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Understanding Human Rights

Publication in Belgium

ISBN 90-5095-574-6

Intersentia N.V.

Groenstraat 31

B-2640 Mortsel (Antwerpen)

Phone: +32 3 680 15 50

Fax: +32 3 658 71 21


Publication in Germany

ISBN 3-8305-1192-2

BWV Berliner Wissenschafts-Verlag

Axel-Springer-Straße 54 b

D-10117 Berlin

Phone: +49 30 84 17 70-0

Fax: +49 30 84 17 70-21


Publication in Austria

ISBN 3-7083-0371-7

Neuer Wissenschaftlicher Verlag GmbH

Argentinierstraße 42/6, A-1040 Wien

Phone: +43 1 535 61 03-22

Fax: +43 1 535 61 03-25


Geidorfgürtel 20, A-8010 Graz







In May 2003, the Manual on Human Rights
Education “Understanding Human Rights”
was first presented to the public in its original
English language version at the Ministerial
Meeting of the Human Security Network
in the Human Rights City of Graz, Austria.
The Manual is the result of an initiative by
my predecessor Benita Ferrero-Waldner as
Chairperson of the “Network” in 2002/2003.
It was elaborated by a dedicated team of renowned
Austrian and international experts
under the auspices of the European Training
and Research Centre for Human Rights and
Democracy (ETC) in Graz.
The Human Security Network is a group of
states from all regions of the world determined
to solve pressing problems of human
security by action-oriented means. On several
occasions, such as its Ministerial Meeting in
Santiago de Chile in 2002, the Network has
emphasised that “human rights provide a
foundation upon which human development
and human security can be pursued”. Therefore,
Human Rights Education has become
one of its priorities. In this spirit, the Manual
“Understanding Human Rights” addresses audiences
all over the world and is intended to
function as a genuine, practical “training tool”.
It consists of training modules which can be
varied and adapted by their users according to
different contexts and training situations.
The Graz Declaration on Principles of Human
Rights Education and Human Security, endorsed
by the 5th Ministerial Meeting of the Human
Security Network on 10 May 2003 in Graz,
contains a commitment to translate the manual
into other languages in order to introduce it into
different regional and cultural settings.
Today, just three years after its launch, the
manual is available in English, French, Spanish,
Chinese, Arabic, Russian, German, Alba-

 nian, Croatian, Serbian and Thai. This has
been achieved in collaboration and with the
generous support of several members of the
Human Security Network as well as intergovernmental
and non-governmental partners.
The Manual, which has been introduced in
several countries and regions by train-thetrainers
workshops facilitated by the ETC, has
received a very positive feedback from users all
over the world. But the rapid developments in
the field of human rights have necessitated an
update of the Manual. Therefore, with funding
from the Austrian Development Cooperation
and the Federal Ministry for Education, Science
and Culture of Austria, a second edition
has been elaborated by the European Training
and Research Centre for Human Rights and
Democracy (ETC) in collaboration with a large
team of Austrian and international experts.
The Manual intends to reach out to people
from all world regions, cultures and social
groups. The more diverse its users, the more
the Manual will achieve its goal to promote
human rights and human security. In 2006,
with the inception of the Human Rights Council,
the international human rights architecture
has undergone considerable changes. I
trust that this second edition of the Manual on
Human Rights Education will be able to serve
as a guide to the human rights challenges that
lie ahead.


Dr. Ursula Plassnik
Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs
of the Republic of Austria
Vienna, May 2006





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