Today, December 10, marks International Human Rights Day, which honors the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
As much progress as humanity has made in establishing and maintaining rights for others, we have only brushed the surface of ensuring equal human rights for all.
Surprisingly, too many people still think of slavery as something abolished with the U.S. Civil War; too many still make daily choices that support sweatshops, child labor, racism, oppression and other acts of injustice.
One of the ways you can help promote human rights is to teach others about human rights issues. IHE has a number of activities and lesson plans regarding human rights issues. Samples include:
Circle of Compassion
What is compassion? Who and what are in our circles of compassion? This activity offers an exploration of compassion and uses "scenario" stations to inspire participants to think about who's in their circle of compassion and why, and what they can do to make a positive difference for those being oppressed.
Recommended for grades 4 and up.
Time: 60-90 minutes
Do You Want Slavery With That?
Modern slavery is still ubiquitous. Students hear about it from the slaves themselves (through their stories) and consider what they can do to help.
Recommended for grades 6 and up.
Time: 60-90 minutes
Human Rights for All?
This activity familiarizes students with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and inspires them to think about the freedoms they enjoy that others cannot.
Recommended for grades 9 and up.
Time: 30-45 minutes
Me Against My Brother: An Exploration of Genocide
Students explore genocide, its broader impacts, and develop a means for taking action to prevent or address genocide.
Recommended for grades 8 & up.
Time: Several days to several weeks
Find more IHE activities/lesson plans on human rights issues.
You can also educate yourself (and others) by exploring resources such as books, videos, and websites on the topic of human rights.
And, of course, there are resources available all over the web. Here are a couple worth checking out:
Yes! Magazine has a whole featured section on human rights, from their Spring 2007 issue.
Amnesty International has a great music video in honor of international human rights.
Witness has a short video of their staff members sharing about "What image opened your eyes to human rights?"
Let's remember that, as Frances Moore Lappe says, "Every choice we make can be a celebration of the world we want." Let's work to make choices that support and nurture a world in which every person everywhere enjoys human rights.