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Exterminate? No!

The right to be human

by Brian Radcliffe

Suitable for Whole School (Sec)


To explore students’ awareness of human rights (SEAL theme: Self-awareness/Social skills).

Preparation and materials

  • You will need two readers.
  • Find an image of a Dalek.
  • Practise saying ‘Exterminate’ in a Dalek voice.
  • Research a number of topical news stories on human rights having been violated to give as examples in Step 5.
  • Have available ‘Get up, stand up’ by Bob Marley and the means to play it at the end of the assembly.


  1. Leader  I’m going to show you an image and I’d like you to say out loud the second word that comes into your head. Yes, I said the second word.

    Show the image of a Dalek and allow time for the students’ responses.

  2. Leader  Obviously most of you started off by thinking of the name. This is a Dalek – the arch-enemy of Dr Who, who is a Time Lord. The Daleks were introduced to TV audiences 50 years ago, around Christmastime in 1963. It’s the second word I’m interested in, however, which is  . . .  exterminate!

  3. Leader  Who are the Daleks, according to the scriptwriters of Dr Who? They are, apparently, genetically modified cyborgs who are unable to feel any positive emotion such as compassion, remorse or pity. The only emotion they can feel is hate. This hate leads them on a relentless mission to rid the universe of every other life form. In other words to  . . .  exterminate!

    Do we have any Daleks here, people without any trace of positive emotion? I hope not! Experiencing a range of emotions is one of the factors that make us human. We may feel hate at times, but we also feel love, regret, sorrow, joy, wonder and many other emotions. That’s what humans do.

  4. Leader  Some 65 years ago, on 10 December 1948, the United Nations General Assembly agreed to adopt the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It listed what all women, men and children should expect in life, equally and everywhere. In other words, it is a description of a truly human life. Here are just some of the rights from the list.

    Reader 1 The right to life.

    Reader 2 The right to be free from slavery.

    Reader 1 The right to freedom of religion.

    Reader 2 The right to an education.

    Reader 1 The right not to be discriminated against.

    Reader 2 The right to free and secret voting in elections.

    Leader  We don’t earn these rights. We don’t inherit these rights by being born into the right family, living in the right country or being wealthy. These are our rights simply because we are human beings and not Daleks. They are human rights.

  5. Leader  It’s very enlightening to think of these human rights as we listen to or read the world news.

    Reader 1 The right to life.

    Leader Give an example of a murder or massacre.

    Reader 2 The right to be free from slavery.

    Leader Give an example of exploitation.

    Reader 1 The right to freedom of religion.

    Leader Give an example of religious persecution.

    Reader 2 The right to an education.

    Leader Give examples from Africa or the Middle East of refugees being denied educational opportunities.

    Reader 1 The right not to be discriminated against.

    Leader Give an example of discrimination.

    Reader 2 The right to free and secret voting in elections.

    Leader Give an example of a lack of or a corrupt electoral process.

Time for reflection

Leader  You see it’s not enough simply to state that these are our human rights. There’s a need for them to be enforced. There will always be those who, for their own gain, are ready to ignore them. Throughout the world there’s a need for governments like ours to put pressure on countries and individuals who violate human rights.

It’s also important for us to play our part. Discrimination, exploitation, denial of free speech, bullying, any form of violence – all these can happen here in this school community. They are denials of human rights and we each have a responsibility to prevent them. We may be able to do so by our own intervention. We may need the backing of others. Being truly human means not only enjoying our human rights but also making sure that others do, too – because we’re not Daleks. 

Dear Lord,
Thank you for the potential of a human life.
May I make the most of my own potential, enjoying freedom and opportunities.
May I also take seriously my responsibility to ensure that others around me have this same experience.


‘Get up, stand up’ by Bob Marley

Publication date: December 2013   (Vol.15 No.12)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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