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Educating Human Rights increases global awareness - Ruane

6 November, 2008 - by Caitríona Ruane


The Sinn Fein Education Minister has highlighted the importance of human rights education at a cross-border conference in Belfast today.

Addressing the 'Mainstreaming Human Rights Education in Schools Conference' organised by Lift Off, Caitríona Ruane said:

"Lift Off is a great example of how the important subject of Human Rights can be taught in our classrooms.

"My vision for education is rooted in equality of opportunity and opportunity to succeed regardless of background, gender or race. Equality has to mean respect for each other's culture, nationality, language and ethnicity. The Lift Off programme and the work being carried out in schools across this island by teachers and youth leaders must be commended for helping to promote tolerance and understanding based on mutual respect."

The conference has been organised by Lift Off, a human rights education initiative involving Amnesty International, the Irish National Teachers' Organisation (INTO) and the Ulster Teachers' Union (UTU). The aim of Lift off is to provide teaching materials to schools to help promote an understanding of human rights issues.

"I am committed to seeing human rights embedded further in our schools. Teaching our children and young people about human rights will help them become global citizens, respecting their neighbours and counterparts from around the world.

"It is a basic human right to be protected from being hurt and mistreated. Teaching resources which teach compassion and respect such as the Lift Off initiative, will help our young people understand the importance of respect.

"Amnesty International, INTO and UTU must be commended for bringing this very important subject to schools on the island of Ireland." ENDS

Note to Editors

  1. The Lift Off programme began in 2001 and is a cross-border partnership between Amnesty International, the Irish National Teachers' Organisation and the Ulster Teachers' Union.
  2. Lift Off received funding from the Department of Education and the Department for Education and Science.
  3. The programme materials have been developed to support the revised curriculum and are included in the Council for the Curriculum, Examinations and Assessment's list of suggested resources to support the teaching of Personal Development and Mutual Understanding in primary schools.

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