Lesson 6 of 11

Legacy, Judgment, and Memory

From the Unit:

Overview

What are the enduring legacies of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights? The activities below provide a framework for students to evaluate the impact of the UDHR.

This lesson is part of Facing History and Ourselves' Universal Deceleration of Human Rights collection and part of a series of lessons about the declaration. Use this lesson at the end of a study of the UDHR to engage students in a conversation about what the UDHR has accomplished since it was passed.

Activities

What are the Legacies of the UDHR?

How should we evaluate the effectiveness of the UDHR? John Humphries, the first Canadian Representative to the UN Committee on Human Rights and author of an early draft of the UDHR explains:

The final judgment of history will be determined by the impact which the Declaration has and will have on the actual conduct of states and of individual men and women everywhere. There is unfortunately little reason for thinking that human rights...are better respected now that they were before 1948. But while the gap between commitment and performance may still be wide, governments are now formally committed to respect and observe human rights. And the international community now possesses "a common standard of achievement" by reference to which the conduct of these governments can be and is judged.1

How should we judge the legacy and effect of the UDHR? Do you agree with Humphries? How would you describe and assess the "conduct of states and of individual men and women everywhere" towards respecting human rights over the past 60 years? To what extent has the UDHR helped? Has it hurt? If the goal is to protect the basic rights of individuals throughout the world, what else would needs to be written? What else needs to be done?

Citations

  • 1 : John P. Humphrey, Human Rights and the United Nations: A Great Adventure (New York: Transnational Publishers, 1984), 64–65.

Unit

Lesson 1 of 11
Justice & Human Rights

Examining the Immediate Historical Context

Through a timeline activity, students learn how World War II and the Holocaust shaped the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Lesson 2 of 11
Justice & Human Rights

Universe of Obligation

To prepare for a deep study of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, students explore the idea of the “the universe of obligation.”

Lesson 3 of 11
Justice & Human Rights

A Negotiated Document

By comparing multiple versions of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, students gain insight into the motives of those who crafted it.

Lesson 4 of 11
Justice & Human Rights

What is a Right?

Through a close reading of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, students analyze the rights and responsibilities the document lays out for people around the world.

Lesson 5 of 11
Justice & Human Rights

Fulfilling the Dream

Students explore the challenges and logistics of enforcing the articles of Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Lesson 6 of 11
Justice & Human Rights

Legacy, Judgment, and Memory

Students consider the legacies of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in the world today and discuss how they think its success should be measured.

Lesson 7 of 11
Justice & Human Rights

Universal Rights

Students question whether the rights laid out in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights are truly universal, and how time, geography, language, and culture impact this.

Lesson 8 of 11
Justice & Human Rights

Human Rights and Educating Global Citizens

Students question how the Universal Declaration of Human Rights impacts the way they see themselves as citizens of the global community.

Lesson 9 of 11
Justice & Human Rights

Teaching Youth the Values of the UDHR

Students challenge their comprehension of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by rewriting the document for a younger audience.

Lesson 10 of 11
Justice & Human Rights

Creating a Better World

Students devise a creative way to present their plan for pursuing the dream of universal human rights today.

Lesson 11 of 11
Holocaust

A World Made New: Human Rights After the Holocaust

Students explore the historical basis for the modern human rights movement by examining the codes of ancient societies.

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