Teacher Information & Materials

Universal Human Rights Month

"I perceived clearly that I was participating in a truly significant historic event in which a consensus had been reached as to the supreme value of the human person, a value that did not originate in the decision of a worldly power, but rather in the fact of existing—which gave rise to the inalienable right to live free from want and oppression and to fully develop one's personality. In the Great Hall…there was an atmosphere of genuine solidarity and brotherhood among men and women from all latitudes, the like of which I have not seen again in any international setting."
—Hernán Santa Cruz of Chile, member of the drafting sub-Committee

Human rights are defined as the basic rights that all human beings should have regardless of race, nationality, religion, gender, etc. After the experiences of World War II, the United Nations realized that these rights were not being granted to all people and decided to draft a document in the hopes that this would not happen again.

Although the topic of human rights may be a difficult one to cover, especially with younger children, there are ways it can be done. For younger ones, you can simplify the rights themselves into things they can understand. What would it be like if you couldn't go to school or if you couldn't choose what you want to wear or eat for lunch?

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, although it is a well-intentioned document, is not a legally enforceable one. With older students, you could focus on people and places where these rights are being violated and what can be done about it.

View the videos below for help in introducing human rights and this declaration with your students.

What is a human right?

Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Eleanor Roosevelt Addresses the United Nations

Click on the grade levels below to get additional information on this
topic and resources to use with your students.

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