The government's new draft curriculum fails to adequately enshrine the teaching of human rights, civil liberties groups warned today.
Amnesty International, Unicef UK, British Institute for Human Rights, Children's Rights Alliance for England, End Violence Against Women and English PEN joined forces to call on David Cameron's government to ensure human rights education takes pride of place in any reshaped national curriculum.
The coalition's plans, which went out to consultation earlier this week, confirmed that citizenship would remain part of the statutory curriculum but human rights would hardly feature at all, they said.
The groups warned that a failure to address the issue would not only miss internationally agreed targets on human rights education but would also be a backward step in the battle to improve behaviour, raise standards and tackle bullying in schools.
Amnesty International UK director Kate Allen said: "While we welcome the fact that the new curriculum says pupils should be taught about the 'precious liberties enjoyed by citizens' but overall the draft citizenship curriculum presents a depressingly limited vision.
"Children are growing up as global citizens in a globalised world. Young people are inspired by learning about the struggles for human rights across the world."
The UN convention on the rights of the child requires governments to promote and raise awareness of children's rights but the draft curriculum fails to do so, they argue.
Children's Rights Alliance for England director Paola Uccellari said:"The government's plans to roll back human rights education not only undermines children's rights to learn about their rights, but also runs counter to the government's own policy objectives."
And British Institute of Human Rights director Stephen Bowen said: "BIHR believes that every child should leave school with an awareness of the vital role human rights play in understanding how the UK is governed.
"We are disappointed that specific reference to human rights does not appear in the new citizenship curriculum.
"This is a worrying signal that our international promises on human rights education are being weakened, a failure which risks letting down our children."
The consultation, which was announced by Education Secretary Michael Gove on Thursday, is scheduled to conclude on April 16.
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