Human Rights Education
Pioneering training work in Human Rights Education (HRE) has been developed by our regional body the South Asia Co-ordinating Council (SACC).
IARF in South Asia now focuses strongly on developing this work in India, which was initially enabled by generous funding from the Dutch government’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in a First Phase, 2004-2007, formally titled “The Shared Space of Human Rights & Religious Freedom”.
Resources: This funding enabled the creation of three short training films set in South Asian contexts that dramatise universal issues in freedom of belief. They were produced by Mumbai-based documentary filmmaker & screenwriter Paromita Vohra.
These 15-minute dramatisations are now regularly used in our ongoing trainings. Available to view (full-length) in the Video Gallery at left.
Final Report on HRE first phase (PDF, 49 pages)
This was followed by a Second Phase during 2008-2010, funded by IARF.
These trainings have resulted in social workers, field activists, teachers, law students and animators working closely with grassroots communities. Potential has been demonstrated for taking deeper into communities the fundamentals of human rights education related to FoRB (Freedom of Religion/Belief).
A summary view of the Second Phase from the UUA’s International Office.
A Third Phase is currently underway (see Current Projects at left menu).
Interfaith Village Project, Philippines — 2008-2010: “Building Multifaith Village Livelihoods”
This program built on the abovementioned Dutch government-funded HRE (Human Rights Education) program 2004 to 2007, which also supported work in Philippines. Beyond the end of the Dutch funding, we continued funding work in several locales based on the idea of co-operative livelihood upliftment in multi-faith community settings.
Original Project Outline (PDF)
Two factors helped determine our decision to combine the extension of our mission with support for grassroots livelihoods in this way:
- The difficulty of promoting the concept of religious freedom alone, divorced from the day to day lives of village people; while many people are happy to get involved with livelihood-building programs to help others improve their quality of life.
- A revival of opinion in IARF that in light of the global food, fuel and climate crises, our old SSN (Social Services Network) needs reviving.
This program therefore recognizes that respect for the right of freedom of religion cannot be simply requested of communities. Where there is poverty, conflict will follow existing social faultlines – if not wealth-based divisions, then religion-based ones (or, a combination of these).
Future plans: With this pilot program, in communities where we are now known thanks to our previous work, we shall seek to support poverty alleviation at community level through projects that involve people of different faith working together to create and sustain livelihoods.
Local IARF members & training participants in the Philippines, in cooperation with the different faith communities & local government, will help in implementing trainings in human rights & interfaith awareness.
- Affirmation of Religious Freedom and Responsibility, 2002-2005
- RFYN programs, 2002-2005
- UN Representative’s Round Tables, 2002-2004