Human Rights Here and Now is
intended to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Universal
Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and to further human
rights education in the United States. It can be used by
educators in classrooms, by human rights advocates in informal
settings, and by individuals for their own self-learning.
I, "Human Rights Fundamentals," provides
basic background information about human rights concepts,
documents, history, and the process by which international
human rights law is created and defended. Each section of
Part I can serve as an individual reading or as a handout
to supplement the activities in Part III.
II, "The Right to Know Your Rights," offers
an introduction to the growing field of human rights education.
Intended mainly for educators, it defines the field, addresses
typical questions and concerns, and sets out general principles
and methodologies for effective learning about human rights.
III, "Activities for Introducing the Universal
Declaration of Human Rights," is a collection of lively,
innovative activities to further learning. Most activities
are suitable for middle school through adult groups, though
many provide adaptations for pre-school and elementary school.
They are arranged from general introductory activities that
assume no prior experience with human rights (e.g., Activity
1, "Human Being/Human Rights") through activities
that involve close analysis of the UDHR (e.g., Activity
8, "Comparing Rights Documents"). Some are intended
to extend human rights thinking into a variety of areas
such as creative expression (e.g., Activity 11, "Giving
Human Rights a Human Face"), the media (e.g., Activity
6, "Human Right in the News"), and science (Activity
15, "Science, Technology, the Environment and Human
Every activity includes information
about the time and materials required and the recommended
setting for use. Although each activity can be used independently,
a sequence of activities is often suggested. Many activities
conclude with a section called "Going Further,"
which offers ways to extend the activity or adapt it for
specialized use. Every activity in Part III is based on
the assumption that human rights learning does not stop
with information but leads to some kind of action.
IV, "Taking Action for Human Rights,"
supplements Part III with guidelines and ideas, as well
as activities that examine models of human rights advocacy,
help participants strategize about taking action, and develop
advocacy skills such as letter writing.
V, "Appendices," supplies support materials
such as a glossary, a list of human rights organizations,
a resource list, and the text of human rights documents
that are referred to throughout the book.
A survey released by Human Rights USA
in December 1997 shows that 92% of people in the United
States have never heard about the Universal Declaration
of Human Rights. This book was written to address such lack
of information. Everyone who uses Human Rights Here and
Now is encouraged to reproduce this material and pass
it on, to adapt it to suit community needs, and to continue
to further understanding of human rights in every part of
the future days which we seek to make secure, we look
forward to a world founded upon four essential freedoms.
The first is freedom of speech
and expression everywhere in the world.
The second is the freedom of every
person to worship God in his own way everywhere
in the world.
The third is the freedom from
want, which, translated into world terms, means economic
understanding which will secure to every nation a healthy
peacetime life for its inhabitants everywhere in
The fourth is freedom from fear,
which, translated into world terms, means a world-wide
reduction of armaments to such a point and in such a thorough
fashion that no nation will be in a position to commit
an act of physical aggression against any neighbor
anywhere in the world. It is a definite bias for a kind
of world attainable in our own time and generation.
Franklin D. Roosevelt
State of the Union Address
January 6, 1941