Maybe not so many people know what human rights are. Actually it’s quite simple to understand: human rights are those rights that every human being has since his birth: the rights to life, to an adequate standard of living, to an education, to an healthy environment, the freedom of conscience and religion, freedom of opinion and expression. Knowing these rights it’s important, specially in the school environment, in order to fight against any form of discrimination and social exclusion and to develop a critical thought towards stereotypes and prejudices which nowadays are so common in every society.
This is one of the main goal of the project “Model – Human Rights Defenders at school” implemented by CISS (International South South Cooperation), an italian NGO established in Palermo, and funded by the Delegation of the European Union in Skopje. The project aims to spread knowledges and awareness about human rights and intercultural dialogue into 8 macedonian secondary schools in the municipalities of Tetovo, Negotino, Struga, Gevgelija, Bogdanci, Valandovo. In this framework, around 50 teachers are involved in the project byworkshops on human rights education, non-formal learning method and monitoring methods of discrimination practices at school. At the core of the project there is “Model European Union”, a kind of meeting between students with different background who discuss like a parliament about a relevant social issue and try, together, to find solutions and to express proposals about one specific problem. By knowing and protecting their rights and the rights of the others, the students become human rights defenders.
During these meetings, experts from macedonian CSOs have participated: GoGreen for environmental rights, LGBTI Support Centre for LGBTI community rights, TV TELMA to talk about the freedom of expression in the media environment. CISS has established a good cooperation with Volunteer Centre Skopje, and in december, in honour of the Human Rights Day, a flash mob was organized by both the organizations with the participation of a guitarist, Tanja, and the amazing voice of Lena who has sung “Imagine” by John Lennon. Furthermore, the project includes also a research plan on discrimination and social inclusion in the secondary school system. In the framework of this research, the opinions of the students will be collected by surveys and interviews. The collected materials will be used to create an analytical research with data and informations about the most common form of discrimination, the measures taken by the schools, the opinion of the student population about migrants, homosexual people, women, people with different cultural and linguistic background.
But why talking about human rights is so important?Regarding the international community and the human rights international bodies, the human rights education is nowadays one important tool and it has to be spread among the youths. New generations may be more tolerant, more respectful towards the differences. In the global world, where everything is connected, human beings too often forget to connect themselves with the others to build together a peaceful environment based on justice, equality of rights, respect of the differences. That’s why we need to protect and to promote human rights: we all are humans, we should cooperate, not fight.