Human Rights – What and Why
Related human rights
All human rights
Prepare slides or write down questions on the board/sheets
Prepare a large sheet of paper for each group.
The peer educator gets the participants involved in the activity, relating it with the “Agree – Disagree” method.
Talking about different groups of the society, we often feel the emergence of all kinds of prejudice. Our prejudice as if shows that some are more valuable than others. But is it really like that?
Let’s discuss the concept of HUMAN RIGHTS
Work in groups:
Each group has 15 minutes to give answers to the following three questions:
1. What are human rights?
2. Why do we need them?
3. Which rights in the declaration* are the most important?
Each group introduces their work. Then the facilitator continues with the discussion:
What are human rights?
In short, human rights could be defined as the protection and respect to the human dignity. Also, as moral and legal guidelines, encouraging and defending the acknowledged values and behavioral norms, and as the major standards that enable to identify inequality and injustice.
How do we acquire the human rights? They come from our nature, since all of us are humans. Human rights are needed in order to protect and preserve the human dignity of each person, and to ensure a dignified life to everyone.
Human rights stand on three major values: human dignity, freedom and equality.
In order to ensure peace between different people and various communities, we also need other values, arising from the three major ones, such as:
*Respect to others, because lack of respect undervalues their personality and dignity.
*Non-discrimination, because the equality of human dignity means that we cannot judge other people based on different physical (or other) characteristics.
*Tolerance, because intolerance means lack of respect, caused by differences.
*Equality does not refer to being the same or uniform.
*Tolerance is a free person’s determination to be who they want and the freedom of doing so.
*Justice, because all people are equal in their nature and they should be treated equally.
*Responsibility, because respect to other people means taking responsibility for one’s actions and behavior.
What are the principles of the human rights? When discussing the human rights, it is crucial to understand the three major principles and characteristics of the human rights, which make them different from other rights and privileges. Therefore, in order to refer to something as the human rights, they must comply with the following principles:
1. Human rights are inalienable. This means that they cannot be lost, because they are related to the human existence. Certain rights may be suspended or limited under certain circumstances. For example, should a person be found guilty for a crime, his or her freedom could be limited.
2. Human rights are indivisible and interrelated. This means that different human rights are related to each other and cannot be divided. Having some rights depends on many other rights and none of the rights are more important than others.
3. Human rights are universal. This means that they are equally applicable to all people all over the world. Each person can use their rights despite their race, skin colour, gender, language, religion, political or other beliefs, national or social origin, or other reasons.
4. Human rights are equal – none of them are above or more important than the others.
During the moderation refer to the comments, made by the participants during the introduction.
Further suggestions, additional material
You may ask a question ‘What can we do to ensure human rights to all people? (at our school)’ and write down all suggestions.
Other ways of using the material by peer educators
Before or after this seminar you can use ‘The Circle of Rights’ method, which is available in the Positive methodological set.