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Promotion of Human Rights, Peace and Democratic Principles

Follow-up of the Durban conference


RUSHSAP organized a regional consultation from 2-3 December 2002 in Bangkok as a follow-up to the World Conference against Racism held in Durban, South Africa. The objective of the consultation was to seek advice and suggestions from researchers, policy makers and civil society on the content and direction of an agenda for UNESCO to implement the resolutions and programme of action from the Durban meeting, in the Asia-Pacific region. Fifteen people participated in the consultation, including staff from HQ and from the Office of United Nations Human Rights Commission (See Durban Follow-up Report). A follow-up meeting was held in Osaka (Japan) from 4-5 June 2003 (See Osaka Report).


Coalition of Cities Against Discrimination


Consultation on human rights of women, gender equality and development


RUSHSAP also organized another regional consultation on human rights of women, gender equality and development from 28-29 November 2002 in Bangkok. The objective of this consultation was again to seek advice and suggestion from specialists for a UNESCO Social and Human Sciences (SHS) agenda and strategy on human rights of women, gender equality and development in the Asia-Pacific region. Fifteen people participated in the consultation, including staff from HQ.


As a follow-up to the consultation, specifically on the recommendation for UNESCO to initiate a review of the women’s studies programmes in the region, a regional meeting of academics and specialists involved in teaching and research in Women’s/Gender Studies programmes at university level is being organized. Background papers from the region have been commissioned for the meeting which will be held in Bangkok from the 1st – 3rd of December 2003. The main objective is to seek ways and ideas to strengthen and provide support for these programmes in the region.



Human Rights (especially women’s rights) awareness programme aimed at teacher-training institutes and government officials in public and private sectors (Thailand, Lao PDR and Myanmar)


RUSHSAP is completing a pilot project with the Office of Rajabhat Institutes Council, Ministry of Education (Thailand) to integrate Human Rights Education into Teacher Training programmes. The Office of Rajabhat Institutes Council at the Ministry of Education has developed five modules with human rights components and these have been accepted as part of the social science curriculum in the 41 Rajabhat Institutes nation-wide. The modules are now available electronically, allowing Rajabhat students and teachers with internet access to see and use the modules on line. Based on the outcome of this project, similar initiatives will be launched in Lao PDR and Viet Nam.


Undertaking research to determine the factors which influence public perception and behaviours in the exercise of democratic rights


Funds were decentralized to UNESCO Jakarta Office to help implement a Human Rights project in Indonesia: “The Right to Education: Human Rights in Education, and Human Rights through Education in Indonesia: a background study”.


A background paper was prepared for the workshop on “Universalizing the Right to Education of Good Quality: A Rights-Based Approach to Achieving Education for All”, held in Manila from 29-31 October 2002 (See Final Report). The paper included an overview of international legal obligations relating to education for all participating selected countries of the region, and an overview of constitutional guarantees regarding the right to education in all participating countries, etc. (See Background Paper). A recently published book, “Education Denied – Cost and Remedies” is based on this project, written by Preofessor Katarina Tomasevski, the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to education.


RUSHSAP sponsored an International Conference on “Re-thinking Ethnicity and Nation Building: Malaysia, Sri Lanka and Fiji in Comparative Perspective” in Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) from 26-28 February 2003, organized by the Malaysian Social Science Association (PSSM) and the Institute of Malaysian and International Studies (IKMAS) of the Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia. Malaysia, Sri Lanka and Fiji are three examples of multiethnic societies in the Asia-Pacific region which provide a rich laboratory to examine and re-think issues of ethnicity and nation-building. A comparative study of the three countries was not only important theoretically, but will also have significant policy implications. About 150 participants, including scholars, researchers, policy makers, NGO representatives and students participated in the conference. The conference papers will be published in an edited volume, which will contribute to the corpus of knowledge and as policy inputs for managing ethnicity and nation building (See Ethnicity Report).


Promotion of the awareness of peace and harmonious co-existence among South East Asian people


Following on from last year’s activities, RUSHSAP collaborated with the St. Martin’s Center for Professional Ethics and Service Learning, of Assumption University, (Thailand) to organize training workshops in the field of peace-building for teacher training colleges in Lao PDR, Cambodia and Viet Nam on teaching approaches for Peace. The activities include film presentations, debates and workshops for high school students and teachers. Workshops with similar objectives were organized in Lao PDR, Cambodia and Viet Nam as part of this project and were completed in June 2002. Financial support was given by the Confederation of St. Gabriel’s Foundation of Thailand Alumni Association (CGA) totaled US$ 20,000).