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The Rule of Law for Citizenship Education: International Law and Human Rights

On the 28th June 2017, the Bingham Centre's Rule of Law for Citizenship Education project launched a brand new textbook, "International Law and Human Rights". The textbook is an innovative and practical tool for teachers; providing five lesson plans with learning objectives, student printouts, background information for teachers and glossaries containing definitions of key legal terms and concepts. The launch took place at Travers Smith LLP and brought together academics, educators and leaders in civil society.

The Centre's Research Fellow in Citizenship Education and the Rule of Law, Michael Olatokun, opened the event by introducing the project and the textbook, before delivering an impassioned justification of the need for human rights education and the textbook's place in today's schools. He explained that the crux of the programme is to empower young citizens with a knowledge of their rights so that they can influence decision makers, question legislation that is not in their interests and challenge liberal-looking Western politicians who are, in fact, rehearsing the rhetoric of the 1930s.

Participants then heard from three campaigners in the fields of education for democratic citizenship, human rights and the law. Ade Onibada from Bite The Ballot spoke about the importance of democratic engagement and teaching the youth to be active citizens. Julia Kirby-Smith, Chief Executive of RightsInfo, highlighted the power of people knowing their rights and being able to assert them. Finally, Alex Cisneros, a pupil Barrister at No. 5 Chambers, explained the role that rule of law education can play in citizens' ability to protect themselves in daily life.

An interactive session then provided the chance for participants to try for themselves some key activities from the book and provide feedback on their findings.

Closing remarks were given by Michael Olatokun who emphasised the need for education which is about, through and for human rights. He also spoke about an upcoming pilot of the textbook, in order to gain valuable feedback on its' impact.

If you would like more information about the project, the textbook or about participating in the pilot of the textbook please email

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