Improving Human Rights through Education

By Shukur Khilkhal for Al-Monitor. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

In a society where conservative religious trends and the rule of tribal law are on the rise, the dissemination of human rights principles is a difficult task.

Often, interpretations of religious and tribal customs contradict with basic rights as stated by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), such as the freedom of opinion, the freedom of religious belief and other personal rights.

Since 2006, the Iraqi Ministry of Education has been trying, to no avail, to include human rights-related vocabulary into school courses, namely the constitution’s articles on women’s and children’s rights.

On Feb. 23, Ministry of Education spokeswoman Salama al-Hasan said in a statement published on the ministry’s website that the project does not correspond to the required educational level in the human rights dissemination field. This is because the ministry has not developed an integrated program to teach human rights. Rather, it has included a number of simple human rights principles into ordinary teaching courses, such as language and math classes.

In a society where social movements and values ​​contradicting the principles of human rights are on the rise, such as in Iraqi society, it is absolutely necessary to teach and disseminate human rights principles on a large scale. This was confirmed by a number of human rights figures and parties, such as the parliamentary committee on human rights, which described the Ministry of Education’s program as “modest” in its proposal in September 2012.

The committee demanded that the Ministry of Education adopt a new curriculum, which was prepared by a number of British experts and academics, to be taught in schools at all academic stages.

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