The Human Rights Education Project (HREP) was launched at the UN University for Peace in Costa Rica, in 2003 with support from the Netherlands Government. The Icelandic Human Rights Centre became involved in the project in August 2004. The Project has also received funding from UNESCO and the Icelandic Ministry of Justice. In March 2009 the eighth edition of the Human Rights Reference Handbook was published along with the fourth edition of the Human Rights Instrument and the revision and update of the Human Rights Education Project materials and the preparation of Spanish editions are underway.
The objective of the Human Rights Education Project is to develop and distribute human rights materials that promote understanding, respect and enjoyment of human rights in the different regions of the world, particularly in resource poor countries. The project has resulted in the production of three books, a CD-ROM, and a web page.
The materials constitute a comprehensive ‘package’ or kit for human rights education. Substantive human rights and enforcement mechanismns are discussed in The Universal and Regional Human Rights Protection; Cases and Commentaries. The Human Rights Reference Handbook provides an introduction to the main topics of international human rights law. It reviews human rights standards, supervisory mechanisms and organizations. The texts of major human rights instruments can be found in Human Rights Instruments. The CD-ROM Human Rights Concepts, Ideas and Fora includes the full text of all key human rights cases and decisions and other materials such as all the General Comments of the UN Treaty Bodies. Finally, the HREP Web-site contains all the aforementioned materials.
The HREP materials have been widely distributed to educational institutions, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations.
The Human Rights Education Project provides, in a convenient, accessible form, a comprehensive overview of the main topics and documents relevant to international human rights protection. The materials constitute a comprehensive ‘educational kit’ in the field of international human rights, of value to academics, university students, governmental and non-governmental organisations and other interested parties throughout the world, particularly in developing countries.
The main purpose of the Project is to provide an overview of the most important issues related to human rights and a description of the competences of the major human rights bodies, together with a convenient compilation of all relevant human rights instruments. In particular, the Project constitutes a response to the substantial deterioration over the past decade in access to library materials for students in resource-poor developing countries.
The rapid and important changes which have taken place in the field of human rights have given rise to the clear need for the constant replacement of books which are the essential foundations of learning and research. At the same time, the price of books has soared while university resources available to purchase books have, in many cases, declined.
Widespread human rights education and the direct promotion of human rights are essential to strengthen human rights protection throughout society.
It is hoped that the Human Rights Education Project and in particular this web-page will contribute to the dissemination of knowledge about human rights law in civil society, in government and administration and in academia.