Activities for By Virtue of Being Human

As a class, develop a working definition of human rights.

  • Collect and classify magazine and newspaper photos that depict people exercising their rights or being deprived of their rights. What happens to an individual or a community if basic rights are not protected?
  • In small groups, create a map of the community surrounding your school, drawing in homes, businesses, government offices, churches, hospitals, cultural centers, etc. Analyze the map from a human rights perspective, linking articles of the UDHR to relevant sites on the map, using "sticky notes" (e.g., a synagogue represents the right to religious expression). Compare maps. Do certain rights "appear" more frequently than others? Are some rights less visible in the community? Explain your findings.
  • View Amnesty's animated video of the UDHR (see Resources). In small groups, choose three articles to portray in a visual or interpretive medium (e.g., posters, quilt panels or one-act plays)
  • Research and design an exhibit on human rights heroes and heroines -- in history as well as close to home.
  • Investigate the human rights dimensions of a local issue (e.g., groundwater conditions, public transportation, language policies). Sponsor a "thumbs-up" or "thumbs-down" letter-writing campaign to newspapers and officials highlighting practices that either promote or impede human rights.
  • Host a Human Rights 50th Anniversary Fair. Have students submit proposals for various booths, speakers and activities. Invite the cultural institutions, service providers and political and religious groups of your community to participate. Hold art workshops and provide music-making opportunities. Award honorary degrees to local individuals or organizations whom your school recognizes as outstanding human rights advocates.