What are they?
Why do we have them?
What do they mean for different people?

In Canada, human rights are something that Canadians are entitled to under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms | FR. Yet very few people ever stop to think about what they means. How did we arrive at having such rights guaranteed? How do our government and our courts try to ensure that our rights are recognized? What happens when different parties disagree on the interpretation of human rights?

In this lesson, we will examine these questions from the perspective of the European Union. The EU’s 27 member states expressed a commitment to ensuring human rights for all their citizens, but can the EU as a whole guarantee that its member states interpret the concepts behind human rights in the same way? Can the EU ensure that its member states apply the basic concepts of human rights for all their inhabitants, whether they are citizens or non-citizens?

Get started with the activities!

Activity 1: Getting the Idea – An Introduction to Human Rights
Activity 2: Human Rights Within the EU

Extension: About the Charter of Fundamental Rights

Activity 3: Human Rights Beyond the EU

Extension: About the EIDHR

Activity 4: Word Search!
Issues and Perspectives 1: Dilemmas in Minority Rights
Issues and Perspectives 2: Case Study: Headscarves and French Schools
Issues and Perspectives 3: Immigration and Asylum: Some Concerns for the EU

News Links

“Germany targets human traffickers”: from BBC News
“OSCE condemns orphan evictions”: from BBC News
“Kurd activists leave Turkish jail “
: from BBC News
“Court cuts Bosnian Croat Sentence”: from BBC News