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Rights and Wrongs

Human Rights Day is on 10 December

by Claire Law

Suitable for Whole School (Sec)

Aims

To mark Human Rights Day on 10 December and to focus on the importance of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Preparation and materials

  • You will need the PowerPoint slides that accompany this assembly (Rights and Wrongs) and the means to display them.

  • Have available the YouTube video ‘What is a human right?’ and the means to show it during the assembly. It is 1.44 minutes long and is available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JpY9s1Agbsw

  • Optional: you may wish to have available the song ‘Imagine’ by John Lennon and the means to play it at the beginning of the assembly.

Assembly

  1. Optional: play the song ‘Imagine’ by John Lennon as the students enter the assembly hall.

  2. Show Slide 1.

    Ask the students the question on the slide: what do the following things all have in common?

    Tell the students that you are going to show them some slides. For each slide, you will give them 20 seconds to tell the person sitting next to them what all the things on the slide have in common.

  3. Show Slide 2.

    Give the students some time to tell their neighbour what all the things on the slide have in common. At this point, do not ask the students to share their ideas with the whole assembly.

  4. Show Slides 3 and 4, allowing time after Slide 4 for the students to share their ideas with their neighbour.

  5. Ask the students to put up their hand if they think they know the answer. Ask one or two volunteers to say what they think is the correct answer.

    Show Slides 5 and 6 to reveal the correct answer: they are all equal!

    Slide 2 showed lots of things that represented the number five. All of the values on that slide were equal. In a similar way, all of the human beings on Slide 4 are equal. They may look different, have different backgrounds and be different ages, but they are all equal in terms of the rights and human dignity they have.

  6. In this assembly, we are going to be thinking about the idea of human rights: what does it mean to say that all humans have equal rights? We are also going to be thinking about a key document called the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. There are 503 official translations of this document, making it the world’s most translated document after the Bible. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted on 10 December 1948, so December has become the month when human rights are remembered, promoted and commemorated each year.

  7. Show Slide 7.

    In the past, people – often people in power - would sometimes take advantage of other people. Some humans would use other humans for their own benefit, seeing them as resources rather than human beings. Slavery is one example of this; the terrible events of the Holocaust in the Second World War are another. In both of these examples, humans were not treated as having equal worth and dignity.

    Show Slide 8.

    By 1948, there was a desire to put into place an agreed set of principles that set out what all humans were entitled to, or what they had a right to. In 1948, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights set out 30 articles that stated the human rights that applied to all people everywhere.

    Show Slide 9.

    Human rights are the fundamental rights and freedoms that belong to every single one of us.

  8. On 10 December 1948, at a meeting of the United Nations in Paris, 48 countries came together to sign the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Today, more than 190 nations have agreed to support the Declaration.

  9. Lets watch this short video to understand a little more about human rights and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

    Show the YouTube video ‘What is a human right?’.

  10. So, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights means that humans around the world are entitled to various rights including the right to freedom of speech, the right to a fair trial, the right to an education and the right to life.

  11. The Bible is also very clear that humans are equal, and share in equal rights and equal dignity.

    Show Slide 10. 

    Galatians 3.28 says, ‘In Christ’s family there can be no division into Jew and non-Jew, slave and free, male and female. Among us you are all equal.’

  12. However, we don’t have to look hard to realize that human rights are not always protected in our world. Human rights are still abused. People are still treated as if they are not equal, or as if they are a resource. Slavery still happens and people are still imprisoned without a fair trial. Many children in the world cannot access an education. In this way, their human rights are being abused.

  13. So, what can we do? Being aware of human rights is the first step. Learning more about the world we live in enables us to be informed. Thinking about how we view other people and how we treat them is important. Challenging injustice and unfairness wherever we see it is important. Many of us here will go on to have careers and opportunities where we can make a difference to the world. Some of us may want to get involved in a charity that works to promote human rights. Amnesty International is one of these charities.

    Show Slide 11.

    Why not take the time today to find out a bit more about this charity and what it does?

Time for reflection

Lets pause and remember that human beings are a very special part of God’s creation. Humans come in many shapes, sizes and colours, but we are all created as equal by a loving God. Lets pause to remember that.

Pause to allow time for thought.

Lets pause and reflect upon the areas of our world where human beings are affected by human rights abuses. For the people in our own country who have suffered and are still suffering. For the people across the world who have suffered and are still suffering. We pause to remember them.

Pause to allow time for thought.

Lets pause and reflect upon the work and dedication of people who have worked to promote human rights. For people today who challenge human rights abuses and work to uphold the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. For people who dare to imagine a world where there is equality and respect for each other. For anyone who reminds us that all humans are equal and all humans matter – we pause to remember them.

Pause to allow time for thought.

Prayer
Dear God,
We thank you for this chance to learn more about human rights.
Thank you for creating us as equal, with the ability to love, respect and support one another.
Help us today to become more human – more able to show compassion, justice and respect for one another.
We pray especially for people in our world today who suffer because their human rights are abused.
Help them to know that they are precious in your eyes.
Help us and equip us to challenge injustice when we see it.
We dare to imagine a world where your love, your peace and your kingdom reign.
Amen.

Publication date: December 2017   (Vol.19 No.12)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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