Human rights education is a central mandate of the National Human Rights Institution (N.H.R.I) to inform and to foster understanding of values and attitudes, which uphold and protect human rights.
The State of Human Rights Report 2015 indicated widespread misconceptions about human rights in the community particularly on the rights of the child. Children themselves were identified to have misunderstood the concept of human rights and what their rights are which further adds to the concerns raised by parents and members of the community about this issue.
The N.H.R.I’s Friendly School Outreach Programme aims to work towards building our children and teacher’s positive understanding about the value of understanding and respecting human rights and also the responsibilities and the limitations that comes with it through the provision of education and information.
The educational programme also focuses on promoting an overall school-wide atmosphere of equality, non-discrimination, inclusion, respect, dignity and participation in schools.
The programme started with Palalaua College last week and it was great to see the teachers get behind the awareness programme and assisting the students explore their understanding about human rights and rights of children.
A concern from the teachers was with regard to their right to discipline the students.
Human Rights, particularly the Convention on the Rights of the Child does not take away their responsibility to discipline but it must be done in a way that it does not involve violence or any form of discipline that is considered cruel and inhumane.
This Programme also hopes to assist the work of various organisations to tackle the school violence problem where schools are encouraged to explore what it truly means to be a friendly school.
A Friendly School is a school, which values respect for one another and towards other human beings.
The Programme is on going to cover all schools in Samoa and will partner with other organisations to address the same message and work together to promote and raise awareness of human rights and to address misunderstanding of human rights amongst our young people today.
N.H.R.I’s human rights education is carried out in 3 areas: schools, communities and organisations.
“We also encourage any organisations and groups to contact our Office on 25394 if they wish to receive any of our educational awareness programs or partner with our Office on any of these programmes.”