THE SHAKY LEGAL FOUNDATIONS OF THE GLOBAL HUMAN RIGHTS EDUCATION PROJECT

Barend Vlaardingerbroek

Abstract


School students should be taught about the law and this includes rights education. The global human rights education (HRE) project focuses on universal human rights and has a strongly utopian orientation, drawing as it does on international declarations and principles of human rights law. International human rights law is, however, at best a fragile edifice, characterised by legally non-binding declarations, treaties that are subject to the vagaries of jus voluntarium, and mostly impotent international tribunals. HRE appears to rely more on its own interpretations of international human rights law, which may include reading (and writing) into texts what is simply not there. Far from being a form of law education, HRE is a form of social-transformative activism. Same-sex marriage advocacy is used as an example of the excesses to which HRE is prone. School-based rights education should be within the context of a comprehensive curricular package of law education using students’ domestic legal frameworks as the principal point of reference.


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