Last week Frank Elbers, the Executive Director at Human Rights Education Associates (HREA), announced a new documentary film that launched at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva. A Path to Dignity: The Power of Human Rights Education is a 28-minute movie that presents three stories illustrating the impact of human rights education respectively on school children in India, law enforcement agencies in Australia and women victims of violence in Turkey. It is intended as a tool to raise awareness about the positive role that human rights education can play in realizing human rights.
Elbers, on behalf of HREA, Soka Gakkai International (SGI) and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) describes the film:
From Tamil Nadu, in Southern India, Maria Soosai Selvaraj, National Programme Coordinator for the Institute of Human Rights Education says that “each child can make a change through practising human rights values.” In addition to learning about the Indian Constitution, the children develop an understanding of the rights of the child, and the principles of non-discrimination and equality, and how these apply to their daily lives.
In the state of Victoria, Australia, a human rights project monitors all aspects of policing and educates Victoria Police employees on human rights. “Human rights training forms part of our foundation training programme now,” explains Charlie Allen, an inspector. “Recruits marching into the academy or going into the academy for their training phase do initial education in human rights.”
In Turkey, the human rights education programme for women consists of weekly workshops. Women learn about their human rights and the laws that protect these rights. Mujcan Guneri, a human rights trainer, says that “the women they reached through this training programme, who have come to realize their value as individuals, have all taken steps forward. They begin to see the next step. They engage more with people and take better advantage of the opportunities offered by the state.” “Some go back to school. Some return to work life,” she adds.
A key message in the documentary film is that “one person can make a difference” in solving problems in society. Human rights education can transform people’s lives, empowering individuals on a path to dignity and bring about positive change in their respective communities and societies. In this sense, human rights education plays a fundamental role in ensuring equality and equal opportunities, combating discrimination and preventing human rights violations.
A Path to Dignity is available in Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Japanese, Russian and Spanish and be can be viewed online at www.path-to-dignity.org. The film is also available on DVD.
The documentary film was produced jointly by HREA, Soka Gakkai International (SGI) and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and was directed by filmmaker Ellen Bruno.
The makers of the documentary acknowledge their partners People’s Watch (India), the Victoria Police (Australia) and Women for Women’s Human Rights (WWHR)-New Ways (Turkey) for their collaboration on this film.