Activity 1c: Rights and Responsibilities

We would all want the right to a free education. But where does that end? At primary level? At secondary level? At tertiary level? Never?

We all want the right to free speech. But where does that right end? Does it give us the right to yell ‘fire’ in a crowded theatre, or to tell lies about other people?

Every right implies a responsibility not to use that right in a way which interferes with another person’s rights. For example, the right to freedom of movement would not give you the right to drive the wrong way along a one-way street. Exercising that ‘right’ would be dangerous for other people and create social chaos.

In 1997 a group of international public leaders based in Tokyo, the InterAction Council, produced a Universal Declaration of Human Responsibilities. Some of their ideas about responsibilities which match rights are:

  • If we have a right to life, then we have the obligation to respect life.

  • If we have a right to liberty, then we have the obligation to respect other people’s liberty. 

  • If we have a right to security, then we have the obligation to create the conditions for every human being to enjoy human security. 

In this activity students are given opportunities to consider the limits of human rights in different contexts. 

Resources Required

e Resources

Task 1

Look at the list of rights below, and decide what a matching responsibility for each might be. You might like to use a strategy such as think-pair-share to complete this task. Think-pair-share requires you to ‘think’ first, then to ‘pair’ with a classmate to exchange ideas. The pair then shares their responses with the rest of the class.

Complete the following sentences:

  • If we have a right to take part in political processes, then we have a responsibility to ...

  • If we have a right to work in just conditions, then we have a responsibility to ... 

  • If we have a right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion, then we have a responsibility to ... 

  • If we have a right to be educated, then we have a responsibility to ... 

  • If we have a right to benefit from the Earth's resources, then we have a responsibility to ... 

Extension Task

View the InterAction Council’s Universal Declaration of Human ResponsibilitiesAs a class, divide the first 18 Articles between your classmates. With a partner or in a group of three, decide what your responsibility:

  • looks like

  • sounds like

  • feels like.

How could this responsibility be applied to your daily life and the lives of your classmates?

 

Activity 1a | Activity 1b | Activity 1c 

For the teacher | Human Rights Introduction | 1: What Are Human Rights?

Overview of activities:  Focus Question 1