Resolution on the 50th Anniversary of the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights and of ILO Convention 87, Concerning Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organise

published 28 July 1998 updated 31 March 2017

The Second World Congress of Education International, meeting in Washington D.C., U.S.A., from 25 to 29 July 1998:

"We must believe in values of humanity because otherwise we do not leave any point of reference for children to put their faith in. Rigoberta Menchu"

1. Recalls that 10th December 1998 is the 50th anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights;

2. Recalls that 1998 is also the 50th anniversary of the adoption of ILO Convention 87 concerning Freedom of Association and the Right to Organise;

3. Recognises that since 1948, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights has become the yardstick to measure the degree of respect for and compliance with international human rights standards, and that it continues to be the fundamental source of inspiration for national and international efforts to promote and protect human rights and fundamental freedoms;

4. Notes that the Universal Declaration recognises the inherent dignity of the human family and that the rights contained therein are universal, inalienable and interrelated, and that they provide a set of common values around which people can unite that transcend frontiers and cultural differences;

5. Recognises the significance of national and regional differences but rejects the current justification of authoritarian and paternalistic governments that the concept of freedom in certain regions of the world differs from that guaranteed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, or that certain peoples are only concerned with economic rights and are not yet ready to concern themselves with civil liberties and political freedoms;

6. Notes that such authoritarianism promotes repression and prevents meaningful change and preserves the structures of power and privilege;

7. Reaffirms that democracy and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms are interdependent and mutually reinforcing;

8. Notes that democracy is based on the freely expressed will of the people to determine their own political, economic, social and cultural systems;

9. Reaffirms the responsibility of all peoples, states, individuals, and all groups in civil society to promote human rights and fundamental freedoms set forth in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights;

10. Acknowledges the fundamental importance of the Universal Declaration to the promotion and protection of human rights, including the right to education;

11. Recalls commitment 6 of the World Summit for Social Development which recognises the role of education in promoting sustainable development, health, social justice, respect for human rights and democracy;

12. Reaffirms that education for human rights and democracy is in itself a human right and is a pre-requisite to the full realisation of social justice, peace and development;

13. Notes that education for human rights and democracy lays a solid foundation for guaranteeing human rights and preventing their violation;

14. Promotes a democratic and participatory education process to empower people and civil society to improve their quality of life;

15. Is opposed to international financial organisation guidelines that encourage privatisation, deregulation and the elimination of public services and social welfare, in the name of the reduction of government deficits;

16. Regrets that violations of the rights guaranteed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights continue;

17. Considers that violations of the Universal Declaration result particularly from:

a. an increase in regional, civil and inter-ethnic conflicts;

b. continuing cruelty which constitutes crimes against humanity;

c. violations of principles of humanitarian assistance;

d. refusal to grant full rights to women;

e. violation of the rights of children to receive education;

f. economic exploitation of children;

g. denial of rights to refugees.

18. Recognises the fundamental importance of ILO Convention 87 to the existence of education unions and to the promotion of the rights of all who work in education;

19. Recognises that violations of ILO Convention 87 continue by authoritarian governments that refuse to permit organisations to exist that they do not control;

20. Notes that 45 countries have not ratified ILO Convention 87.

21. The Congress calls on Education International and its Member Organisations to:

a. renew their commitment to the ideals of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and to ILO Convention 87; b. promote adherence to, and implementation of, the rights guaranteed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights;

c. pursue the ratification of ILO Convention 87 by all states in a campaign with the ICFTU and ITSs;

d. pursue policies that promote equality and social justice at all intergovernmental levels and at the national level;

e. work actively at the UN Commission on Human Rights and at the ILO to strengthen the role of the two organisations and their impact on policies that will promote human rights; f. renew efforts to have human rights education that promotes democratic values as an integral component of all education.