vehicle for coordination and cohesion and how National Human Rights Institutes can help to advance the implementation of human rights education at the national level.
Prof Emerit. Vitit MUNTARBHORN, Professor of Law, Chulalongkorn University
Toru MORIKAWA, Executive Director, Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF)
- ASEM government officials (i.e. from the ministries of education),
- Education practitioners,
- Educators and trainers engaged in human rights education (HRE),
- Representatives of national human rights institutes (NHRIs), and other interested partners and stakeholders.
Watch the full recording of the webinar here.