“Human Rights” is probably a term that you’ve heard of many times in the news. But what exactly does it mean in the context of the European Union?

The field of human rights involves many things. Below is a list of hypothetical situations. Try to determine which category of human rights each scenario best fits. Try to match the scenarios from the left column with the human rights categories from the right column.

Scenario   Choices
1. Anne is a Jewish girl. She and her family go to the city’s local synagogue every week. A. Refugee Rights
2. The government allows its citizens of different ethnic backgrounds to build their own cultural halls. B. Minority Rights
3. A soldier who mistreated his prisoners-of-war is put on trial for his actions. C. Citizens’ Rights
4. A law is passed to make it illegal for parents to hit their children D. Children’s Rights
5. Schools offer courses to students on showing understanding and acceptance of people from other cultures. E. Gender Equality
6. A government department is required to give equal salaries to its male and female employees. F. Freedom of Religion
7. A country allows a family to settle there because the family’s former country is destroyed by war. G. Anti-racism Measures
8. Charles has just turned 18, and will be voting in his country’s next elections. H. Fight Against War Crimes

See quiz answers here

Discussion:

Some rights are more important to some people than others. If you are a woman trying to get a job in a traditionally male-dominated profession, women’s rights may be more important to you personally than freedom of religion. Depending on who you are, you might even think that several different rights are important to you.

Among the above list of human rights values, which affect you the most? Rank them according to their importance from your point of view (with 1 being most important, 8 being least important). Explain why you think each of these human rights value deserve the ranking that you gave, and how these rights are relevant to you. Compare your answers with your classmates.

In your opinion, should all of these rights be valued equally by society?

Certain conflicting factors may make some people want to consider a certain value more than another. For example, how do you deal with a situation where a child is being physically punished by his parents, when that family’s religion or cultural practices permits physical punishment of a child? Should the child’s right not to be subject to physical punishment override the family’s rights to exercise their religion or cultural practices? Or should the right to practice one’s religion or culture be more important?

This list is just the beginning of what human rights involves. There is much more to human rights than meets the eye. To learn more about human rights, move on to the next activity.

Sources/Links:

Activities of the European Union: Human Rights | FR
Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union | FR
Human Rights – Fundamental Rights (Committee of the European Parliament)| FR

DID YOU KNOW...

That the European Masters Degree in Human Rights and Democratization is a university degree, coordinated by the University of Padova, that was launched in 1997 to educate professionals in the field of human rights?