About this course
The course offers the basics of the idea of international human rights, as well as an overview of the most important topics in the field, like the concepts of cultural relativism, universalism of human rights and violation. Most of the lessons are based on studying concrete cases and students engaging in problem-solving. Through the final assignment, students learn how to create a human right campaign to protect the rights or to raise awareness about the abuses and violations.
Welcome to the Introduction to Human Rights! In this video, you will learn more about the subject of the course in general and the topics we will touch upon in the next ten days. You will also find some information on how to prepare a short presentation about you – so we can all get to know each other better! (PS: Have your vision board ready for the first class, so you can share it with the classmates!)
1/ Article: Human Dignity in Danger
3/ Find Nena’s vision board here.
In Lesson 2, we will explore the historical and moral foundations of human rights. Prior to the lesson, please watch the short video “What are the universal human rights” by Benedetta Berti and write down the human rights that you already know.
In this lesson, we will study the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly in Paris on 10 December 1948 as a common standard of achievements for all peoples and all nations. Before the lesson, please look at the declaration and highlight the parts that might be unclear or confusing to you. Do you think that the Declaration from 1948 is still valid today?
A Declaration can be accessed here.
The evolution of human rights is usually divided in ‘three generations’. In this lesson, we will first have a closer look at the ‘first generation’ of rights, also called ‘blue rights’. Prior to the lesson, create word cards inspired by the movement or individual from your town or region.
In Lesson 5, we will explore the ‘second generation’ of human rights, that are related to equality and began to be recognised by governments after World War II. Today, most of these rights are reflected in the global framework of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Prior to the lesson watch the video ‘The Cycle of the T-shirt‘ and answer the following questions:
1/ How are human rights reflected in this video?
2/ How is the production cycle of our clothes in general related to human rights?
3/ How are the Sustainable Development Goals related to human rights?
Please wear (or bring) your favourite T-shirt (or any other piece of clothing that you really like) to our next virtual meeting!
This next lesson will be dedicated to solidarity and human rights that go beyond the framework of individual rights and focus on collective concepts, such as community or people. In light of the current experience of the global spread of COVID-19, we will discuss the shortfalls and threats to human rights and solidarity in the global response. Before the lesson, please read the article from European Network of National Human Rights Institutions titled “Now is the time for solidarity on human rights.” After reading,
1/ choose one of the principles that are underlined in the text
2/ create a one or two minute long video as your ‘Call for Solidarity’. When creating a video think of the following:
- Which target group are you addressing? (youth, politicians, institutions)
- What was your response ‘in solidarity’ with others in the current situation
- What in your opinion can each individual do and how we can collectively collaborate to show solidarity and act responsibly?
Have a look at this short video clip from the 73rd World Health Assembly in May 2020, where global health and political leaders called for unity and solidarity to confront the COVID-19 pandemic.
In this lesson we will try to understand the thin line between the universality of HR and cultural relativism. With the examples from different cultural contexts, we will examine critical perspectives and limitations of the ‘Western’ conception and interpretations of human rights.
Divided into smaller groups as suggested below, please read the article that is assigned to your group:
Group A, article 1: Emina, Sunčica, Dragana
“Danish mother is reunited with her baby”
Group B, article 2: Elhana, Ana, Lejla, Ajdin
“Female genital mutilation: Asylum seeker fights deportation to the Gambia”
Group C, article 3: Tamara, Emma, Merjem
“Migrants to the West must obey rules”
Group D, article 4: Edna, Domagoj, Merima
“Jailed Dubai kissing pair lose appeal over conviction”
During the class, you group will be invited to provide a short summary of the article and a comment, including the answers on the following questions:
1/ Who in the article is ‘right’ and who is ‘wrong’? Who decides about this?
2/ What is ‘morally right’ in the situation given in the article?
3/ Based on your example, how would you explain ‘cultural relativism’
4/ Which human rights apply in the situation given? Would they apply also in other contexts? Which one?
The violation of human rights is denying individuals their fundamental moral entitlements. It is, in a sense, to treat them as if they are less than human and undeserving of respect and dignity. In Lesson 8, we learn how human rights can be violated by the state or non-state actors, and how the State is the main guardian of human rights, having the authority and responsibility to take necessary action to protect them.
Before the class:
1/ Read about cases of human rights violations and refer to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to find the answers on which human rights are being violated.
2/ Choose one of the cases and find an article that describes a real life situation of such HR violation. Write a short commentary that includes:
- Brief summary of the case and which HR is violated;
- Your reflection on the following questions:
- how would you feel/react if this situation would happen to you?
- what would you hope that you or other people might do to prevent such situation
Add the link to the article or provide the information about the source (author, title, year). Send the essay by 9.7. to the firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject: HR Course: Violation of HR
In Lesson 9 we are moving from theoretical understanding of HR to action-taking. We will learn about different tools and approaches that promoters of HR use in their work and create our own HR campaign!
1/ Play the video game MEMORY GLIDERS (available here) & write a short reflection of at least 5 paragraphs, including the following questions:
- How is the story connected to your own life and the theme of the course?
- What do you feel, when playing the game?
- Can you apply this script to your own context?
Send your essay via email to email@example.com before the class.
2/ Check out the guidelines for making a Human Rights Poster Campaign related to T-shirt Cycle (Fast Fashion related violation of Human Rights)
In the last lesson, we will first finish the projects to promote Human Rights related to the fast fashion. After this, we will review the topics and the learning from the last two weeks and address some remaining questions. Before the session, please complete the Final Assessment Quiz. The materials that we used in the classroom are available here. Should you be interested in a particular topic or you would like to learn more about, please raise your questions during this last meeting.