The declaration is not a legal instrument and does not contain any new rights but is important in signifying the international community’s commitment to making people aware of their fundamental rights.
The declaration consists of 14 articles that cover a range of practical education and training activities which aim to help people to understand their fundamental rights and liberties better.
Commenting on the UK’s support for the UN declaration Justice Minister Lord McNally said:
‘Everyone agrees on the importance of upholding human rights. The coalition’s programme for government outlines our commitment to promote a better understanding of the true scope of these rights so that the UK offers an inspiring example of a society that upholds human rights and democracy. In that context I am delighted that the UK is supporting the United Nation’s Declaration on Human Rights Education and Training.
‘There are many examples of how promoting understanding of our obligations can lead to better outcomes for citizens, and practical ways in which people have been helped, for example human rights law has ensured that the elderly are able to demand acceptable standards of care in care homes, and that those with a terminal illness, or a disability are able to access appropriate and necessary services.
‘The events that are happening across the world demonstrate now more than ever the power which a strong understanding and commitment to inalienable human rights can bring to bear.’
The Ministry of Justice has a broad programme of awareness raising including the provision of guidance to public authorities to ensure their decision making and service delivery is done in a way that respects people’s rights.