Welcome to COMPASS, the manual on human rights education
with young people!
We hope that it will provide you with the ideas, inspiration
and motivation to venture into the field of human rights education
with young people. COMPASS has been produced within the
framework of the Human Rights Education Youth Programme of the
Directorate of Youth and Sport of the Council of Europe, which
was launched in 2000 on the occasion of the 50th anniversary
of the European Convention on Human Rights. The programme aims
to put human rights at the centre of youth work and thereby to
contribute to the bringing of human rights education into the
Human rights education - meaning educational programmes and
activities that focus on promoting equality in human dignity
- is of incalculable value in shaping a European dimension of
citizenship meaningful to all Europeans. Developed in conjunction
with other programmes of the Directorate in Youth and Sport of
the Council of Europe - intercultural learning, participation,
empowerment of minorities and of young people from minority backgrounds
- human rights education has the potential to be a catalyst for
action and a source of synergies. Those involved in non-formal
education in youth work should be able to consider the evolution,
practice and challenges of human rights, with regard to their
universality, indivisibility and inalienability, and what these
mean to the young people of today.
The Directorate of Youth and Sport, especially through the European
Youth Centres and the European Youth Foundation, has acquired
an undisputed reputation for expertise in developing educational
approaches and materials suitable for use both in formal and non-formal
contexts as well as in different cultural environments. Its work
with multipliers, the impact of projects such as the "all
different - all equal" youth campaign, and its long-term
training programme have all contributed to the development of
projects that make their impact first and foremost at grass-roots
level while being pre-eminently European.
Recent events, both in Europe and other places of the world,
threaten the foundations of a culture of peace and human rights.
They show that a more visible, explicit and conscious approach
to human rights education is needed urgently.
In this context, the Human Rights Education Youth Programme aims
- bring Human Rights Education within the mainstream of youth
- value and develop Non-Formal Education with young people
as a form of Human Rights Education;
- value young people and youth organisations as a fundamental
resource for Human Rights Education and civil society in Europe;
- promote a broad understanding of Human Rights Education while
respecting the diversity of youth and social-cultural realities
in Europe today;
- develop new associative networks and synergies with partners
in the non-formal and the formal educational fields;
- pursue and achieve the maximum "multiplying effect"
by involving practitioners and partners at national and local
- provide practitioners across Europe with new educational
tools and networks for youth activities based on Human Rights
- integrate accumulated experience in intercultural and non-formal
education, youth participation and research;
- take into account innovations in educational approaches and
A compass for practitioners of human rights
COMPASS is central to this programme, which also includes
support to local pilot projects, national and regional training
courses and specific activities related to different forms of
violence. Instead of "another" manual or venturing into
new approaches or proposals for human rights education, the central
aim of this publication is to make human rights education accessible,
usable and useful to educators, facilitators, leaders, teachers,
volunteers and trainers who are active in
educational activities with young people. It is, in many ways,
a modest (yet ambitious) answer to the question that many concerned
activists and educators pose: "HOW do we do it?"
Experiences acquired during the educational activities of the
1995 European youth campaign against racism and intolerance
"all different - all equal" revealed that the success
of European educational projects of this kind depends on:
- the provision of appropriate and accessible educational methodologies
and tools, such as the Education Pack "all different
- all equal";
- the availability of such materials in the national languages
of the users;
- the existence of trainers and multipliers who can act and
disseminate at national, regional and local levels.
COMPASS is a response to these needs. It is published
by the Council of Europe in English, in French and in Russian
and translation and adaptation to other languages and contexts
is encouraged. The organisation of national and regional training
courses should help trainers and educators to become familiar
with the manual and to make sure that it reaches the schools,
associations and youth groups at the local level. COMPASS
only has meaning as a book for encouraging action.
We have taken good advantage of COMPASS being on-line to update
and create links between it and three publications which were
at the core of the "all different - all equal" campaign:
Alien 93 ; DOmino
and the all different
all equal Education Pack . The application of intercultural
principles within human rights education is crucial, as we can
see throughout COMPASS.
An open and participatory production process
Producing COMPASS has proven to be a huge task. Its thematic
scope is vast - human rights education concerns literally all
aspects of life today - its geographical and cultural scope is
extremely diverse. There are wide differences in the working environments
and educational contexts of the potential users, both within and
between non-formal and formal education. From the outset, the
following issues became problematic:
- Is it possible to respect the intrinsic universality of human
rights at the same time as addressing specific situations and
cultural diversity across Europe?
- Is it really possible to use the same manual and methods
across different countries?
- Is there anything in human rights or human rights education
that is specific to Europe?
- Is it realistic to attempt to produce one manual that would
be suitable for formal and non-formal educational environments?
- How much should users already know?
- Is it still possible to be innovative in this field?
- Will the manual's target group be prepared to use it?
- Is there any point in producing something specifically for
human rights education with young people?
It was not possible to answer all questions and dispel all concerns
and risks. What was called for was a production process that could
either provide answers or take the concerns into account. The
final product should, in fact, be the result of contributions
and expertise from:
- human rights education;
- intercultural learning;
- youth work;
- pedagogy and didactics;
- human rights organisations.
Reference Group and Production Team
A Reference Group was constituted on the basis of an open
call launched by e-mail and the Internet. The group's task was
to serve as a support to the writers. The group also defined the
outline of contents and general educational approaches and secured
insights and perspectives from other materials and experiences.
The Reference Group was composed of:
- Dr Elie Abouaoun, Lebanon, Nouveaux Droits de l'Homme-International
- Mr. Anatoliy Azarov, Russian Federation, Moscow School
of Human Rights
- Ms Patricia Brander, Denmark, consultant, experienced with
the "all different - all equal" Education pack
- Ms Ellie Keen, United Kingdom, Human Rights Education
Associates and Amnesty International
- Ms Corina Michaela Leca, Moldova, SIEDO - The Independent
Society for Education and Human Rights
- Ms Marie-Laure Lemineur, Spain and France, consultant experienced
with the United Nations University for Peace (Costa Rica)
- Ms Brigitte Mooljee, United Kingdom, Citizenship team at
the Department of Education and Employment
- Ms Louise Nylin, Sweden and USA, consultant with the UNDP
and with the People's Decade for Human Rights Education
- Ms Bárbara Oliveira, Sweden and Mozambique, consultant,
former youth co-ordinator with Amnesty International in South
- Ms Eunice Smith, Division of Human Rights, Peace, Democracy
and Tolerance, Social and Human Sciences sector at Unesco
- Mr. Alessio Surian, Italy, European Federation for Intercultural
- Ms Olena Suslova, Ukraine, Women's Information Consultative
- Mr. Wim Taelman, Belgium, Flemish Association for Human
- Mr. Andrew Yurov, Russian Federation, Youth Human Rights
Movement, Advisory Council of the European Youth Centre and
European Youth Foundation
- Ms Nancy Flowers, USA*, consultant, Human Rights Education
Resource Center, University of Minnesota
- Ms Jana Ondrácková, Czech Republic*, human
rights education programme developer and co-ordinator at the
Czech Helsinki Committee
- Ms Vedrana Spajic-Vrka*, Croatia, Faculty of Philosophy
of Croatia University of Zagreb
The Reference Group met in April 2001 at the European Youth Centre
Budapest in what was a very intensive and fruitful meeting. The
meeting produced the outline of COMPASS' contents and structure,
including the main themes that should be explored. Ideas for the
process of production and testing of activities were also brought
forward. The Production Team members, the group of eight people
who authored the texts for COMPASS, were also part of the
Reference Group. Other members of the group served as advisors
and supervisors for the writers during the production phase; their
work was voluntary.
The Production Team members divided the work among themselves
in a way that would secure maximum "cross-fertilisation"
of ideas and experiences, a realistic calendar and a clear identification
of tasks and responsibilities. Sections and activities had writers
and proofreaders in order to make sure that each text was read
and commented on by at least two or three people before it even
went to the rest of the team. The team held three meetings, in
May, June and September 2001.
Testing and finalising
The final drafts of the texts were placed on the Internet and
users of the HRE Youth Programme, as well as members of the Trainer's
Pool of the Directorate of Youth and Sports, could have access
to them, make comments and suggest improvements. Although the
time the texts were posted was short, the process was innovative
Youth organisations, national youth councils and other partners
of the Directorate of Youth and Sport were asked to provide references
for human rights educational materials available in their country
and language. The level of response was very varied and some lists
were quite long; it was therefore decided to keep the references
for the electronic version of COMPASS and for the HRE Resource
Particular attention was paid to involving or consulting youth
organisations with specific expertise in the themes of the Manual.
Their comments and suggestions were always useful.
The decision on the title - more than 20 suggestions for titles
were received - was also highly participated, especially as a
result of an announcement through the Human Rights Education Associates
list (list members could indicate preferences).
In order to secure consistency of styles and coherence of approaches
and contents, the various authors' work was given to a team of
three final editors. Ellie Keen took responsibility for chapters
1, 3 and 4, Marie-Laure Lemineur for the background information
on the themes and Patricia Brander worked on the activities and
related texts. Rui Gomes, Programme and Training Administrator
at the European Youth Centre Budapest, and coordinator of the
project, did the final editing.
What is in COMPASS?
The Production Team received from the Reference Group a mandate
to be as complete and comprehensive in the contents as possible
(so that anyone and everyone can find their matters of concern
or work in the Manual) while producing a manual which:
- users don't have to read in its entirety to be able to use
it - a facilitator should be able to run an activity without
having to read material that is not directly relevant to their
context or situation;
- contains a minimum of supplementary information for those
facilitators who may feel uncomfortable when dealing with a
certain theme (COMPASS should be sufficient);
- is eminently practical and based on experiential activities;
- is attractive, reflects the concerns of young people in Europe
and is a tool to develop their social skills and attitudes as
much as their knowledge and competencies;
- focuses on values and on social issues rather than (just)
on formal rights as laid down in conventions;
- is usable in formal and non-formal education;
- leaves "background information in the background"
and not at the beginning so that users can get on with the activities
but know that supporting information is available for reference.
As a result, COMPASS is organised in the following
Chapter 1: Familiarises
the reader with what we mean by human rights education. It should
motivate, inspire and introduce the reader on how to get the best
out of COMPASS and its educational approaches,
Chapter 2: A collection
of 49 activities of different levels of complexity, which cover
different themes and address different types of rights,
Cross-referencing is given to relevant follow-up activities in Alien 93 ; DOmino and the Education Pack.
Chapter 3: "Taking
action", contains ideas and tips for those that would like
to be more active in promoting human rights,
Chapter 4: Provides
essential information about human rights and international standards
Supplementary background information about the themes,
The appendices: Contain
essential information on legal documents, because human rights
are also about laws.
The choice of themes
The Reference Group originally identified sixty-three issues
that should be covered in COMPASS. These ranged from terrorism
to euthanasia. It was difficult for the Production Team to identify
and decide on a way to group all the issues into a logical framework.
In the end, they chose fifteen themes - Children, Citizenship,
Democracy, Discrimination and Xenophobia, Education, Environment,
Gender Equality, Globalisation, Health, Human Security, Media,
Peace and Violence, Poverty, Social Rights and Sport. It was a
difficult decision but the Team considered this the most useful
way in which to organise the activities in chapter
2. Whenever questions or doubts arose, we chose to be as inclusive
as possible. For the activities, a sixteenth theme was found -
general human rights, referring to activities that generally develop
important attitudes and awareness on all human rights.There is
no background information on this general theme.
The barrier of ethnocentrism
The most serious challenge faced during the production of COMPASS
was related to ethnocentrism. The diversity of both background
and experiences of those in the Production Team was intended to
ensure that most linguistic, educational and social backgrounds
would be represented in the manual. COMPASS should be truly
European and intercultural.
It is unclear to what extent this intention was ever feasible
or realistic. We came to realise that sometimes we had read things
in different languages but were in fact reading and referring
to the same source material. The fact that the original version
of COMPASS was drafted in English naturally encouraged
all of the writers to conduct research first of all
through English reference literature and on English language
Internet pages. Hopefully, our awareness of the risk may have
limited the damage but it was not easy to avoid it - an inevitable
consequence of globalisation! Also, it would have been impossible
to produce COMPASS with a team of 50 people writing in
50 different languages.
Pancho, the cartoonist working with us, synthesised all these
dilemmas when, confronted with the request of drawing about and
for a European public, he asked "but how shall I draw a European?"
About the methods
As stated earlier, it was not our intention to produce a "new"
manual, but rather to produce something that can be used easily
by all those working on human rights issues with young people.
We came to realise that there are many excellent materials already
These have naturally served as inspiration to the Production
Team. Whenever possible, credits and references have been given,
but we apologise for any omissions. Those familiar with this kind
of work will also realise that some methods have been adapted
or repeated in COMPASS. These recycled methods were kept
because our purpose is to provide a practical and usable tool.
If a method or dynamic has proven to be effective, it would be
a loss to deprive other users from using it.
Adaptation is also a key word for this entire manual. Although
the activities may appear to some as ready-made solutions, the
active user of COMPASS will need to look around and think
of where they are before deciding where to go. Suggestions are
given in the relevant section about how to adapt activities to
meet the specific concerns of the young people, to be appropriate
to the educational context, to fit the time available, etc.
COMPASS intends to provide different paths and ways that can
and should be taken bearing in mind the different cultural and
social values of young people in Europe. This diversity in approaches
is a strength and ensures that human rights do not become a dogma
imposed on anyone.
Reaching the local level
Producing COMPASS is only a starting point. Training courses
are being organised at regional and national level that will involve
youth workers and teachers. Parallel to this, COMPASS will be
translated into other languages. For what, when and where, please
consult the website of the programme at http://www.coe.int/hre.
What is out and what comes next?
Of the many activities written by the Production Team, more than
twenty had to be left out because there was not enough room for
everything. Entire pages of background information had to be cut
drastically or reduced for the same reason.
Many of these texts will find their way to users through an interactive
version of COMPASS. This version, which will be made during 2003,
will allow much better interactivity between texts and activities
and will, as far as possible, benefit from suggestions and texts
proposed by users.
Also not included in this manual is the proposed photo pack,
a series of photos on human rights issues, filmographies and songs
for human rights. COMPASS is, indeed, about providing directions,
starting points, references and orientation. Not everything can
fit in. The Human Rights Education Youth Programme still has a
long way to go. Indeed, there is a lot more to human rights education
than just COMPASS.
But COMPASS may be your starting point. We wish you success and
fun in using it.