Activity 7:
Mapping Human Rights in Our Community


Participants work cooperatively to create a map of their community and identify the rights associated with each major institution.

Time: 1 hour (but could extend over several days)
Materials: Art supplies, chart paper
Copies of the UDHR, complete or simplified version
Setting: Elementary school - Adult groups


1. Divide participants into small groups and ask them to draw a map of their town (or neighborhood in the case of larger communities). They should include their homes, major public buildings (e.g., parks, post office, city hall, schools, places of worship) and public services (e.g., hospitals, fire department, police station) and any other places that are important to the community (e.g., grocery stores, cemetery, cinemas, gas stations).

2. When the maps are complete, ask participants to analyze their maps from a human rights perspective. What human rights do they associate with different places on their maps? For example, a place of worship with freedom of thought, conscience, and religion; the school with the right to education; the post office with the right to information, to privacy, and to self-expression. As they identify these rights, they should look up the relevant article(s) in the UDHR and write the article number(s) next to that place on the map.

3 Ask each group to present its map to the whole group and summarize its analysis of human rights exercised in the community.

  • Did any parts of your map have a high concentration of rights? How do you explain this?

  • Did any parts have few or no rights associations? How do you explain this?

  • Are there any articles of the UDHR that seem to be especially exercised in this community? How can this be explained?

  • Are there any articles of the UDHR that no group included on their map? How can this be explained?

  • Which of the rights identified are civil and political rights? Which are social, economic, and cultural rights? See Part V, A Human Rights Glossary. Did one kind of right predominate on the map? Did one kind of right predominate in certain areas (e.g., more civil and political rights associated with the court house, city hall, or police station)?

  • After discussion can anyone see new ways to add rights to their map, especially those that were not included in the first version?

4. Discuss:

  • Are there any places in this community where people’s rights are violated?

  • Are there any people in this community whose rights are violated?

  • What happens in this community when someone’s human rights are violated?

  • Are there any places in this community where people take action to protect human rights or prevent violations from occurring?


1. For Young Children –

a. Create a three-dimensional map.

b. Combine this activity with a walk around the neighborhood to observe rights in action.

c. Focus just on the school or the home

d. Divide into small groups and give each group separate parts of one common map to analyze for human rights.

2. Extending the Activity – Each step of the activity might be done on different days, allowing participants time to reconsider the layout and make-up of the neighborhood and the rights associated with each component.

3. Guest Speaker – The discussion in Step 4 provides an excellent opportunity to invite a lawyer or human rights advocate to speak to the group.

4. Focus on Children’s Rights – The Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) might be substituted for the UDHR, especially for school use. A representative of the child-protection service or a children’s advocacy group could be invited to speak to the class.

5. A Math or Geography Activity – This lesson could be developed as a math activity, drawing the area to scale. It could also serve as a geography activity, including topography, directions, and special relationships.

Source: Adapted from a demonstration by Anette Faye Jacobsen, Danish Centre for Human Rights.



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  Human Rights Fundamentals The Right to Know Your Rights Activities Taking Action for Human Rights Appendices