JIS News

The National Family Planning Board (NFPB) is recommending that human rights should be introduced into the school curriculum from as early as basic school.

In an interview with JIS News, Technical Officer in the Enabling Environment and Human Rights Unit at the NFPB, Nicola Cousins, pointed out that human rights are not currently taught in Jamaican schools.

“It would be one of the most sustainable ways of helping persons to know their human rights, because campaigns, while good, are very costly and have a time span,” she said, adding that a more long-term solution is needed to ensure that Jamaicans are properly equipped with the necessary knowledge to prevent the violation of their rights.

Miss Cousins was speaking against the background of the NFPB’s ‘Know Yuh Rights’ campaign, which is being executed in partnership with the Office of the Public Defender (OPD).

She pointed out that in the numerous consultations that were held in the lead-up to the campaign, the concern was raised that Jamaicans did not know their rights.

Miss Cousins informed that the campaign, which is intended to be far-reaching in helping persons to understand different aspects of human rights, also includes material that is specific to the right to education.

“We emphasise our government’s duty to provide up to pre-secondary level education, free of cost to children, and their entitlement to a safe environment,” she said.

The campaign has three primary objectives – to increase knowledge of basic human rights; to empower Jamaicans to report human rights violations, and to promote a human rights-based approach to service delivery.

Miss Cousins advised that the effectiveness of the NFPB/OPD Human Rights Campaign will be measured using a recall survey.

“By the end of 2022, we will assess whether the campaign messages were readily known by the target audiences, so for instance, we want people to know the main campaign slogans – Everybody Have Rights, Know Yuh Rights, Report Rights Violations,” she said.

“The recall survey will tell us whether persons learned those without much prompting from a focus group moderator,” Miss Cousins said.

The Technical Officer informed that one aim of the campaign is for people to be singing along to the jingle, which is also helpful in remembering things.

“We really want people to claim their rights. One of the ads focuses on the police having to have a search warrant before entering your premises and you having the right to witness the search,” she said.

“We want persons to come away with that kind of knowledge” Miss Cousins added.

She said that humane treatment is a big matter for our “duty bearers” and that the campaign also contemplates how persons are treated at public entities.

“We want Jamaicans to know that whichever public authority they are interacting with, they ought to get the service with respect. Overall, we want a kinder, gentler Jamaica by the time this campaign ends. That’s the overarching goal,” she said.

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