One of the purposes of the University of the Balearic Islands is to promote activities and initiatives that contribute to bolster a culture of peace, as stated in article 3 of the university’s statutes. Peace is understood today not just as the absence of conflict: without human rights there can be no peace. Human rights are an inalienable social accomplishment but do not materialise by themselves: they need to be known and learnt, mechanisms for applying and guaranteeing them need to be created and they have to be respected. Moreover, longstanding dilemmas and new debates and challenges around how to respect and enforce human rights must continually be considered.
United Nations declarations and resolutions, such as the World Programme for Human Rights Education (a resolution passed by the General Assembly on 10th December 2004) and the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Education and Training passed by the General Assembly on 19th December 2011, as well as those adopted by the Council of Europe and UNESCO, provide support for the idea that human rights education needs to be part of the curriculum of university courses, as this is key to help attaining generations of students that are more committed to promoting and respecting human rights and, consequently, professionals and citizens who are more committed to human rights. This commitment can make a significant contribution to promoting equality, preventing conflicts and violations of human rights, and bolstering democratic participation and processes in order to establish societies where all human beings are valued and respected without any type of discrimination or distinction based on race, colour, gender, language, religion, political or any other kind of belief, national or social background, economic status, personal background, sexual orientation or any other condition.
Human rights education and training in higher education is part of the university’s mission and essential if we wish to prevent human rights violations that could occur in professional spheres where graduates will work when finishing their undergraduate/postgraduate courses.
In this sense, the University of the Balearic Islands can contribute to permanent, comprehensive and socially responsible training of professionals who graduate in our institution. This knowledge transfer must also be complemented by the transfer of the results of our human rights research so that they can be applied outside the academic sphere to advise on and plan project and programs and to solve specific problems through the implementation of a human rights-based approach in the public and private sector, including civil society in the broader sense. Through this Human Rights Lab (LIDIB) researchers at the University of the Balearic Islands who work on areas related to human rights and law can therefore provide their experience, knowledge and training to create an open, dynamic and innovative space for students, researchers, lecturers, legal professionals and those from other professional settings—as well as public institutions, non-governmental organisations and companies—who wish to expand their knowledge in human rights theory and practice. In this way, through research, training, knowledge transfer and debate, they will be able to contribute to strengthening a culture of peace and human rights in the society as a whole.