Human Rights Day

To help students explore the history and importance of Humans Rights Day, Britannica’s Curriculum Expert Team has put together a few activities and rich resources for you and your students. Included are resources that unpack what Human Rights is, and explore its importance and how it impacts people all around the world. So let’s get started!

Members of the United Nations (UN) Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues meet at UN headquarters in New York City. The members of the forum come from indigenous groups throughout the world. The group meets each year to discuss matters of concern to indigenous peoples in such areas as human rights, economic development, education, and health.
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Can you guess what group within the United Nations these people belong to and what they discuss at their meetings?

Hover over the image to find out!

Can you guess what group within the United Nations these people belong to and what they discuss at their meetings?

Click on the image to find out!

Unpacking "Human Rights"


Explore these articles in Britannica School to help students better understand what the idea of “human rights” is all about.


Encourage students to identify the history of human rights and the struggles that sparked the need for laws in support of human rights. 


The Importance of Human Rights


Use these articles and images to help students explore the importance of having human rights.


Ask students why it might be important to create declarations and other documents when it comes to supporting human rights.


Explain what human rights issues are supported by having formal declarations or documents.


Have students think of human rights issues that exist in the world around them. Give them examples, such as voting rights, immigration.


Encourage students to think about the importance of allies and peace between people, groups, or nations, and how this creates connection and community rather than dissension and abuse of human rights.


Explain why democracy and freedom of choice are significant to one’s well being

Integrating Media Literacy

Use these questions to encourage students to use a critical lens when analyzing media:

  • What does this image/video make you wonder?
  • What is being communicated in this image/video? Provide evidence.
  • Does anything in the image/video surprise you? Explain.
  • What is the motivation behind this image/video?
  • Whose perspective does the image/video represent?

Literary Resource Packs

Take advantage of Britannica School with these curated resource packs, which are filled with articles, images, and videos.


Dig Deeper: Taking Action for Human Rights

Dig deeper with the following thought-provoking questions:

Using the United Nations website, navigate the global issues that are listed, and explore how other nations around the world fight for human rights in their country.  Look at laws and/or how activists or advocates have fought to support different issues.


What issues do you care about that relate to human rights? How do you feel about such issues as refugees or child labor laws?


In what ways could you advocate for these issues? Some examples are:  you could write a letter to your school principal or school board or the local newspaper; or you could interview a group of people from the community you would like to serve.


Do you think it is important to fight for human rights? Why/why not?


How does being aware of our human rights and the issues that surround us affect change for the future?


Do you personally know of any family members of friends who have had their human rights violated?


What is one thing you can do today to begin positively impacting human rights and create positive change?

We hope you and your students enjoy these activities and resources, as you continue your journey of incorporating culture and history into your curriculum!  Contact us at [email protected]

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