Electronic Resource Centre for Human
Human Rights Album Methodology Handbook
The Council of Europe
Human Rights Album
Information and Documentation Centre on the Council of Europe
This methodology handbook aspires to become a source of inspiration for all teachers who believe that human rights do deserve attention as a part of the school teaching without having a specific subject devoted solely to this topic.
The handbook is a product of experience developed on the seminars for teachers from different types of schools organised within the "Human Rights at School" Project by Milan imecka Foundation.
It complements The Council of Europe Album of Human Rights published by the Information and Documentation Centre on the Council of Europe, located in Bratislava. It is a updated translation of a successful publication of the Council of Europe which has been published in numerous foreign languages since it first publication in 1992. The Ministry of Education distributed the Album to the hig schools and colleges in Slovakia (with each school receiving approximately 30 copies).
The Album of Human Rights is an illustrated publication on the European Convention on Human rights and Fundamental Freedoms which is a legally binding document for all member states of the Council of Europe.
Written and compiled by: Jana Kviecinská, Milan imecka Foundation program officer for human rights
Edited by: Darina Sedláková and Viliam Figusch
Published by: Information and Documentation Centre on the Council of Europe, Academia Istropolitana, Bratislava in the Forte Extra, s.r.o. publishing house
Table of Contents:
Human rights are rights that we acquire naturally, being born as human beings. They help us to identify and specify the space in which we live, they define the quality of our lives as well as the general standard of the human community. They are directly related to the standard of democratic development of the society in which people live, i.e. the more stable and developed democracy is the more deeply human rights are rooted in its structures and form the cornerstones of democratic development.
Human rights are universal. It means they shall be enjoyed by all human beings regardless of any differences or variations such as race, colour of skin, sex, language, religion, political or other belief, origin, property, position in family or other structure.
Human rights are indivisible and interrelated which means that together they form a set which cannot be divided into smaller groups of rights without damaging the cornerstones and the internal equilibrium.
Human rights are irremovable, imprescriptible unabolishable. They are not grated to citizens by their state. A citizen has the right and, moreover, has the obligation to insist that the state provides for their protection and unlimited use.
Compliance and use of human rights by individuals can only be facilitated by a democratic society. However, the structure of such society must meet the fundamental criteria of democracy. Power of the state bodies is derived from the will of citizens freely expressed in democratic elections. Among fundamental features of democracy we would find the participation of citizens in the state administration, the system of bodies of political power (division of power to constitutional, executive and independent judiciary) and independent controls by democratic institutions.
As the Preamble to the European Union Treaty has it, people must get the opportunity to influence decisions that touch upon them. For the protection of human rights, critical elements are the existence of a legal state and application of democratic principles. These are usually defined in constitutional documents (the Constitution and constitutional laws) which must guarantee the protection of human rights and freedoms.
In the Slovak Constitution, human rights and freedoms are directly referred to in Articles 17 through 32. Yet, indirectly they are contained in many other articles and provisions.
Education in human rights is not a teaching subject. Rather, it is an understanding of matters and phenomena that surround us through learning about our own rights and recognising the obligations that directly evolve from these rights. Human rights may therefore be incorporated into any teaching subject and gradually become a part of the atmosphere of the school, society, state.
Education in human rights helps young people to understand and master their role as an active citizen of a democratic society. Yet, to succeed in such task , certain level of understanding is required, in particular, on history, international documents and organisations addressing the issue of human rights, on various categories of rights and on legal tools and instruments.
Teaching usually concentrates only on developing knowledge. However, education should help to create a system of values as well as skills such as personal skills (self understanding, self recognition) and social skills (interactive skills, skills in resolving conflicts and problems).
The outcome of such education is a decent and fair environment where human rights are taken for granted and are present in each teaching method and each relationship.
A popular wisdom has it that you may bring a horse to water but you cannot force it to drink. The same comes out from research which confirms that one learns the most from what he does directly or actively participates in. Only in this way one in the process of creation exploits all human specific senses, eyes, ears, hearing, speech and intellect.
Learning is also a process of creation based on the interaction of two elements, a pupil and a teacher. This process can only be successful if both participant cooperate. Then, the outcome of the process, i.e., the knowledge and skills, is of a higher quality and longer duration.
When it comes to co-operation, the objective is not to reach a target, as in such competition there would be only one winner with the other being defeated, instead, the objective is to reach a common, shared target which is much more important than any personal one.
Another equally important precondition of success is the art to listen to the partner. To listen means much more than just to hear. Listening also incorporates the capacity to feel what our partner wants to communicate to us. In schools we often see that teachers (but also pupils) feel that they know what their partner wants to say even before he starts and they do not listen what the other partner is actually saying. This prevents a mutual relationship to develop, although, such relationship is of a critical importance if the teaching is to take place in an atmosphere which is perceived as positive by both participants.
Three psychologists contributed significantly to "humanisation" of schools and relationships developing inside them: A. Maslow, C. Rogers and A. Combs.
A. Maslow said that a teacher may help a child to grow, develop, learn and act on its own, however, the child may choose from several alternative routes of development.
C. Rogers states, that a teacher may and should be truthful, open and empathic with the pupils and students and in this way support their efforts to continue with the learning process.
According to Combs, a teacher should be sensitive, truthful, ready to cooperate and capable of engaging into multiparty relationships. His objective should be to assist pupils to develop a positive concept of themselves.
All these ideas and concepts evolved in reaction to the "traditional school", where no consideration was given to a pupil, his or her will, wishes and needs and where it was the teacher who decided what the pupil was going to do or what would be happening with him or her with no consideration given to the pupils themselves.
It would be unwise to use The Album of Human Rights - an illustrated publication on the European Convention on Human rights and Fundamental Freedoms - to fill in a sudden and unexpected free space of time that may appear during a lesson. Instead, it should either be used as a core material for specific lessons or as a supplemental material to the teaching texts.
Similarly to "bedeckers" on various towns or localities, this handbook does not prescribe how much time should be devoted to human rights or how deep the knowledge should be. The amount and quality of information directly depends not only on the teacher who should have the best understanding of his or her pupils but also on the pupils themselves.
Suggestions on how to shape individual lessons are interlinked but in the handbook they can also be seen as forming separate units that provide a compact set of information obtained during the lesson and extracted from the pupil's own experience of that lesson.
Objective: Help pupils to develop understanding of an abstract notion of a "right".
Careful reading and understanding of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Divide the class into groups of three, four pupils. Each group shall select a representative. Let the representative choose for his group one picture - a colour or black-and-white copy from the Album - from the pictures exhibited on a visible place. The text on the copies is covered (10 minutes).
Ask individual groups to examine the selected picture and in a discussion try to understand who or what is depicted in the picture and what is the relationship between the items and persons in the picture. As them to think about which and how many rights are depicted in their picture. As a support for this task, distribute to them the text of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and ask them to get some help by reading individual articles of the Declaration. Make them take notes on their findings (15 - 20 minutes).
As the time elapses as for a volunteer to show the picture to the rest of the class, describe it and explain which rights and how many articles of the Declaration did his group find in the picture. Take notes on the blackboard.
Repeat such presentation, let say, three times with different groups (10 minutes).
Your notes on the blackboard will start to show similar information. In the atmosphere that develops in the classroom everyone will be anxious to hear what is the right answer to the questions, i.e.: Which articles of the Declaration (which rights) are depicted in individual pictures? How many of them is actually depicted in each picture?
At this point you surprise them by revealing that each solution presented by individual groups is correct. This is because human rights or documents that lay them down obtain some meaning and contents only when people recognise them and find them n the everyday life or in illustrations as the ones you work with. You shall draw their attention to the fact that they worked with the illustrated version of the European Convention, yet, they were able to recognise in the pictures the rights laid down in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Finally, you may tell them that the Album is just one of many artistic interpretations and is equal and fully comparable with any of the interpretations they provided.
Objective: Help pupils to recognise individual categories of human rights.
Put copies of pictures from the Album on a desk. Ask pupils to take a look at them and think which of the depicted rights may comprise a group formed on the basis of the criterion of necessity, which means that they must be valid all the time and for everyone. Let each of them take notes on their "groupings" (5 -10 minutes).
Then, ask pupils to go back to their desks and in pairs discuss and exchange their opinions and try to agree on a shared version (10 minutes).
Ask the pairs to tell the other what they have agreed on and why have they put certain rights into groups and excluded the others (15 minutes).
By facilitating a common discussion you help them to put together a group of fundamental rights and tell them how individual categories arose.
Support material: supplemental text on categories of human rights
Objective: Help pupils to learn what is a right and how does it affect our everyday life.
Ask pupils to choose a copy of a picture from the Album. Ask them to take a look at the picture the selected read the text and try to recall an event in their life or in the history of mankind when this right was violated (5 - 7 minutes).
Then let them share their story with the neighbour at the desk. Finally, a couple of pupils shall tell the stories they heard from their neighbours to the whole class. Listen to five stories, or so.
As the others to listen carefully and try to answer this question: What can be done in such situations? Where and how to claim justice?
In a discussion you assist pupils to understand the importance of their daily active participation in developing the quality and standard of life of the community in which we live. Try to draw their attention to different types of engagement and stress legal forms of influencing the political life (elections, newspaper articles, petitions, gatherings, participation in public discussions, organisation of campaigns, lobbying with deputies, etc.).
Having listen to all stories and having summarised all suggestions of remedies, try to explain the difference between declaring something and taking a legal obligation with respect to something (declaration - convention - constitution).
Objective: Help pupils to recognise the effectiveness of rights laid down in declarations, conventions and constitutions.
Distribute the copies of pictures or all Albums (is you have enough copies) to the pupils. Also hand out copies of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and ask them to compare it with the European Convention from the Album and search for those rights that do appear in both documents (10 minutes).
While pupils work on this task, put up on a visible place a list of selected laws adopted by the Hitler's Germany between 1933 and 1935 (see the appendix).
Listen to the pupils´ solutions concerning the rights laid down in both the Declaration and the Convention.
Then, draw their attention to the laws you put up and together with them try to develop a discussion in order to find out which rights from those that are in both the Declaration and the Convention were people in the Hitler's Germany deprived of by amendments of the Constitution.
Doing this, you assist the pupils to understand the reasons that lead to the adoption of the post-war documents, the Declaration and the Convention, as well as the differences in their effectiveness and binding character.
Objective: Help pupils to perceive human rights as a part of their life and as their responsibility.
Distribute the Albums to pupils and put various newspapers and journals on an accessible place in the classroom. Ask pupils to choose from them. Then ask them to flip through the Album and choose three depicted articles of the European Convention which they are going to concentrate on while reading the papers and journals (5 - 7 minutes).
In the papers and journals the pupils shall look for such articles which are either positively or negatively linked to the articles of the European Convention which they have previously selected from the Album. Finding one newspaper article for each picture selected from the Album is sufficient (15 minutes).
After the time reserved for this activity is over and all the pupils have finished their "search" ask a volunteer to tell the whole class which article of the Convention has he or she selected and what is written in the papers with respect to the selected article. It is important that the pupil states how did he or she felt when reading the newspaper article and that he or she formulates their position on the examined newspaper article (15 minutes).
The teacher may lead the discussion in different directions depending on the level of understanding of human rights on the part of the pupils as expressed in their positions. It is important for the pupils to realise that human rights are violated everywhere in the world including their own country. This understanding based on the geographical balance may help them to avoid xenophobic, racist or chauvinist reactions.
Finally, it would be good to think together with the pupils about how they can prevent human rights be violated or how they can contribute to their protection.
Support material: various newspapers and journals.
Objective: Help pupils to think and reasonably argument even with respect to the most simple questions that give birth to different emotions.
Show the pupils the picture on pages 6-7 of the Album of Human Rights (if you have enough copies you may like to distribute them to the pupils). Ask them what do they feel and what comes to their mind when they see gallows depicted in the picture. Put their feelings down on the blackboard. You will gradually get a list. (5 minutes).
Then, give each of them a copy of the questionnaire with 10 statements (see appendix 5.1) and ask them in the first step to answer for themselves whether they agree or disagree with individual statements (10 - 15 minutes).
Divide them into groups of four or five and give them time to compare their replies and to find out whether they used the same arguments to get to the same answers, and, also what is the reason that with some of the statements their answers differed. Choose one pupil and ask him or her to put down arguments used in the discussion and ask another one to put down and characterise the behaviour of individual speakers in the discussion and try to name the emotions (both positive and negative) expressed by conduct of the speakers (10 minutes).
After the time reserved for this activity is over ask individual group reporters to read what they have put down. Return back to the list of feelings on the blackboard and add items to it as individual "emotion reporters" make their presentations.
On the other part of the blackboard put the arguments caught by individual "argument reporters" (10 minutes).
While analysing together with the pupils what has just happened during the lesson it will take you a while to come to a conclusion that feelings and emotions often do not lead us to the best solutions, in particular, if we cannot support them with arguments, i.e. if we cannot rationalise.
At the end of the lesson you may hand out to the pupils a list of arguments for and against prepared for the teaching purposes by the British section of the Amnesty International (see appendix 5.2).
Supplemental texts to be copied and distributed to pupils:
This is one of the most important post war international documents concerning human rights which in thirty articles lays down the fundamental human rights and freedoms. The Declaration had a program character. It declared the general principles of the international standard for human rights.
The Declaration did not set forth any obligations for the states that recognised it. The decision on the conditions under which individual states were going to meet their obligations was left entirely on them. There was no mechanism defined by any international law that would facilitate any enforcement of the rights and freedoms.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights earned a general recognition and became a source of inspiration when, later on, various international documents were drafted and it also served as the basis for individual states when they were drafting their own constitutions.
The Convention on Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms and the related protocols were signed on behalf of the CSFR in 1991 and after ratified by the Federal Assembly on March 18, 1992, Czechoslovakia became a participant to the Convention. Slovak republic is considered to be a participant to the Convention as of January 1, 1993.
This handbook does not contain the full text of the Convention and the supplemental protocols. At the end of the handbook you will find references and addresses where you can get them or ask for them.
The European Convention on Protection of Human Rights and Freedoms together with the protocols and the European Social Charter represent a regional, European system of protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the European states - members of the Council of Europe - and at the same time serve as a European standard for human rights.
In the Preamble to the Convention, member state of the Council of Europe expressed their belief that protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms is one of the core principles of any democratic state. A control mechanisms in place that serves as a guarantee of compliance.
The European Convention lays down a limited number of human rights and fundamental freedoms:
Some supplemental protocols extend the list of guaranteed human rights and freedoms for additional rights and freedoms, such as:
The Convention does not include any economic or social rights as these are covered by the European Social Charter and its protocols.
The European Convention is not a simple repetition of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which was not extended for the convention and for the control bodies and a system of protection that would legally support its application. In order to ensure the compliance with the obligations adopted by the member states - members of the Council of Europe - the European Commission for Human Rights and the European Court for Human Rights were established. It is not only the member states who may turn to the Commission but it is open also to individuals and non-governmental organisations after they have exhausted all available state legal mechanisms. The Commission strives for an extra court peaceful settlement of all disputes. However, if such extra court peaceful settlement is impossible it, depending on the character of the dispute it passes the whole dispute over either to the European Court or to the Council of Ministers. Decisions of the European Court as well as the decisions by the Council of Ministers are mandatory and final and cannot be claimed any further.
Human rights can be divided into several groups using different sets of criteria.
From a historical perspective we talk about three generations of human rights:
Quite a large group of theoreticians divides human rights into:
As fundamental rights are considered those rights that are contained within the first generation of human rights and all the other rights, i.e., economic, social and cultural rights are considered as derived.
Human rights laid down in international documents may be divided using various criteria:
The current understanding of human rights presupposes, that a minimum standard of human rights and freedoms is laid down in the state constitution which is supplemented by a set of internal state institutions responsible for their protection. A minimum standard of human rights contains such rights that must be enforceable under any conditions, including upheavals, acts of violence, tension and public dangers, and cannot be abolished under any circumstances.
Among such rights we may list a right of a child to be protected, a right of sick and injured to receive medical assistance, a right of medical doctors and priests to meet their obligations.
The minimum international standard is comprised of a system of fundamental human rights and freedoms contained in the universal international documents and in international conventions on human rights of a regional character. These are then decisive for defining the minimum standard of human rights and freedoms and for setting the scope of international obligations of individual states.
On the grounds of acts of a similar wording, for the following 10 years, citizens of Jewish origin were pursued also in other European countries.
5. Materials Concerning Capital Punishment
Please, give a separate answer "I agree" or "I disagree" to each of the following questions:
Adapted from the education materials of the British section of Amnesty International.
Viera Stráznická - tefan ebesta: "Clovek a jeho práva, medzinárodná úprava ochrany ludských práv" (A Man and His Rights, an International Definition of the Protection of Human Rights) , published by JUGA, 1994
Miroslav Kusý: "Problematika ludských práv" (Issues of Human Rights), Text drafted for the Department of Politology of the Commenius University in Bratislava
"Ludské práva, výber dokumentov OSN" ( Human Rights, An Extract from the UN Documents), published by ARCHA, 2. issue, 1995
"Ludské práva pre deti" (Human Rights for Children), published by ARCHA, 1992
"Metodika vyucovania ludských práv" (How to Teach Human Rights), published by ARCHA, 1992
"Výchova k ludským právam" (Education on Human Rights), published by Minority Rights Group - Slovakia, 1994
Jean Imbert: "Trest smrti" (Capital Punishment), published by ARCHA, 1994
"Krátky sprievodca Európskym dohovorom o ludských právach" (A Brief Companion to the European Convention on Human Rights) , published by Ister Science Press, 1994 (Can be sent by the Information and Documentation Centre on the Council of Europe on request.)
Dohovor o ochrane ludských práv a základných slobôd v znení protokolov c. 3, 5 a 8 (Convention on Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms as amended by Protocols No. 3,5,8)
Vyhláka No. 209/1992 (Decree No. 209/1992 including protocols 1,2,4,6,7)
(Text of the Convention and protocols can be sent by the Information and Documentation Centre on the Council of Europe on request.).
Contact Addresses for Literature:
ARCHA Publishing house, Staromestská 6, 811 03 Bratislava
Minority Rights Group - Slovakia, Bajkalská ul. 25, 827 18 Bratislava
Information and Documentation Centre on the Council of Europe, Academia Istropolitana, P.O.BOX 217, Klariská ul. 5, 810 00 Bratislava, tel: 00-42-7-533 5752, tel/fax: 00-42-7-533 5672
E -mail: email@example.com
Back to Index Library
Electronic Resource Centre for Human
Human Rights Album Methodology Handbook