Human Rights in the New Europe: Problems and Progress

By David P. Forsythe | Go to book overview

11

Inventing New
Educational Ideas

Richard Pierre Claude

In June 1988, representatives of thirteen nations that had suffered various forms of dictatorship gathered in Manila at the International Conference of Newly Restored Democracies. 1 It was an occasion for solemn speeches. President Corazon Aquino repeated her earlier observation that after the fall of the Marcos dictatorship, the country stood in need of a "national refresher course on human rights and the workings of democracy," 2 and Foreign Secretary Raul S. Manglapus asserted that the restoration of democracy and human rights requires an infrastructure of international support—at least a "consultative mechanism to which our nations may run for moral and material buttressing...." 3

In the few years after the 1988 Manila Conference, the phrase "peoples' power"—widely used in the Philippines to characterize the process of peacefully deposing tyranny—has echoed around the world to characterize the rich harvest of nations throughout Central Europe, Latin America, Africa, and Asia that have moved into the categories of emerging or reemerging democracies. In these countries, people speak up strongly in favor of human rights education as an antidote to national recidivism and backsliding toward authoritarianism.

The Helsinki Committee in Poland published a report entitled Human Rights in Poland, 1989, in which, among other topics, the committee addressed the need for training in the field of human rights. The

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