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UNESCO Report: “Education Sector Responses to Homophobic Bullying”

in WORLD, 19/06/2012

On 16 May, 2012, UNESCO published a landmark publication “Education Sector Responses to Homophobic Bullying”. The report is based on a 9-month worldwide consultation, in which Global Association on LGBT Education (GALE) assisted UNESCO intensively.

“Bullying is a violation of learners and teachers rights and an impediment to the Education for All goal of UNESCO", said GALE in its website.

In this report UNESCO has taken care that homophobic bullying is framed as a human right issue. This is a major shift from former statements, where homosexuality was considered to be a ‘very sensitive issue’ in the UNESCO context, and usually framed as a condition for effective HIV prevention.

While HIV still exists and is obviously important, the shift towards human rights gives attention to homophobic bullying with a legitimacy of its own.

The publication is based on a 9-month consultation in which GALE worked closely together with UNESCO to explore the existing research and good practices. The consultation does not end with the publication. It is the start of a more extensive strategy of UNESCO. The publication will be discussed in the education sector and UNESCO regional offices are asked to consider taking action on homophobic bullying.

While the publication should be seen as a suggestion based on good practices and not as a formal guideline, it is an important first step to start discussing homophobic bullying in member states and in the international arena. One of the next steps of GALE is to advocate for more formal recognition by member states of the need to combat homophobic bullying as a part of the Education For All (EFA) strategy.

The actions UNESCO undertakes will be listed on their theme page on homophobic bullying (URL: http://www.unesco.org/new/en/education/themes/leading-the-international-agenda/health-education/homophobic-bullying/ ) and also be monitored, supported and disseminated by GALE. GALE will also support countries and international actors by providing them with advice and workshops on how to start tackling homophobic bullying as a human rights issue.

The Report can be downloaded as a PDF from the following link:
http://www.lgbt-education.info/doc/unesco/UNESCO_Homophobic_bullying_2012.pdf

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