What We Do
HUMAN RIGHTS, CONFLICT RESOLUTION AND TOLERANCE PROGRAMME (HRCRT)
In addition to teaching the host country curriculum, UNRWA works to enrich its Education programme through the delivery of human rights education. The programme began in 1999 with the aim to promote non-violence, healthy communication skills, peaceful conflict-resolution, human rights, tolerance, and good citizenship. In May 2012, the Agency endorsed its new Human Rights, Conflict Resolution and Tolerance (HRCRT) Policy to further strengthen human rights education in UNRWA. This policy builds upon past successes, but also draws from international best practices and paves the way to better integrate human rights education in all our schools.
The HRCRT Policy reflects the UNRWA mandate of quality education for Palestine refugees and sets out a common approach among all UNRWA schools for the teaching and learning of human rights, conflict resolution and tolerance. The vision of the policy is to ‘provide human rights education that empowers Palestine refugee students to enjoy and exercise their rights, uphold human rights values, be proud of their Palestinian identity, and contribute positively to their society and the global community’. The HRCRT Policy is also a key element of the wider education reform in UNRWA.
HRCRT TOOLKIT FOR TEACHERS
The HRCRT Toolkit was developed in 2013 as a practical guide to support teachers and school principals in implementing the HRCRT Policy and update the approach to teaching and learning human rights in UNRWA schools. It provides a general guide on human rights, planning tools for its integration at schools, and 40 child-friendly activities that will develop the knowledge, skills, and attitudes of students towards a culture of human rights.
The HRCRT Toolkit was developed in a fully participatory manner and then improved according to feedback received during its testing phase in UNRWA schools in the West Bank and Gaza. All teachers and school principals have been trained to help them make the best use of the HRCRT Toolkit. In this way, each and every UNRWA teacher can play a crucial role in strengthening a culture of human rights in UNRWA schools that serve more than 545,000 Palestine refugee students.
Read the HRCRT Teacher Toolkit.
UNRWA SCHOOL PARLIAMENTS
Every year since 2001, UNRWA schools hold elections to form school parliaments as part of its HRCRT programme. These parliaments have been a key vehicle for the promotion of respect for rights, democratic practices, and tolerance. The elected students seek to represent all students and support their communities. For example, school parliaments organize human rights related activities, help resolve conflicts between students, organize field trips, invite guest speakers, and represent students when speaking to school administration.
To further strengthen school parliaments and guide their work, the ‘UNRWA School Parliaments: Good Practices Booklet’ was developed in 2015. The booklet is a compilation of good practices from UNRWA school parliaments in all five Fields of operation. The practices reflect how school parliaments have been working to raise awareness and take action on human rights. The booklet provides an easy-to-read summary of a range of activities undertaken by school parliaments and as such provides a reflection of a small sample of the vast wealth of experience of UNRWA schools.
Building on the School Parliament Good Practices Booklet, the School Parliament Reference Guide was developed in 2021. The Guide provides a unified and clear framework for the work of school parliaments in all Fields, especially with regards to the elections procedures and work principles.
AREA-LEVEL AND FIELD-LEVEL STUDENT PARLIAMENTS
An area-level student parliament comprises the presidents of all school parliaments in the educational area within the Field. UNRWA’s Fields of operation are divided into 22 areas, and therefore there are 22 area-level student parliaments in UNRWA. Each of these elect a president, a vice-president, and a secretary. At the area-level, student parliamentarians work with the camp committees and the local communities to help resolve issues in their camps and areas.
A field-level student parliament comprises all presidents, vice-presidents, and secretaries of the area-level student parliaments in that field. UNRWA has five field-level student parliaments, one in each Field. Each of these elect a president, a vice-president, and a secretary. At the field-level, student parliamentarians often meet with the Director of UNRWA Operations in their Field to help resolve issues in their Fields and represent their peers in high-level meetings at the field-level.
THE AGENCY-WIDE STUDENT PARLIAMENT
In November 2017, the first-ever Agency-wide Student Parliament (ASP) was elected, consisting of 22 members representing each educational area within the Fields of operation. The ASP is designed to provide a collective space to enhance the engagement of students Agency-wide, help them express their pride in their common Palestinian identity and strengthen their social cohesion, voice their opinions on relevant issues, and convey their views and opinions on various matters – reflecting the specific issues and aspects of each field to the Agency’s headquarters (HQ).
Members of the ASP have been actively engaging in key international events, such as the United Nations General Assembly in New York, the League of Arab States meetings in Egypt, the UNRWA Advisory Commission Meeting (AdCom) in Amman, the UNRWA Pledging Conference in New York, and other high-level events.
ENHANCING COMMUNITY AWARENESS OF HUMAN RIGHTS
The community plays a key role in forming the attitudes and values of children and thus in developing HRCRT learner competencies. Therefore, increasing human rights community awareness and education is an important step towards strengthening a culture of these principles even beyond UNRWA schools. This is achieved through:
HUMAN RIGHTS DAY CELEBRATIONS
Since 2014 UNRWA has been actively utilising Human Rights Day, celebrated on 10 December in all UNRWA schools, as a means to reach out to communities and promote a culture of human rights. Celebrating Human Rights Day aims to::
- Increases community awareness about human rights.
- Demonstrate to parents, and the community at large, that in UNRWA schools, children are learning about human rights and more broadly are acting to create a better world by becoming active, responsible, and respectful citizens.
- Present the role of school parliaments to promote a culture of human rights in school and community life.
‘STANDING TOGETHER TO STOP BULLYING’ DAY
Since 2019, UNRWA schools have been conducting ‘Standing Together to Stop Bullying’ Day, celebrated on 21 February, aiming to support students to:
- Identify different types of bullying in schools, including forms of cyberbullying.
- Explore concrete strategies to prevent and address bullying.
- Promote a culture of respect and dignity in UNRWA schools.
Parents and the local community are also involved in ‘Standing Together to Stop Bullying’ Day activities and receive information on how to identify bullying practices and provide support to their children in case bullying incidents take place.
HRCRT ANIMATED VIDEOS
HRCRT animated videos aim to raise awareness about human rights and the Agency’s HRCRT programme within communities in all Fields by demonstrating the value and relevance of human rights education for students in UNRWA schools. The videos are screened on the UNRWA YouTube channel.
Watch our videos
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