Human Rights Unit

Christine Morris, World Cultures Teacher, Bellefonte Area High School 

Eleanor Roosevelt, former first lady and United States delegate to the United Nations, was an integral member of the United Nations Human Rights Commission and was a driving force in the creation of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UN General Assembly, 1948).  Referring to the Declaration as the “International Magna Carta for all mankind”, Roosevelt helped to inspire and guide future generations to share these principles (Glendon, 2000). Human rights are those rights that are accorded to everyone living on Earth.  Since the Universal Declaration of Human Rights has become policy, the world we have lived in has become complex and interconnected. Mrs. Roosevelt challenged future generations to take a stand and become an active global citizen.

Activities and lessons listed in this unit will introduce the declaration to students, allow them to reflect on what it means to be considered not only a citizen of the United States but a citizen of the world and how they can take an active role in promoting the principles of equality, respect, and acceptance. Students will develop a deep understanding of the role that culture plays in how people think about their role as citizens and what their rights and responsibilities are in a developing society. Students will use metacognitive strategies to discuss the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Students enrolled in World Cultures will be able to recognize, address, and take steps to help with the solution of various human rights violations. Through the lens of current events (world news), the students will be exposed to different cultures, traditions, and inequalities. In addition, students will utilize the global news stories to identify, discuss, and analyze the reasons why these violations are occurring. This unit is a continuation of discussions that we have had all year regarding global current events. Students will be able to use the lessons learned in an ongoing study of current global affairs.