UNESCO and Human Rights

Promoting Human Rights

UNESCO seeks to promote education in and the advancement of human rights. Action is concentrated in those areas where UNESCO has a special mandate, these being: generating and sharing knowledge; protecting human rights; renewing and reinforcing commitment to human rights education; and providing advisory services and technical assistance to Member States.

The UNESCO Centre’s Children and Youth Programme has embraced UNESCO’s stance on human rights, employing a rights‑based approach as one of it’s four guiding principles.

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UNESCO Strategy on Human Rights

In October 2003, the 32nd session of the General Conference of UNESCO adopted the UNESCO Strategy on Human Rights. This Strategy sets the integration of a human‑rights based approach as an organisational priority in all of its programmes and activities.

The two key objectives of the Strategy are, firstly, to reaffirm the Organisation’s commitment to the cause of promoting and protecting human rights and secondly, to increase the impact and visibility of UNESCO’s work in this field by identifying priority areas of action.

The Strategy, prepared with due account of the specific responsibilities of other bodies, programmes and specialised agencies of the United Nations system, in particular the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and the International Labour Organisation (ILO), is available as a PDF.

The effective implementation of the Strategy has been facilitated through the strengthening of partnerships with members of the UN system, regional intergovernmental organisations, National Commissions for UNESCO and UNESCO Chairs, civil society actors, the academic community as well as national human rights institutions.

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Monitoring Children’s Rights

The Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) is the body of independent experts that monitors the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child by its State parties.

All State parties are obliged to submit to the Committee regular reports on how the rights are being implemented. Each of these reports is examined by the Committee who then return concerns and recommendations in the form of ‘concluding observations’ to the State parties.

The Committee also publishes ‘General Comments’ on thematic issues based on its interpretation of the content of human rights provisions and organizes general discussion days, known as ‘Sessions’, where the State Reports and General Comments are considered further.

The General Comments publications and details of the Sessions can be found on the CRC website along with further details of the work of the Committee.

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