Welcome to Compass, the manual for human rights education with young people,in this fully revised and updated edition!

Compass was first published in 2002 within the framework of the Human Rights Education Youth Programme of the Directorate of Youth and Sport of the Council of Europe.

The programme was created because human rights education (HRE) – meaning educational programmes and activities that focus on promoting equality in human dignity – was, and remains, of incalculable value in shaping a dimension of democratic citizenship for all young people and in promoting a culture of universal human rights. (Read more)x

Message from the Secretary General

Image: Secretary General of the Council of Europe

It is not enough for children and young people simply to hold human rights. In order to embed a human rights culture and ensure that our young people understand how to access those rights – and to uphold, defend and promote them – they need an education fit for that purpose.

Compass was first published in 2002. Since then it has supported scores of professionals and civil society actors in bringing human rights education into the lives of countless young people in Europe and throughout the world. Translated into 31 languages, it has played an essential role in shaping rights-based approaches to youth policy and youth work. This creates a human rights awareness that empowers learners, stays with them through life, and can be passed on to future generations. It is not just about learning, but about enhancing democratic citizenship in the longer-term.

It is vitally important that young people get the chance to see life through this lens. In a fast-changing world, there is a great deal of apprehension and fear, stoked both by long-term trends and by current events. These challenges can seem overwhelming. Seeing them from a human rights perspective can provide reassurance and confidence that our societies can apply ethical principles to highly complex problems: that people can and should be supported and protected even in the most testing of times.

That knowledge is an important gift.

I trust that Compass will continue to guide human rights education practitioners in their important work.


Marija Pejčinović Burić