The recognition of human dignity and equal and inalienable rights for all are the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world.
On December 10, 1948, representatives with different legal and cultural backgrounds from all regions of the world gathered during the United Nations General Assembly to proclaim the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, a common standard document for all peoples and nations, which defines fundamental rights for all human beings.
Everyday, everywhere in the world, many people violate the rights of other human beings and many others accept these violations. Why?
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is a Charter but it is not legally binding: each State has incorporated and integrated only some parts into its national constitutions.
This means that the work of governments is not enough to ensure that these rights are respected, recognized and protected. What is needed is the commitment of every citizen to respect, monitor and promote human rights in their own situations.
Human rights cannot be defended and promoted by legal tools only. Human rights education is essential to ensure that they are understood, supported and promoted by everyone.
Most people do not know their rights, they do not know how the tool of international and national protection work and for this reason they allow the violation of rights in their communities and often, even without knowing it, contribute to violating them.
Over the years the CoE has developed a series of methodologies and tools to educate young people and educators on Human Rights and here at AICEM have become multipliers of these approaches and tools.
But what is CoE and why are its tools so important?
The Council of Europe has a specific department dedicated to young people. The Youth Department is part of the Directorate for Democratic Participation within the Directorate-General for Democracy (“DGII”) of the Council of Europe. The Department draws up guidelines, programs and legal tools for the development of coherent and effective youth policies at local, national and European level.
It provides funding and educational support for international youth activities aimed at promoting youth citizenship, youth mobility and the values of human rights, democracy and cultural pluralism. It seeks to bring together and disseminate skills and knowledge about life situations, aspirations and ways of expression of young Europeans.
Over the years, CoE has developed many practical manuals for the implementation of activities based on non-formal education.
One of the main tools for human rights education is the COMPASS, a reference manual for the training of young people based on non-formal education. It is currently available in over 30 languages, from Arabic and Japanese to Icelandic and Basque.
EYF – European Youth Foundation
The Council of Europe’s European Youth Foundation (EYF) provides financial and educational support to European youth activities, with an annual budget of approximately € 3.7 million. The EYF is a powerful tool for European youth cooperation. It supports European youth activities organized by non-governmental youth organizations and networks, such as international youth meetings, conferences, campaigns, training courses, seminars, study visits, which have exhibitions, publications, audiovisual material and websites as much as possible.
EYC – European Youth Centre
The European Youth Centers (EYC) in Strasbourg and Budapest are permanent structures for the implementation of the Council of Europe’s youth policy. They are international training and meeting centers with residential facilities, hosting the majority of the activities of the youth sector. The professional staff includes a consultancy group that provides educational and technical assistance in preparation, management and follow-up activities.
AICEM has carried out activities with the EYF and the Youth Centers: find out which ones!