Overview: Participants create an imaginary bill of rights and find correspondences between their ideas and specific articles of the UDHR.

Time: 1 hour.

Materials: Blackboard and chalk or chart paper and pens, copies of the UDHR.


Part A. Human Rights for a New Planet

1. Read this scenario:

A small new planet has been discovered that has everything needed to sustain human life. No one has ever lived there before. There are no laws, no rules, and no history. You will all be settlers here, and in preparation your group has been appointed to draw up the bill of rights for this all-new planet. You do not know what position you will have in this country.

2. Instruct participants, working in small groups, to give this new planet a name and decide on ten rights that the whole group can agree upon.

3. Ask each group to present its list. As they do so, make a "master list" that includes all the rights the groups mention, combining similar rights. Alternatively have "ambassadors" from each group derive a master list.

4. Discuss the master list (e.g., what would happen if some rights were excluded?). Are any important rights left out?

Part B. Linking Rights to the UDHR

1. Ask each small group to match the rights listed with articles of the UDHR and write the number of the article next to each right. Some rights may include several articles. Others may not be in the UDHR at all.

2. Ask groups to report their findings. As participants identify a right with a particular UDHR article, ask that they read the simplified version of the article aloud.

3. Discuss: Were some of the rights on the list not included in the UDHR? Were some rights in the UDHR not included on the list? Why?

Source: Nancy Flowers, ed., Human Rights Here and Now (Minneapolis: Human Rights Resource, 1999) 49.