Photo of people carrying protest signs for human rights
American Culture
International Human Rights Day

Content Spotlight: International Human Rights Day, December 10

You and your class can participate in the activities below or learn more about Human Rights Day.

Social Media Activities

  1. Which human rights do you think are the most important to raise awareness about?
  2. How can you raise awareness about Human Rights in your own country?
  3. How can you support human rights in your country and around the world?

Post your answers on the AmericanEnglish Facebook page!

Classroom Activities

Activity 1 (High-Intermediate Learners)

As a class, read and discuss the 30 Articles from The Universal Declaration of Human Rights. After reading, put students into pairs or small groups. Ask each group of students to do research and take notes about one of the Nobel Peace Prize winners and the projects these Nobel Laureates created or worked with.

Read the list of the Nobel Peace Prize Laureates and their biographies. If classrooms do not have internet access, the teacher can choose some of the Nobel Prize Laureates and print the information from the website so each group of students has information about a different Laureate.

Students should use the following questions to guide their research:

  1. Who was the winner of the award? (A winner can be a person or an organization.)
  2. What did this person or organization do to win the award?
  3. What articles from the UDHR are supported by the Nobel Laureate's work?
  4. How does the Laureate's work demonstrate a commitment to supporting Human Rights?
  5. Why do you think this person won the Nobel Peace Prize?

Once students have completed their research, ask them to prepare a short acceptance speech as if they were the person or leader of the organization receiving the Nobel Peace Prize. Suggest to students that they write the speech by drawing upon information from the questions guiding their research and by explaining how the work supports Human Rights.

Activity 2 (Advanced Learners)

As a class, have a short discussion about Human Rights. Focus on these questions:

  1. What are Human Rights and why are they important?
  2. What might be some different violations of Human Rights?
  3. How can governments and citizens support Human Rights?

Next, put students into small groups. Direct students to U.S. Government Reports on Human Rights Issues: Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor. If internet is not available, teachers can choose a different country for each group and print out the country reports for the students. Ask students to explore one of the most recent reports on child labor. Allow students to explore child labor reports from the country of their choice. Ask students to take notes to prepare to create a poster.

Give each group a large sheet of paper and ask each group to create a poster about the Child Labor Reports from their selected country. When students have finished their posters, ask each group to give a short presentation about their chosen country. After each report, ask the class to identify how human rights are being violated and how these violations might be eliminated.

Learn About Human Rights Day

International Human Rights Day is December 10th. Human rights were recognized by the United Nations on December 10, 1984 with the signing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). This document contains a list of 30 Articles that list the rights that each individual in the world should have. Human rights include the right to certain freedoms such as the right for all people in the world to be free from slavery and inhumane punishment. Other rights include the right to life, liberty, safety, food, housing, and medical care. Human rights are for all people regardless of where they are from, what they believe, or what language they speak.

Human Rights Day is celebrated all around the world. In the United States, people draw attention to Human Rights by protesting violations of human rights, and raising money for international organizations that help people who are denied their rights. These organizations, such as Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, are continually fighting for human rights around the world. They provide basic health care, fund research for treatments for diseases like cancer and AIDS, offer educational opportunities for students, and support conservation efforts throughout the world. Thanks to the efforts of hundreds of organizations, human rights are more widely recognized now than ever before. One type of recognition is the Nobel Peace Prize, which is awarded on Human Rights Day. This award marks the achievements of individuals and organizations that promote peace and human rights around the world.

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