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United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Heather Jenkins

Heather has a bachelor's degree in elementary education and a master's degree in special education. She was a public school teacher and administrator for 11 years.

Throughout history, people have fought for all humans to have basic rights and freedoms. Some people felt it was important to identify these rights so that they can be protected. In this lesson, you will learn about the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

History

Can you imagine being someone's property?

How would you feel if you couldn't own your own things?

What if you weren't allowed to have a family?

Unfortunately, throughout the world's history, these things have happened...and still happen today!

The United Nations (UN) is a group of member countries who meet to encourage governments to work together to solve the world's problems. An important part of their mission is protecting human rights or freedoms that should be guaranteed to all people.

Eleanor Roosevelt, the wife of President Franklin Roosevelt, served as the leader of the UN Human Rights Commission. In this position, she helped create the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). This document, approved on December 10, 1948, is still in use today.


Eleanor Roosevelt and the UDHR
roosevelt


The UDHR:

  • lists specific rights to be protected for all people.
  • is available in over 500 languages.
  • identifies what countries should strive to provide their people.

Articles

Like a book that has chapters, the UDHR is divided into 30 articles, or sections, that focus on different types of rights.

Articles 1-6

These articles discuss basic human rights such as:

  • people are born free
  • everyone should be treated equally
  • people have the right to safety
  • there should be no slavery or torture
  • people have rights regardless of where they live or travel


Human rights are for all people
people


Articles 7-11

How would you feel if you were accused of a crime you didn't commit? Articles 7-11 state that every person should have the right to a trial if they are accused of a crime. A person should be considered innocent until it has been proven that they have committed a crime.

Additionally, these articles say that laws should be fair and protect people's human rights. The laws shouldn't be just for some people, while others can do what they want.

In general, articles 7-11 protect your rights when governments make and enforce laws. They ensure that you will be treated fairly and with respect.

Articles 12-27

'Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness' are not just words you hear in history class or on the 4th of July; they are important for all people. Articles 12-27 list other rights that people need to have the freedom to live happy and successful lives, including the right to:

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