Romanian Institute for Human Rights
Education is not a privilege, but a fundamental right allowing for and facilitating enjoyment of the other rights of the child, making a contribution to the latter’s harmonious development, as well as to the economic, social and cultural welfare of society.
Human rights education is an integral part of the right to education, as essential instrument for the application and observance of rights and freedoms.
Courses organized in 2019
The presence of young students aged between 18 and 24 at the vote in the European Parliamentary elections recorded a relatively low percentage at European level.
In 2014, for example, only 28% of the Europeans in that age group exercised their right to vote. As far as Romania is concerned, participation in the 18-24 age bracket is even lower, with only 20% voting.
Awareness of the importance of the right to vote and the nomination of national representatives at the European Parliament level are the missions with which the Caravan "It is up to you to change something!" has started this year as well.
Conceived as a series of non-formal education events, the awareness campaign, carried out at the initiative of the Europe Direct Information Center, in partnership with the Romanian Institute for Human Rights, aims to present to young people, in an interactive way, arguments and motivations for their participation in the European elections of May 26, 2019, aimed at changing the existing state of affairs.
As the information campaign addresses voters with the right to vote - especially those who vote for the first time - with emphasis on deprived communities and / or localities where access to information is more limited, the first stop of this year's Caravan was at Ciofliceni (Snagov) at the "Mihail Kogălniceanu" Theoretical High School, where 32 pupils were, together with the teachers, spectators and co-actors directly on the stage of a forum theater play.
The innovative forum theater method generates lively debates on a topic often considered boring by young people. It also offers the participants the chance to intervene directly in the play, changing attitudes and situations and improving the course of events. Through this exercise - direct and participatory - students better understand the value of their involvement in the life of the community.
Young students from "Jean Monnet" Theoretical High School, "Ion Creangă" National College and "Mihail Sadoveanu" Theoretical High School from Bucharest participated. The trainer of the theatre troupe performing the play having as theme the European Parliament Elections was Mândruţa Andreescu from the Youth for Tomorrow Europe Association.
The Romanian Institute for Human Rights launched a campaign to raise awareness on multiple forms of violence in schools aiming to determine children / young people to respond to the need to limit conflict situations. Campaign activities and workshops started at the "Apostol Arsache" Secondary School in Giurgiu and at the "Dimitrie Gusti" Technological High School in Bucharest. Within the partnership between the two institutions - IRDO and the high school - and as part of the ISMB anti-violence and anti-bullying project entitled "Get Involved in Your Life!” an interactive teaching hour took place. The students of the 9th grade, under the coordination of Professor Liliana Violeta Constantin created various materials about the types of violence, offered proposals for non-conflict solutions to solve tense situations and designed posters with anti-violence messages.
The caravan "It is up to you to make a change!" promoting the right to vote and the involvement of young people as an important part of civil society in the elections for the European Parliament on 26 May 2019 has made a new stop.
This time, the Forum Theater Caravan host was the Technological Highschool in Fierbinti, Ialomita. The participants, 12th grade students and their teachers have been able, through this form of non-formal and interactive education, to realize that their own involvement is essential in order to achieve visible changes and obvious improvements in society.
Among the partners involved in this event - the Europe Direct Information Center and the Romanian Institute for Human Rights was also a former graduate of the high school, executive chairman of the Junii Association and promoter of the #dedataastavotez campaign, managed by the Romanian Bureau of the European Parliament.
The forum theater method proposed by the campaign implies not only watching a play about electoral morals. It also urges to reflection, raises reactions and generates salutary debates on a topic often considered boring by young people. Being invited as direct participants in the play, young people are performing a direct exercise through which they become aware of the right to participate, the value and importance of their personal involvement.
The actors involved were young people from the "Jean Monnet" Theoretical High School, "Ion Creangă" National College and "Mihail Sadoveanu" Theoretical High School in Bucharest - the trainer of the actors performing in the play on the European Parliament elections was Mândruţa Andreescu from "Youth for Tomorrow Europe" Association.
Within the anti-violence campaign carried out in school institutions in Bucharest and in the country, the Romanian Institute for Human Rights has organized a new workshop, in partnership with the secondary School no. 150.
The workshop aimed at recognizing and understanding the types of violence and increasing the awareness regarding one’s own contribution to creating and maintaining a non-aggressive climate in the community.
In terms of primary education classes, under the coordination of project manager Mrs. Iuliana Coarnă, the activity implied rendering of concepts and notions learned through drawings.
The proposed theme was to draw a conflict situation (on half page) and ways of solving it (on the other half of the page). The sheets were folded in two and each case was discussed. The conclusion was that, by choosing to see just the reasons and causes for the conflict and limiting it to this, we contribute to perpetuating violence. When we understand that all the problems that lead to conflict have a solution, we will choose to look for it before resorting to violence.
Courses organized in 2016
For the teaching staff
In the field of the continuous training of primary and secondary school teachers who achieve human rights education, in 2016 the Romanian Institute for Human Rights continued to organize, in partnership with the Teachers’ Training Centre in Bucharest the Training Programme called “Education for human rights and the rights of the child”. The Programme is accredited by the Ministry of National Education and had as target group members of the teaching staff and the auxiliary teaching staff in pre-university educational units.
- Training course on “Education for human rights and the rights of the child”
- Coordination of the UNESCO Chair for Human Rights, Democracy, Peace and Tolerance by RIHR and the North University of Baia Mare, a permanent activity, including the Master Degree Courses, the only ones of the kind in Romania; the Chair functions on the basis of an agreement between the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization – Paris, the Romanian Institute for Human Rights and the North University of Baia Mare. The Chair is a centre for research, debate and training at postgraduate level whose Master Degree programmes, the only ones of the kind in Romania, integrate, keeping pace with the developments and progress in this particular field, the results of the research achieved at national and international level. In 2016, a new class graduated the Master Degree in human rights, democracy, peace and tolerance.
- Training course on “Interpretation and application of the Convention and its additional Protocols. Jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights”.
In 2017, the Romanian Institute for Human Rights, in the larger context of the public’s increasing awareness about the necessity to familiarize with and observe human rights, set out as a priority to inform children and increase their interest in discrimination and intolerance issues. Thus, a number of training and information sessions were targeted to these topics and related events were organized both at the Institute’s headquarters and within the territory, with the assistance of RIHR’s partners.
- In the framework of a partnership between the Romanian Institute for Human Rights and Secondary School “Prof. Ion Vişoiu” of Chitila, students were invited to RIHR”s headquarters to attend a workshop whose purpose was to inform the young participants about the fight against racism, intolerance and xenophobia. The workshop was concluded with a question-answer and debate session on the acknowledgement of human rights; the discussions were focused on discrimination, intolerance and migration.
- On occasion of the International Holocaust Remembrance Day, the Director of the RIHR, based on the Partnership Protocol signed with theoretic highschool “Tudor Vladimirescu” in Bucharest, was invited open the sessions of the Conference on “Is tolerance a practised value? What is the relationship between human rights and the preservation of the values characterizing a democratic society?”
- Second edition of the Municipal Symposium on “Don’t label, don’t discriminate, don’t forget!”, organized at Municipal Library “Petru Maior”, Mureş County
- Campaign entitled “Let’s say no to discrimination!” consisted of a series of dedicated information sessions organized at several high schools in Ploieşti and Buzău
- Campaign on “Without hate, with tolerance”, organized in the framework of the National Contest entitled “Without hate, with tolerance”
- Debates on discrimination and the fight against racism were also organized in the framework of project “Another kind of school”. The project also included a roundtable on “The role of civic education in combating racism”.
- Symposium on “Racism and xenophobia against migrants. Challenges to the European institutions”
Courses and workshops organized in 2018
22 February – 3 May
Extended course on “Human rights education in schools”, with 30 participants – members of the teaching staff (holding leading positions or involved with various school projects) and members of the auxiliary teaching staff (school secretariat, school library), who attended for several weeks, totalizing 40 hours
Debate-workshop entitled “Between school discipline and the rights of the child” aimed at presenting the rights of the child such as they are laid down in the International Convention on the Rights of the Child, pointing out which rights were of particular interest in school, while also referring to the responsibilities of students and those of teachers for the achievement of these rights.
On request by secondary school “Prof. Ion Vişoiu” of Chitila, RIHR presented, in the framework of “A different kind of week” organized by the school, an interactive material about children’s right to education, in the context of the increasing risk of regarding school as a troublesome obligation rather than a right to be achieved.
Also in the context of “A different kind of week”, RIHR was invited to participate in the efforts to raise awareness about and settle a frequent phenomenon in schools: bullying. A mini-course with applications easy for children to understand dealt with the topic at “Nicolae Iorga” high school in Bucharest.
“How shall we treat persons with disabilities” was the topic of a course aimed at raising awareness about differences among people and the need to assist those who, for various reasons, are prevented from participating in the social life at the maximum.
Course that was devoted to a right of the child that hasn’t always been a priority with adults – the right to play and recreative activities.
Two training courses focused on human rights education and addressed to the teaching staff on “Between school discipline and the rights of the child”
Course devoted to the implementation of the rights of elderly persons in long-term care in specialized centres or at home.
One day course on the protection against the violation of rights on the Internet mainly aiming at the protection of juveniles. The course was attended by 30 representatives of institutions in the Constanţa County.
The Romanian Institute for Human Rights, together with its partners from United Way and from the Municipality of Bucharest Museum – Şuţu Palace – organized an interactive training workshop targeting 20 vulnerable children (including Roma children), who were beneficiaries of the UWRo Programmes, and under the care of several non-profit organisations.
The common project was based on the idea that education meant self-knowledge and being known by others, while awareness about one’s own rights entails better administration of the relationships among children – in school and within the society. The learning method used in the framework of the course, that was followed by a drawing workshop, was a non-formal one, the educational class being based on play and co-participation.
Thus, the course entitled “Children’s rights for children” was devoted to understanding the need to know one’s own rights and freedoms, but also the need to respect the rights that others should enjoy.
See more details here (ro).
The Institute’s Strategy for training the staff of non-governmental organisations directly working with juveniles emphasizes on the need for a course presenting organisational policies dealing with the right of the child to protection. This course was implemented with the assistance of organisation United Way Romania that ensured the participation of experts in the training session (directors, project coordinators, school pedagogues, social assistants, teachers) from 10 organisations (Association Touched Romania, Foundation YOYO, Foundation Providenţa, Association Ana şi copiii, Association Arhidiacon Ştefan, Rut School, Association Lindfeld, Foundation Inocenţi, Mihail Kogălniceanu High School, Association ROI).
The course presented the children’s rights to protection that could be implemented at organisational level, including the necessary measures for children to participate themselves (information on their rights, involving children in the protection policy making process, a role adapted to their age with the adoption of these policies); issues related to recommended or prohibited attitudes and behaviours; prevention of abuses; acknowledging, signalling and readily reacting to accusations of abuse; recruiting and training the personnel.
The discussions that followed pointed out some of the problems and obstacles faced by those who assumed the difficult mission of implementing and protecting the rights of children, the latter being most often in vulnerable situations.
At the “Dimitrie Gusti” Technological College in Bucharest, the Romanian Institute for Human Rights held a training course for the teaching and the auxiliary staff of the educational institution. In view of the coming 3 December when the Day of Disabled Persons is celebrated, the session aimed at informing about the rights of people in this vulnerable category. Discussions also focused on the implementation of policies and good practices in the school environment, that should lead to the elimination of discriminatory tendencies – encountered among pupils or teachers – caused by the existence of a disability.
It has been pointed out that people with disabilities can be the victims of multiple discrimination, disability-related discrimination being added that related to gender, ethnicity, social class or level of social insertion, housing (urban or rural), grade of poverty, etc.
The Universal Children’s Day was marked by the Romanian Institute for Human Rights together with the students of Secondary School No. 117 in Bucharest. Two 5th grade classes – whose curriculum includes the study of children’s rights – participated in interactive workshops devoted to tolerance, empathy and mutual acceptance. The thematic was meant to make children understand different points of view on a problem or reality and the fact that although perspectives seem completely different, there may be common points between them.
In order to better understand these things, the starting point was the presentation of double images, which could be interpreted differently according to their angle of perception. After deciphering the images and expressing their opinions, the children were encouraged to exemplify with real situations the existence of two different points of view that could coexist.
At Secondary School “Prof. Ion Vişoiu”, within the framework of the intercultural project at the level of the educational unit entitled “Together for the Community in the Year of the Centenary”, the Romanian Institute for Human Rights held an interactive course corresponding to an important objective of the project: acquiring the communication and socialization skills, with emphasis on nonviolent communication techniques. Thus, the chosen topic was: "10 obstacles to communication".
Students of two grades – VI and VII – participated in the development of the proposed theme and identified several impediments to communication: threats, accusations, insults, misinterpretation, etc. They also exemplified situations in their classroom, or in other social contexts where the existence of a communication barrier had led to the occurrence of violence in verbal or physical form.
In order to raise awareness about the importance of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, celebrated every year on 3 December, the Romanian Institute for Human Rights organized a workshop session at Secondary School No. 88, in which three 4 grade classes participated.
The workshops aimed at making children understand the problems faced by a person with a certain type of disability and how they could contribute to reduce the obstacles coming from the environment or the community (reducing or eliminating discrimination, increasing tolerance to what is “different”, etc.).
To achieve that, beyond the discussions and exchange of ideas with the pupils, the children were involved in a practical application meant to make them directly perceive the difficulties generated by a disability. So, the children were grouped teams of five that were given leaflets containing articles from the International Convention on the Rights of the Child and one representative of each team “read” the article his team had received. However, “reading” was done only by moving the lips, without sounds, so that the rest of the children be compelled to decipher and interpret the message only by watching their colleagues lips. Each representative’s team had the mission to guess the content of the article and render it aloud as accurately as possible. The feedback proved that the challenge, beyond the novelty of the situation, made children perceive the numerous difficulties a person with a hearing impairment had to face.