Cablegate: Guidance Request for Draft Declaration On Human Rights


DE RUEHGV #0110 0360959
R 050955Z FEB 10



E.O. 12958: N/A
SUBJECT: Guidance Request for Draft Declaration on Human Rights
Education and Training

1. This is an action request. See para 4.

2. The 13th Session of the Human Rights Council (HRC), beginning
March 1st, will hold a High Level (Ministerial) discussion on the
Right to Human Rights Education and Training and subsequently
almost certainly pass a resolution establishing a mechanism to
draft a declaration. The sponsors of this effort (Morocco, Costa
Rica, Slovenia, The Philippines, Italy, and Switzerland - referred
to as "the Platform") aim to begin negotiations on the draft
declaration as soon as possible, perhaps as early as April, and
hope to conclude negotiations in time for consideration by the UN
General Assembly (UNGA) during the 66th session in 2011. As a
point of departure, the Platform will use a draft declaration
approved by the Advisory Committee in January, whose drafting
committee worked for two years developing the draft (see
attachment). Previous resolutions addressing the need for a
declaration and discussions during HRC and Advisory Committee
sessions indicate that a draft declaration will receive broad
support and that the HRC will likely pass a resolution for the
UNGA's consideration within or near to the 2011 time frame.

3. Discussions so far indicate that many countries believe the
declaration should assert a "fundamental right" to human rights
education and that the declaration should define it as broadly as
possible to include every manner of formal and informal education.
[Note: Pakistan, the Philippines and some others have questioned if
human rights education constitutes a "human right." End note.]
Regarding implementation, the Advisory Committee proposes the
establishment of "specialized administrative bodies" at the
national level and an international center to facilitate and
coordinate the implementation of the declaration internationally.
The draft declaration also includes language aimed to protect human
rights educators, and thus could serve to advance human rights more
broadly in countries with abusive regimes and offer human rights
advocates additional protections.

4. ACTION REQUEST: The United States has participated in these
discussions and joined consensus on resolutions, but has not
otherwise taken a significant role in the debate. Mission Geneva
seeks Department guidance on the current draft declaration and on
our overall policy and approach to the drafting of such a
declaration. Mission Geneva will need language for an intervention
for the discussion taking place during the 13th HRC session
beginning March 1st, as well as voting instructions on the
resolution. Platform members have told MissionOffs that the
resolution will only aim to establish a negotiating mechanism and
not address the substance of the draft declaration. Shortly
thereafter, however, with the beginning of negotiations on the text
of the declaration, the Mission will need detailed guidance on the
draft text on a continuing basis as the negotiations proceed.

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