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Newly signed law to integrate Human Rights in school curriculum

Last Friday, Governor Pedro Pierluisi signed Law No. 75-2023, authored by representative Deborah Soto Arroyo, which orders that the Human Rights Program of the 2018 Education Reform Law be part of the curriculum academic through an elective course. For these purposes, the Department of Education (DE) may request voluntary advice from various legal entities, law schools of universities on the Island, among other organizations or people qualified to collaborate with the implementation and execution of the plan.

According to the measure, the creation of a pilot education program in the public system is ordered focused on civil and constitutional rights, such as the right to equality before the law, the right to religious freedom, the right to freedom of word and press, right to free association, right to life, liberty and enjoyment of property, right to privacy, right to due process of law and workers' rights, among others.

It should be noted that in the past Law 204-2015 was approved, which amended Law 149-1999, known as the "Organic Law of the Department of Education of Puerto Rico of 1999", for the purpose of ordering the Secretary of the Department of Education to develop a program for the teaching of civil and constitutional rights that would be part of the formal academic curriculum, however, it was later repealed, which results in the approval of this new legislative measure so that the DE takes up this public policy and creates a pilot teaching program focused on this topic.

The Civil Rights Commission (CDC), through its executive director, Atty. Ever Padilla Ruiz, expressed that the measure highlights the importance of civil rights and constitutional rights, as outlined in the Constitution of Puerto Rico and that of the United States. But at the same time, it shows the importance of human rights as the umbrella that covers civil and political rights, economic, social and cultural rights, as well as collective rights.

Also, the Puerto Rico Teachers Association, and its president, Víctor M. Bonilla Sánchez, endorsed the law, based on the fact that the various socio-historical and cultural contexts influence and they shape the concerns of each age and generation.

The former Secretary of Education, Atty. Eliezer Ramos Parés favored the new law in order to generate a culture of self-care, responsibility and social participation.

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