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The UDHR spells out five categories of human rights protections to which all are entitled:.

The UDHR also declares these rights to be universal everyone has the same human rights , indivisible no single human right is more important than another , and interconnected each right depends on the others , and that no one should be forced to wait patiently for full protection of his or her human rights. For example, when judged by UDHR standards, our welfare reform legislation is a violation of the human rights of poor people, who are mainly women and children. Individual human rights mean that a government has the responsibility not to intervene in certain matters, such as freedom of conscience, freedom of religion, freedom of speech, and freedom of the press.

On the other hand, collective human rights mean that the government must intervene to protect people from lack of employment, education, safety, health care, shelter, and food.

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The symbiotic relationship between individual and collective human rights was largely understood by Americans during the years of the Great Depression. This is the type of human rights education that connects political prisoners abroad to anti-poverty activists in Philadelphia. They presented their findings to the United Nations on July 1, Without human rights education, we risk letting the younger generation down by leaving them with declining job opportunities downsizing , less available education the assault on public schools , and fewer mechanisms for expressing their values through social activism.

Martin Luther King, Jr. Chaos or Community?

A history of human rights in Britain

The global cry for democracy is an expression of the universal human desire to construct a value system, expressed politically, that protects human rights. The vitality of our own democracy rests on the ability of Americans to exercise the responsibilities of citizenship in the light of moral and intellectual integrity.

Civil Liberties and Civil Rights

The human rights educational process should contribute to student understanding of human protections under the law. The process should also encourage students to think about, and even redefine, human rights as a way to reinvigorate our discourse on democracy and personal accountability. Most Americans today know very little about human rights.

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Such understanding as exists tends to be limited to civil rights and civil liberties. Many Americans seem to be trapped in an overwhelming cynicism about our society, numbed by the breathless way the media cover tragedies of crime and poverty without examining either their roots or possible solutions to these problems. Many appear to have accepted the belief that poverty and injustice are inevitable. Our greatest need as a society today may be for hope. Human rights education that makes evident the growing force of human rights around the world is one way to deliver this hope to people.

Bringing Human Rights Home: Human Rights Education for the 21st Century

In this 50th anniversary year of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, we have an exciting opportunity to help students and members of our communities to understand the importance of human rights. The anniversary falls within the UN Decade for Human Rights Education , which the United Nations declared in December in the conviction that many people around the world simply do not know their own human rights.

In its year history, many principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights have been turned into law by covenants and treaties. Human rights education, when thoroughly integrated into social studies education, can bring human rights home by offering both knowledge and practical ideas for strengthening human rights at home, at school, in church, and in our civil society.

Of course, education alone is not enough to produce the changes needed. Knowing your rights is a first step but does not by itself guarantee their protection. We must educate not only the victims of human rights violations, but the perpetrators as well. Multicultural education, conflict resolution, peace education, and other related fields all strive to alter the consciousness of both victims and oppressors.


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Nancy Flowers and David A. Shiman suggest that, in order for people to truly understand human rights, they must be prepared to address the visionary totality of interrelated and interdependent rights described in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This means why one teaches, how one teaches, and what one teaches. Advanced Search. Book of the Month. Falcon Chambers , Paul Morgan.

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