In September 2009, Slovenia – as the Chair of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe – has started with the implementation of the human rights project entitled “OUR RIGHTS” for 50,000 children in Kosovo*, Bosnia and Herzegovina and North Ossetia in the Russian Federation. The project is Slovenia’s concrete contribution to the democratisation of these societies, especially the promotion of tolerance and respect through human rights education.
During its OSCE chairmanship in 2005, Slovenia initiated a pilot project on human rights education called “OUR RIGHTS” which was based on the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Slovenian experts designed, initiated and led the implementation of the pilot project, which involved a number of governments of the OSCE participating States, NGOs, individual experts, ombudsman offices, field offices of international organisations, and other stakeholders. The participating countries showed great interest, and the teaching tool was translated into 17 languages and used with about 66,000 children in Albania, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Germany, Ireland, Kosovo*, Macedonia, Montenegro, the Russian Federation, Serbia, Slovenia, Turkey, and Ukraine. Children from minorities were also involved, including Roma children in several countries in South-Eastern Europe.
After having used the OUR RIGHTS material on their own for a few years, our partners in post-conflict societies previously affected by wars and terrorist attacks asked for further expert support, especially with the teaching materials.
In preparation for its chairmanship of the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers in 2009, Slovenia decided to support its partners in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo*, and North Ossetia in the Russian Federation in continuing the OUR RIGHTS project in the 2009/10 school year.
Our experience with the project shows that there are great opportunities and needs in the field. We rest assured that such project, as well as numerous other efforts by international organisations, non-governmental organisations, and government institutions are indeed necessary.
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* All references to Kosovo herein, whether the territory, institutions or population, are to be understood in full compliance with UN Security Council Resolution 1244, and without prejudice to the status of Kosovo.
Republic of Slovenia, Ministry of Foreign Affairs
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