Activity 2b: United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights

The United Nations is a body that represents the nations of the world. It was created at the end of World War II in 1945 to provide a forum for peaceful discussion and to seek solutions to international problems. 

In 1948 the United Nations met and passed a landmark document. By the end of World War II it became widely accepted that there had been some terrible abuses of people during the war, in particular the extermination of Jews in Europe by the German National Socialist (Nazi) Government. The United Nations declared that all people had certain rights that must never be violated. These are listed in the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Australia, like most other countries, has ‘ratified’ or accepted this Declaration; that is, Australia has pledged that it will make sure these rights are protected in its own laws.

In this activity students are asked to compare and discuss the differences between the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the French Declaration (see Activity 2a). 

Resources Required

Handouts

e Resources

Task 1

Read the Handout: Simplified Version of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. A full version of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is available to read on the United Nations website.

Compare it with the French Declaration. Identify those rights which are common to both documents by using a colour-coding or numbering system for Articles of the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen and the corresponding Articles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. 

Task 2

Read Handout: Extracts from the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen from Activity 2a.

Use a Venn Diagram to identify the similarities and differences between the two Declarations. A Venn diagram is made up of two or more circles. Similarities are shown in the overlapping areas and the differences are shown in the areas that do not overlap. 

Watch the What Are Human Rights? video clip available on the Youth for Human Rights International website.

What are the milestones in the development of rights which are claimed as universal today? How can you explain this development? Record your responses on an online timeline creator such as the one available on the Learning Object Authoring Zone.

Access The Le@rning Federation resource Know your rights: five missions (TLF-ID L1348).

As you work through this online digital interactive resource you will meet a range of people who may help you or cause problems. Resolve five situations where human rights are not being respected. Refer to extracts from the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights. For example, state your right to a presumption of innocence when arrested without charge. 

 

Activity 2a | Activity 2b | Activity 2c

For the teacher | Human Rights Introduction2: Where Do Human Rights Come From? 

Overview of activities:  Focus Question 2