Presentation on human rights and human rights education

Tuesday - 26/03/2019 22:12
On March 26th, 2019, Prof.Dr Pham Quang Minh (USSH's Rector) and USSH's staff and lecturers welcomed Prof.Donald B. Holsinger (Geneva Office for human rights education) and attended his presentation.

Prof.Dr Pham Quang Minh takes a ceremonial picture with Prof. Donald B. Holsinger and his wife

The presentation of Prof.Donald. Holsinger was titled "From desires to human rights standards: on the 70th anniversary of the Universal Human rights Declaration". The Universal Human rights Declaration was approved by the United Nations General Assembly on December 10th, 1948 in Paris, France. It consists of 30 articles that address the fundamental rights enjoyed by every individual regardless of their race, skin color, gender, language, religion or any other conditions. Vietnam signed this Declaration in 1982.

Although the Declaration has a global reach, among member nations of the UN there have been differences in interpreting and applying the concept of human rights. According to Prof.Donald B.Holsinger, not all nations have been willing to adhere to the 30 established articles, for each nation has its own political, economic, social and cultural features. Even contradictions have arisen between them concerning some articles, especially when it comes to freedom of religion-belief and freedom of expression.

Prof.Donald B.Holsinger

Having spent nearly half his life experiencing the diverse lifestyles in countries outside the United States, Prof. Donald B.Holsinger takes issue with the idea that a country's views on human rights can be imposed upon another. He also argued that economic development does not necessarily correspond with the degree of human rights assurance. In reality, many developed countries have been facing criticisms for abusing human rights. In contrast, in some less developed countries such as Mozambique, the people are happy and optimistic about their future. As for Vietnam, Prof. Donald B.Holsinger highly appreciated its progress in maintaining human rights and improving the happiness of its citizens in recent years.

As for how to improve human rights performance, Prof. Donald B. Holsinger considers education a key factor. Because only by educating its citizens about their rights and responsibilities can each country help them understand the concept of human rights correctly so as to avoid misunderstanding and conflicts of interest in its application. In this process, higher education institutions also play an important role, because they are the places where the elite study and work. According to the professor, scholars and lecturers such as those at USSH are likely the most responsive and sensitive to the human rights issues in their country.

Prof.Donald B.Holsinger also discussed with the audience about such topics as the current prominent debates on human rights in the world; the obstacles in implementing human rights; the main theoretical issues in human rights studies; and the relationship between conflicts of interests and those of human rights.

Prof.Donald B.Holsinger currently works at the Geneva Office for Human rights education. He is also a sociologist and Emritus Professor in International Development Studies at Brigham Young University since 2007. He received his PhD in International Development Education from Stanford University in 1972. He also served as Principal Education Specialist at the World Bank from 1975-1987.

Author: Tran Minh

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