Founded on 16 November 1945, UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) has now 195 Members and 8 Associate Members. The Preamble to the Constitution of UNESCO declares that "since wars begin in the minds of men, it is in the minds of men that the defences of peace must be constructed".

UNESCO works to create the conditions for dialogue among civilizations, cultures and peoples, based upon respect for commonly shared values. It is through this dialogue that the world can achieve global visions of sustainable development encompassing observance of human rights, mutual respect and the alleviation of poverty, all of which are at the heart of UNESCO’S mission and activities.

This can only be achieved through learning that is relevant, pedagogically sound and based on meaningful participation. Human rights education aims to increase the relevance of education and to contribute to the learning environment free from want and fear as an integral part of the right to quality education for all.

Education should provide learners with the necessary knowledge and skills to face local and global challenges and participate in the building of a sustainable future as active global citizens. Education also should encompass values such as peace, non-discrimination, equality, justice, non-violence, tolerance and respect for human dignity.

UNESCO advocates for the inclusion of human rights principles and values within the education system and encourages Member States to draw up and implement policies, strategies and programmes for human rights education. The Organization does this through promoting the dialogue among educational policy-makers, practitioners including teachers and researchers on the key education components such as curriculum development, teacher training, the whole school approach, etc. producing and diffusing teaching and learning materials and networking of relevant stakeholders.

UNESCO plays a major role in the implementation of the World Programme for Human Rights Education (WPHRE, 2005-ongoing) in close cooperation with the Office of the UN High-Commissioner for Human Rights.