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19th Informal ASEM Seminar on Human Rights: "Human Rights Education & Training"

Project Period: Contact: Department: Programme: Theme:
4 - 6 November 2019 Armi Hannele AARNI Governance & Economy Department Informal ASEM Seminar on Human Rights Series (ASEMHRS) Governance & Human Rights



Venue:
Tromsø, Norway

 

The 19th Informal ASEM Seminar on Human Rights took place on 4-6 November 2019 in Tromso, Norway, on the theme of “Human Rights Education & Training”.

The Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) is an intergovernmental forum for dialogue and cooperation established in 1996 to deepen relations between Asia and Europe. The organisation addresses political, economic and socio-cultural issues of common concern. The 19th Informal ASEM Seminar on Human Rights aimed to contribute towards the promotion of human rights education and provide a platform for discussion on how to further strengthen the implementation of and access to human rights education at the ASEM level.

Participation in the 19th Informal ASEM Seminar on Human Rights took place in four simultaneous closed-door working group discussions, each focusing on one of the four following topics:

  • WG1 - Human Rights Education in the School Systems
  • WG2 - Equal Access to Human Rights Education
  • WG3 - Human Rights Education and Learning Beyond the Classroom
  • WG4 - Human Rights Education and Professional Training

For a more detailed overview, please see the Seminar Concept Note and Background Paper.

The Seminar was co-organised by the Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF), the Raoul Wallenberg Institute (nominated by the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs), the French Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs, the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs, the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Peoples’ Republic of China. The 19th Seminar was hosted by the Royal Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in partnership with the Arctic University of Norway (UiT). 

Partners

  • Department of Foreign Affairs, Philippines
  • Federal Department of Foreign Affairs of Switzerland
  • Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs, France
  • Ministry of Foreign Affairs, China
  • Raoul Wallenberg Institute

Sponsors

  • Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida)

Project Updates

  • ASEMHRS19-PICTURE 1

    "Human rights education is not just a product of teaching but more a process of learning about human rights, learning through human rights and learning for human rights. It is not just about gaining knowledge and understanding of human rights, but it is also about learning to respect human rights of others as well as empowering individuals to exercise their rights which also includes respecting other people's rights."

    This was one the key messages of the 19th Informal ASEM Seminar on Human Rights (ASEMHRS19): "Human Rights Education & Training" held on 4-6 November 2019 in Tromsø, Norway. The goal of the Seminar was to provide a platform for discussion on how to further strengthen the implementation of and access to human rights education (HRE) at the ASEM level, as well as to discuss examples of good practices and existing approaches to HRE.

    The Seminar, which was hosted by the Royal Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in partnership with the Arctic University of Norway (UiT), brought together over 120 experts, academics and government representatives from 44 ASEM Partner countries.

    The Seminar convened four working groups which discussed four topics: Human Rights Education in School Systems; Equal Access to Human Rights Education; Human Rights Education & Learning Beyond the Classroom; and Human Rights Education & Professional Training.

    The Working Group on Human Rights Education in School Systems was led by rapporteur Mr Frank ELBERS from Democracy and Human Rights Education in Europe Network and moderator Dr Nina BURRIDGE from the University of Technology of Sydney.

    The Working Group on Equal Access to Human Rights Education was headed by Dr Sriprapha PETCHARAMESREE from the Mahidol University, Thailand and moderated by Dr Calin RUS from International Institute of Timisoara, Romania; the findings of the Working Group on Human Rights Education & Learning Beyond the Classroom were summarised by Professor Felicia YEBAN from the Philippine Normal University and the discussion was moderated by Ms Krittika VISHWANATH from Amnesty International, Norway.

    Mr Knut ASPLUND from the Norwegian Centre for Human Rights acted as rapporteur for Working Group on Human Rights Education & Professional Training, while Associate Professor Haina LU from Renmin University of China served as moderator. The main outcomes of the discussions are gathered in Key Messages which has been shared with all 53 ASEM Partners.

    The Seminar was organised by the Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF), the Raoul Wallenberg Institute (nominated by the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs), the French Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs, the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs, the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs of Switzerland and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People's Republic of China.

    As a follow-up to the Seminar, the series will deliver a capacity-building training component on the theme "Human Rights Education & Training" during the first half of 2020.

    ASEMHRS19 -PICTURE 2

    "Despite the notable progress in making human rights education part of national curricula most countries do not appear to have done so or have not continued despite commitments. We therefore need to be more creative, assertive, and innovative and I would suggest adopt some other action plans so that we truly realise the implementation and integration of human rights education in many more national school systems," stressed Dr Fernand de VARENNES, UN Special Rapporteur of Minority Issues in his keynote speech. The other keynote speakers were H.E. Ms Ine Marie Eriksen SØREIDE, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Norway and Professor Vitit MUNTARBHORN, UNESCO Human Rights Education Prize Recipient.

    ASEMHRS19 -PICTURE 3
    (from left to right: Assoc Prof Ánde SOMBY, Professor ØYVIND RAVNA, Prof Torjer OLSEN, Prof Gunhild HOOGENSEN GJØRV, Assoc Prof Marc LANTEIGNE; and moderator Ms Marcela DOUGLAS, UiT The Arctic University of Norway)

    The last day saw an insightful panel discussion on "Sámi - & Indigenous Peoples' Rights in Arctic Areas", organised by UiT.

  • From L-R: Ms LI Yi, First Secretary, Department of International Organisations and Conferences, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, PRC; Ms Iulia LUMINA, Project Officer, ASEF Governance & Economy Department; Mr Achsanul HABIB, Director of Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Indonesia; Ambassador CHEN Shiqiu from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, PRC; Mr Rolf RING, Deputy Director of the Raoul Wallenberg Institute; Ambassador Anita NERGAARD, Royal Norwegian Embassy in Singapore; Mr Espen RIKTER-SVENDSEN, Special Adviser, Royal Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Section for East Asia & Oceania; Ambassador Karsten WARNECKE, ASEF’s Executive Director; Ms Sandra LENDENMANN, Head- Office of Human Rights Policy, Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs; Mr Gonaranao B MUSOR, First Secretary and Consul, Embassy of the Philippines in Singapore; Armi Hannele AARNI, Project Manager, ASEF Governance & Economy Department and Mr SUN Xiangyang, ASEF Deputy Executive Director.

    On 15 February 2019, the Steering Committee of the Informal ASEM Seminar on Human Rights Series met at the ASEF premises in Singapore. The biannual meeting sought to clarify and discuss the preparations for the 19th Informal ASEM Seminar on Human Rights (#ASEM19HRS). Besides the representatives of the Steering Committee of the #ASEM19HRS the meeting hosted Ambassador Anita NERGAARD representing the Royal Norwegian Embassy in Singapore and Mr Espen RIKTER-SVENDSEN from the Royal Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

    The Committee confirmed that the 19th Informal ASEM Seminar on Human Rights will take place from 4 to 6 November in Tromsø, Norway. The northern Norwegian city also known as the “Gateway to the Arctic” is one of Norway’s cultural hubs and prominent for its beautiful nocturnal Northern Lights that can be observed throughout the winter season. The #ASEM19HRS will focus on Human Rights Education and the promotion of knowledge, values, and principles of human rights to empower people across Asia and Europe.

    ASEF would like to thank the Royal Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs for their close collaboration and their eagerness to host the 19th Informal Seminar on Human Rights. We are looking forward to organising the upcoming project with you.