Declaring Our Human Rights Toolkit

Most of us say we know a lot about human rights, but struggle to define them and give examples. The “Declaring Our Human Rights” theme will help build our foundation for human rights by doing a deep dive into the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR).

As human rights advocates, we need to think critically about the different ways our human rights can be impacted. Some violations are in our face obvious, while others, we may not know are even happening to us. Often, we recognize when someone else’s human rights are being violated, but do we know what to do when we see a violation? Or do we know when we’re experiencing a violation ourselves? Do we notice when our rights are being upheld? Do we take that for granted?

What Are Human Rights?

Where do human rights begin? In small places, close to home, so close and so small that they cannot be seen on any maps of the world. Yet they are the world of the individual person… Such are the places where every man, woman, and child seeks equal justice, equal opportunity, equal dignity without discrimination.

Eleanor Roosevelt, U.S. First Lady, 1948

Human Rights

Rights we have simply because we exist as human beings – they are not granted by any state. These universal rights are inherent to us all, regardless of nationality, sex, national or ethnic origin, color, religion, language, or any other status. (OHCHR) 


Applicable to all members of a group or set. Relate equally to all human beings simply because we are born human. We are all equally entitled to our human rights. The universality of human rights is the cornerstone of international human rights law.  (OHCHR)


Human rights should not be taken away from any person, except in specific situations and according to due process. For example, the right to liberty may be restricted if a person is found guilty of a crime by a court of law. (OHCHR)

Indivisible & Interdependent

All human rights are of equal importance and one set of rights cannot be enjoyed fully without the other. For example, upholding the right to education makes it easier to ensure an adequate standard of living. (OHCHR)

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights: The 75th Anniversary

Proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly on December 10, 1948, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) is a milestone document in the history of human rights as a common standard of achievements for all peoples and all nations. It sets out, for the first time, fundamental human rights to be universally protected.

The UDHR contains 30 Articles that are widely recognized as having inspired, and paved the way for, the adoption of more than 80 human rights treaties, applied today on a permanent basis at global and regional levels. (UN)

Young people are at the forefront of protecting human rights around the world. Understanding the principles of the UDHR will not only equip your generation with the knowledge to address rights violations within your communities but will enable you to tackle global human rights issues through a deeper lens. 

Take Action: If You Only Have…

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Educational Resources

Advocacy Opportunities: How Can You Make a Difference?

Human Rights Day is observed every year on December 10 — the day the United Nations General Assembly adopted, in 1948, the UDHR. As part of our “Declaring Our Human Rights” theme, STFers will educate and engage their campus community in advocacy around human rights, as well as host an event celebrating the 75th anniversary of the UDHR around December 10, 2023.

Check out the below resources and STF’s Human Rights Day toolkit for action ideas.

Are We Learning About Human Rights? Survey

Survey your classmates to understand how much your campus community knows and cares about human rights. Consider partnering with teachers or interviewing classmates at a lunch event. You can also do a video interview with survey questions to more easily share the results with your school decision makers.

Know Your Human Rights Tent Event

Set up a tent event with up to four themes from the Celebrating 75 Years of Human Rights Action Plan. Use STF’s Tent Event Resources for instructions on how to set up a tent event, a planning checklist and to help you think through which themes you want feature to get your whole school advocating for human rights.

Develop a Student Bill of Rights and Responsibilities

Work with classmates, teachers and administrators to develop a Student Bill of Rights and Responsibilities rooted in human rights. See an example that students from Palisades Charter HS created here. Talk to the STF Team about how to get started!

Host a Film Screening of “A Path to Dignity: The Power of Human Rights Education”

A Path to Dignity: The Power of Human Rights Education (Click to watch, 28:13) presents three stories illustrating the impact of human rights education on school children (India), law enforcement agencies (Australia) and women victims of violence (Turkey). Contact the STF Team to learn more about this opportunity.

Educator’s Portal – Lesson Plans

For educators interested in teaching students about the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), please explore the resources below.

Introducing Human Rights

This TedEd lesson explores the subtleties of human rights. This resource includes a series of questions: what exactly are the basic human rights? Who gets to pick them? Who enforces them—and how?

Subjects: Social Studies, English Language Arts, Literacy

Grades: 9-10

Upholding Our Rights

In this lesson, students familiarize themselves with the UDHR. Students will reflect on how the enforcement of the UDHR can resolve current issues, continue human rights being upheld, as well as end human rights violations.

Subjects: English Language Arts, Science, Social Sciences

Grades: 9-12

The World as it Could Be

This collection of six lessons from The World as It Could Be program is an integration of creative arts and human rights education. It focuses on the UDHR’s connection, to personal lives, community, and global issues.

Subject: Social Studies, English Language Arts, Literacy

Grades: 9-12

“A Path to Dignity” Film

A Path to Dignity: The Power of Human Rights Education presents three stories illustrating the impact of human rights education on school children (India), law enforcement agencies (Australia) and women victims of violence (Turkey).

Subject: Social Studies, English Language Arts

Grades: 9-12

Contact the STF Team if you would like additional resources or can help us curate our teacher’s portal to your needs:

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