O'Donnell urges greater emphasis on Human Rights in school curriculum
The Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Liz O'Donnell TD, said today that the protection and promotion of human rights should receive greater emphasis in the secondary school curriculum.
Minister O"Donnell, who has responsibility for Human Rights, says young people's strong natural sense of justice should be fostered through the education system and students specifically targeted in public awareness campaigns on human rights and global solidarity.
"Standing up for those who are less fortunate than ourselves, and for people around the world who do not enjoy the same privileges and freedoms as we do in this democracy of ours, is as important a part of a young person's education as achieving excellence in the traditional curriculum subjects," the Minister said.
She was speaking at the launch in Loreto High School, Beaufort, in Rathfarnham, Dublin, of Amnesty International's poster campaign commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The posters are being distributed to every secondary school and third-level institution in the country.
"Human rights are the birthright of all human beings. The protection and promotion of these rights is the first responsibility of every Government. They must be vindicated at home and abroad," the Minister said.
She said we would soon be establishing our own new Human Rights Commission.
"This was one of the features of the Belfast Agreement. It's an exciting new development and I have no doubt the new Commissions, North and South, will greatly increase public awareness of human rights issues throughout Ireland. The new Commissions are the first of their kind in western Europe. They will have the power to assist individuals in bringing court proceedings in cases where they believe human rights breaches have occurred," Minister O'Donnell said.
The Amnesty poster campaign is funded by the Department of Foreign Affairs and is one of a number of initiatives promoted by the Department to mark the 50th anniversary.