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Arigatou at the 10th Session of the Human Rights Council

The Human Rights Council is holding its 10th regular session from 2 to 27 March 2009 at thePalais des Nationsin Geneva. During the session, reports will be presented by independent human rights experts on several issues.  Arigatou International will follow the deliberations of the Human Rights Council and willco-organize aside eventon the 13th of March on intercultural and interfaith education. Arigatou Foundation has co-signed two joint statements with other NGOs for submission to the Human Rights Council. Read more…

The independent human rights experts will present reports on arbitrary detentions; the right to food; adequate housing; on the promotion and protection of human rights while countering terrorism; on freedom of religion or belief; and minority issues; among others.  The High Commissioner for Human Rights, Ms. Navanethem Pillay will also present her first annual report to the Human Rights Council and will engage in an interactive dialogue with government and civil society representatives.
The Arigatou Foundation is part of the NGO Working Group on Human Rights Education and Learning of the Conference of NGOs in Consultative Relationship with the United Nations (CONGO). This Working Group is a network of NGOs and provides a platform for ensuring the participation of NGOs in the processes of global policy-making on human rights education and learning in relation to the UN institutions, principally the UN Human Rights Council.

The NGO WG on Human Rights Education and Learning is facilitating a series of parallel events to the 10th Session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva. The objective of the events is to deal with different areas of human rights from the human rights education perspective. As part of the series, Arigatou Foundation is co-organizing a panel titled “Intercultural and Interfaith Education: An Imperative for achieving Freedom of Religion and Belief and Mutual Understanding”.

The panel aims to look at the main issues concerning discrimination on the basis of religion or beliefs, with special emphasis on what has been done in the field of interfaith and intercultural dialogue and education, current perspectives, challenges and progress. Discussions will be held about the type of educational materials needed to address the issue of religious and cultural discrimination, perspectives on the development of programs and curricula in formal, non formal and informal educational settings.

The panel will be held on Friday 13 March from 14h00 to 16h00 at Palais des Nations in Geneva, room XXII. It will be composed of Ms. Daqmara Georgescu, Programme Coordinator, Technical assistance to UNESCO-member states (Curriculum development), UNESCO International Bureau of Education in Geneva, Ms. Agneta Ucko, Director, Arigatou International, Dr. John Taylor, International Association for Religious Freedom (IARF) and Co-Chair of the NGO Committee on Freedom of Religion and Belief, Ms. Ariane Hentsch , Representative, Interreligious Platform Geneva / Coexist – Youth interfaith Platform, Dr. Charles Graves, Secretary General, Interfaith International and Mr. Hafid Ouardiri, President, Interknowing Foundation, Geneva.

The NGO Working Group on Human Rights Education and Learning also prepared a joint written statement to be presented at the HR Council as a contribution to the UN Declaration on Human Rights Education and Training, the World Programme for Human Rights Education and Special Procedures. Arigatou Foundation co-signed the statement supporting human rights education as a vital strategy for addressing the root causes of human rights violations and conflict.

In September 2007 the Human Rights Council adopted by consensus a resolution to entrust the Council’s Advisory Committee to prepare a draft UN declaration on human rights education and training, including the submission of a progress report to the Council’s 10th Session in March 2009. The statement written by the NGO WG on Human Rights Education and Learning is a contribution to ensure that the views and concerns of NGOs working in the field are addressed and properly considered in the declaration as well in the progress report.

The statement recommends clarity on the definition of human rights education and on the concept of duty-bearers and rights-holders. It calls for an effective monitoring system to ensure the clear evaluation of the implementation of human rights education. The importance of creating a provision for financial resources is also recorded in the statement, emphasizing on the need for the States to assign resources in their annual budgetary planning.

Finally the signatory NGOs call upon Member States to consider expanding the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the Right to Education to formally include human rights education as well as to establish a Special Rapporteur on (the Right to) Human Rights Education.

To read the full written statement on Human Rights Education and Training, click here.

A second joint written statement on Human right to peace versus racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and other forms of intolerance has been prepared by the International Society for Human Rights for co-signing by other NGO’s and joint submission to the Human Rights Council.

The statement calls for an awareness of the existing links between efforts to combat racism, racial discrimination and xenophobia, and the construction of democratic, interactive and egalitarian multiculturalism, as well as the promotion of dialogue among cultures, civilizations and religions, as a means to achieve the human right to peace and to combat racial and religious intolerance.

The Arigatou Foundation has co-signed the joint written statement on peace and racism presented to the 10º session of the Human Rights Council on behalf of the 163 NGO (134 with ECOSOC status and 30 without this status).

To read the full statement on peace and racism in English, click here. You can also find it in Spanish, here


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