Press Release

AFT and Education International Launch Program to Promote Human and Workers’ Rights Around the World

For Release: 

Monday, December 10, 2012


Shannon Lederer

Project to Begin in Egypt, Georgia, Honduras and Zimbabwe

WASHINGTON—As world events provide continual reminders of the courage and determination required to advance and preserve basic democratic rights and freedoms, the American Federation of Teachers and Education International announced today—International Human Rights Day—the launch of a new international teachers' union project to promote human and workers' rights.

Teachers Advancing a Rights Culture, or TARC, will provide teachers and their unions with the information and tools they need to live and work in dignity; promote democratic rights such as the freedoms of expression, assembly and association; and ensure the right of every child to a high-quality education. The program will begin in four countries in various stages of political and social transition—Egypt, Georgia, Honduras and Zimbabwe.

The AFT Educational Foundation will administer the TARC project in close collaboration with Education International and its affiliate unions. Union partners in each country will engage with their governments, conduct trainings, host community events and develop innovative curriculum about tolerance, inclusion and respect for fundamental human and workers' rights. 

"Two pillars of any democracy are a strong public education system and an independent labor movement. The TARC project will bolster teachers' ability to promote human rights and deal with difficult issues such as intolerance so that they can help foster a culture of rights in their schools and communities," said AFT President Randi Weingarten.

"Education unions around the world are standing up on International Human Rights Day for universal respect for fundamental rights. Partners in this project will contribute in important ways to the democratic, social and economic development of their nations," said Fred van Leeuwen, general secretary of Education International. 

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The AFT represents 1.7 million pre-K through 12th-grade teachers; paraprofessionals and other school-related personnel; higher education faculty and professional staff; federal, state and local government employees; nurses and healthcare workers; and early childhood educators.