HRC / 23rd Session, Interactive dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance
Austria would like to thank the Special Rapporteur for his comprehensive presentation and the report.
Austria welcomes this year’s focus on education as a central means to prevent and combat racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance. We share your assessment that education has the powerful potential to address deep-rooted discrimination, the legacy of historical injustices and can contribute to combat racist ideas, attitudes and stereotypes.
We all agree that no one is born as a racist and society has a powerful impact in preventing racism, but also in condoning it. Therefore, we cannot underestimate the role of education, which is to promote at a very early stage already, tolerance, respect and mutual understanding. With simple measures such as anti-discrimination training for teachers, inclusive curricula and temporary special measures, an enabling environment can be created. We would like to ask you whether you could present some good practices in this regard.
Let me underline that there are individuals and groups who still face serious obstacles and challenges to the full enjoyment of their right to education, including low levels of education, or discrimination and segregation in schools. One example are persons belonging to minorities. Although the UN Declaration on the Rights of Persons Belonging to Minorities provides for measures to encourage knowledge of the history, traditions, language and culture of the minorities, this is often not the case. In addition, the high drop-out rate of persons belonging to minorities in schools is alarming. Given the cross-cutting nature of this issue, we would like to know
whether you are planning to increase your cooperation with other mandate holders, especially with the Independent Expert on minority issues, on this pressing topic.
We particular appreciate that you put an emphasize on the importance of education and in particular of human rights education and training in preventing racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance. In Austria, human rights education has been integrated into school curricula since 1978. Human rights are dealt with in numerous ways at Austrian schools, ranging from education in history and political science to the treatment of human rights aspects of globalization. In addition to regular human rights education, detailed information and teaching material explicitly treating economic, social and cultural rights are available. Human rights education is also a mandatory part of the training programs for law enforcement officials and within the judiciary in Austria.
Before concluding, let me ask you whether you are planning to continue to put focus on the issue of discrimination against Roma and victims of caste-based discrimination, including Dalit while bearing in mind multiple, aggravated and intersecting forms of violence.
I thank you.