Lesson Plan: What Are Human Rights?


Students will explore the origins and final draft of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and consider the controversies involved in creating the document and the meaning of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in our lives today.


Human rights are standards that make it possible for all people to live with dignity, freedom, equality, peace, and justice. Every person has these rights because they are human beings and every person is guaranteed these rights regardless of gender, ethnicity, national or social origin, economic status, or language. Although human rights have existed as long as human beings have existed, it is only in the mid-20th century that human rights have been recognized and protected by national and international laws. The conditions of World War II, the atrocities associated with the Holocaust, and the persecution of other groups targeted by the Nazi regime propelled leaders throughout the world to consider ways to promote peace and respect for humanity. The newly formed United Nations was seen as the organization that would organize this effort. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, written by members of the UN Human Rights Commission, became the fundamental framework for the modern human rights movement.


World History – 20(D), 21(B), 22(A), 22(F)


2 class periods