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Every person has a right…

The Declaration of Human Rights is a set of universal rights, entitled to everyone. During the meeting the participants will analyze the Declaration and exchange their point of view regarding each right and all of them as a whole.


Author and translation: Anna Książek

Proofreading: Andrea Pucci


Main objectives:

  • Getting to know the Declaration of Human Rights

During the workshop the participants will:

  • Get to know human rights, paying special attention to the fact that they are universal

  • Learn to prepare and present arguments

  • Try to look at Human Rights from different perspectives


1. Every person has a right (exercise)

Participants, divided into small groups, get short descriptions of few changemakers stories together with the photos which illustrate them. For this exercise you can use the material from pages 104-110. You can also select stories from your own country. The task is to match the texts with the relative pictures and then discuss which human right is the focus of each story. Finally, the groups present their conclusions in a common discussion.

Next, you will present the Declaration of Human Rights, this exercise should warm participants up before discussing and thinking which rights belong to all people (even if they are often violated).

2. Indivisibility of human rights (exercise and discussion)

Every participant receives the Declaration of Human Right (instead of printing lots of pages, you can also use a projector). Everyone chooses 3 rights which, according to him/her, are the most important. Then participants, in small groups of 4-6 people, discuss about their choices and try to choose the 3 most important rights as a whole group. After few minutes’ discussion, join all together again and share the results.

This exercise allows participants to read the Declaration carefully. This is also the starting point to debate about the characteristics of human rights, above all about their indivisibility. Indivisibility means that Human Rights are integral and interdependent, that’s why we cannot say that one right is more important than others. Discuss shortly this point. Do you agree that Human Rights are indivisible?

3. Versatility of human rights

The most important characteristic of Human Rights is that they are universal, which means they are valid for each and every person, everywhere in the world, regardless of his/her culture, situation or context. Organize with participants an Oxford Debate with the thesis: „Human Rights are universal”.

  • The task of the group which is pro is to prove that anywhere and anytime, all human rights are valid for every person.

  • Task of the group against is to prove it untrue, and that there are situations which allow for exemption to Human Rights.

Your task is to evaluate the document itself, not how much it is respected in the real world (you should underline that for the moment the Declaration is not respected everywhere in the world). Preparing arguments, take into consideration the whole world, different countries, situations and cultures, don’t limit the discussion only to your own country.

You can divide participants randomly or according to their opinions. If participants have experience in debates, you can put them in groups opposite to their own believes, which will force them to look at the problem from another side. Instruction how to organize the Oxford Debate can be found in attachment 2.

If you don’t have enough time or experience to lead the Oxford Debate, you can also use a simplified version of the debate “for and against”, described below.

The debate is a kind of discussion in which two teams representing opposite opinions fight for winning. One team defends the motion, the second tries to defeat it. People from both groups speak alternately, giving argument to defend the position they represent. Debate is worth using when participants should look at a problem from different prospective.

4. Summarize

Summarize the debate by asking about feelings and thoughts. Try not to start the discussion again. Summarizing it’s time for sharing emotions and reflections. What have you learned from the debate?

5. Together (exercise)

If because of the debate, there is any kind of conflict in the group, it is worth to finish with the task, which needs to be done by all participants together. Give the group a small ball. Everybody needs to touch the ball one by one, as fast as possible. Two people cannot touch the ball at the same time. Task of the group is to find the fastest possible way of doing that. They will probably start from giving ball one to another. Motivate participants to search for another solution. The task can be fulfilled in less than 3 seconds, regardless of the size of the group. It’s enough to put hands together, one under another and roll the ball down on them.

Looking for solution will turn the thoughts of the participants, help them go out of the discussion, and feel again united with the whole group. You can finish with the thought that protection of human rights is also a task we need to do all together. That’s part of changing the world for better.


Additional tasks for group:

  • Get involved in a campaign of Amnesty International or other organization working for human rights.

  • Make few interviews or create reportage about changemakers. Present it in a form of choice (text, drawing, photos, movie…).

  • Look around. Find somebody who needs your help. Plan and implement a project which answers the needs you’ve noticed.


Attachment 1

Declaration of Human Rights

1. Everyone is born free and equal in dignity and with rights.

2. You should never be discriminated against for any reason. Rights belong to all people, whatever our differences.

3. Everyone has the rights to life, liberty and security.

4. No‐one shall be held in slavery or servitude.

5. No‐one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

6. You have the right to be treated as a person in the eyes of the law.

7. You have the right to be treated by the law in the same way as everyone else. Everyone has a right to protection against violations of their human rights.

8. If your rights under law are violated, you have the right to see justice done in a court or tribunal.

9. No‐one shall be subject to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile.

10. You have the right to a fair and public trial by an independent and impartial tribunal.

11. Everyone is to be presumed innocent until proven guilty in a fair trial. No one should be charged with a criminal offence for an act which wasn’t an offence at the time the act was done.

12. No‐one has the right to intrude in your private life or interfere with your home and family without good reason. No‐one has the right to attack your good name without reason.

13. You have the right to freedom of movement within your country. Everyone has the right to leave a country and to return home.

14. You have the right to seek and to enjoy asylum from persecution in other countries. You may not invoke this right if fleeing just laws in your own country.

15. You have the right to a nationality.

16. You have the right to marry and to raise a family. Men and women have the same rights when they are married and when they are separated.

17. You have the right to own property and it cannot randomly be taken away from you.

18. You have the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion and to peacefully express those beliefs in teaching, practice and worship.

19. You have the right to freedom of opinion and expression.

20. You have the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association.

21. You have the right to take part in the government of your country.

22. As a member of society, you have a right to social security.

23. You have the right to work, to good working conditions, to equal pay for equal work and to form and join unions.

24. You have the right to rest and leisure.

25. You have the right to a decent life, including enough food, clothing, housing, medical care and social services.

26. You have the right to an education.

27. No‐one may stop you from participating in the cultural life of your community.

28. You have the right to live in the kind of world where your rights and freedoms are respected.

29. We all have a responsibility to the people around us and should protect their rights and freedoms.

30. There is nothing in this declaration that justifies any person or country taking away the rights to which we are all entitled.

Attachment 2

Rules of Oxford Debate

1. Opening Words by the Chairman

The Chairman, who should always be addressed as Mr/Madam Chairman, will open with a few words on the debate, floor debate and voting procedures. The Chairman will then call on the first speaker to begin the debate.

2. The First Speaker for the Proposition

It is the duty of the first speaker for the proposition to introduce the other guest speakers.

The traditional format for these introductions is to begin your speech with “Mr/Madam Chairman, as the first speaker this evening (afternoon) it is my honour to introduce your guests this evening (afternoon)”. Each speaker should then be introduced by name and with a short one or two line introduction, which can be either humorous or serious. After introducing the final guest the speaker may say “Mr/Madam Chairman, these are your guests and they are most welcome”, hopefully to be followed by applause from the audience.

The first speaker should then begin the debate.

The Chairman will thank the speaker and call upon the next speaker. 3. The First Speaker for the Opposition

The first speaker should then briefly introduce the first speaker for the proposition speaker at the beginning of his speech.

The Chairman will thank the speaker and open the debate from the floor.

4. Debate from the floor

This is the opportunity for the audience to join in the debate. A certain amount of time will be allocated to this and each speech will be limited to an agreed maximum length of time.

The Chairman will end the floor debate and call upon the next speaker.

5. The Second Speaker for the Proposition

The Chairman will thank the speaker and call upon the next speaker.

6. The Second Speaker for the Opposition

The Chairman will thank the speaker and call for the rebuttal speeches, if they are to be made 7. Rebuttal

Time may be allocated for a rebuttal by either side. The rebuttal speech is usually made by the first speaker for each side.

The Chairman will call an end to the debate and call for the voting to begin.

8. Voting

This would be by a show of hands or another voting procedure.


Interruptions: The audience may only interrupt your speech using a Point of Information or a Point of Order. Point of Information: The speaker can choose to accept or refuse a point of information. This type of interruption should be used to clarify or question a point of information raised by the speaker, and not to express an opinion. Point of Order: Speakers must give way to a point of order. Such an interruption must only be used to draw attention to an abuse of the Forms of the House, such as a slanderous remark that they wish to be withdrawn. General Tips: Remember that debating involves winning the votes of your audience, which can involve a lot more than simply making the best logical arguments. A few well placed jokes or anecdotes can often win votes! Don’t feel obliged to take every point of information offered – answering a few makes things a little more lively and interactive, but taking too many may interrupt the flow of your arguments.

Timing: Be sure to check what time restrictions are placed on speakers and ensure that you keep within that time. The audience will appreciate this, particularly when there are a large number of speakers in the debate. The amount of time you have left will be indicated to you by the Secretary on a printed card at regular intervals.


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