Bringing the Lessons of the Holocaust to teachers in Rwanda

When Drew Beiter and Mark Gudgel met at a teacher training program at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum, they shared a love for Rwanda and a desire to help its teachers provide quality Holocaust and genocide education. Supported by a seed grant from the Museum and other partners, they realized their vision with the first annual Educators Institute on Human Rights, Rwanda, held July 31 to August 2, 2011 in Kigali. They hoped to hold another conference in Rwanda in the next year and expand their efforts to other countries. They have been successful. Learn more about the Educators Institute on Human Rights: http://www.eihr.org/.

Human Rights, Conflict Resolution, and Tolerance Education Teacher Toolkit

This 233-page guide, provided as a pdf, was developed by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). As the main provider of basic education to Palestine refugees, serving approximately half a million students, UNRWA has also been delivering human rights, conflict resolution and tolerance (HRCRT) education in its schools for over a decade. The HRCRT Toolkit was developed to serve as a practical tool to further strengthen the teaching and learning of human rights in UNRWA schools. It is designed to be a user friendly tool which will support the effective implementation of the HRCRT Policy, launched in May 2012. The Policy articulates UNRWA’s approach to human rights education in order to harmonize, update and strengthen it.

The HRCRT Toolkit is a comprehensive and accessible resource for UNRWA’s 19,000 teachers and school management staff. It will equip them to teach human rights in a way that engages and inspires their students and to integrate human rights education into their classroom routines and curriculum subjects. Through the practical activities in the Toolkit (40 in all), teachers will be able to create a rights-based, and empowering environment for their students.

The Policy and the Toolkit both seek to empower Palestine refugees, encouraging them to know and exercise their rights, uphold the rights of others, be proud of their Palestinian identity, and contribute to their society in a positive way.

Learning About Human Rights

In 2008, the United Nations initiated a year of human rights learning to mark the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In the UK, UNA-UK teamed up with UNESCO Associated Schools to produce materials to help secondary school teachers and students explore human rights together.

The resource, now posted to the web as a series of pdfs, contains a teacher’s handbook with slide presentations and corresponding factsheets for students. The five topics covered are:

– the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights
– the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child
– child rights and armed conflict
– child rights and climate change
– human rights and international development

Mini Exploring Humanitarian Law: The Essence of Humanitarian Law

This 42-page resource kit introduces young people to the principles and basic rules of international humanitarian law (IHL). It provides 5 x 45 minutes of sequential learning activities designed for both formal and non-formal education settings for young people and other interested groups.

It can be used in the framework of a half-day workshop or over the course of five individual sessions. Mini EHL was developed by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) on the basis of the Exploring Humanitarian Law (EHL) education programme and includes new exercises and source materials.

The learning materials are based on real-life situations and show how IHL aims to protect life and human dignity during armed conflict and to prevent and reduce the suffering and the devastation caused by war. By studying the behaviour of actual persons and the dilemma they experience, young people develop a new perspective and begin to understand the need for rules during war as well as the complexity of their application.

Human Total: A Violence Prevention Learning Resource

Human Total is a 303-page pdf manual created by Human Rights Education Association (HREA), the International Center for Alcohol Policies (ICAP) and the Instituto Mexicano de Investigación Familia y de Población (IMIFAP).

Targeted towards young people between the ages of 10 and 14, the manual helps learners understand attitudes that promote violent behavior (often brought about by the misuse of alcohol) by males and cultivates methods to minimise these behaviors’ harms and prevent their perpetuation.

Human Total contains 32 adaptable lesson plans, including ways to recognise and understand violence in social contexts and techniques for minimising violence through education about human rights and active participation in the community. The manual also features a note for facilitators on how to use it, tools for outreach to parents and guardians, recommendations for additional resources, and eight annexes with supplemental information. The resource was piloted in El Salvador and Kenya.

Human Total: A Violence Prevention Learning Resource is currently (July 2013) available in English and will soon be available in Spanish.

Speak Truth to Power: Human Rights Defenders Who are Changing Our World

The Speak Truth To Power curriculum (296 page PDF) introduces general human rights issues through the stories of some remarkable people working in the field, and urges students to become personally involved in the protection of human rights. The curriculum is based on a book written by Kerry Kennedy that lead to a dramatic production by Ariel Dorfman (the play script is included in the curriculum). It is illustrated with a series of photographic portraits of human rights defenders by the late Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer Eddie Adams. Various editions of Speak Truth to Power have been produced, with this one drawing input from the Chicago Public Schools and Chicago Teachers Union. Also available are Cambodian, Italian, and South African editions, and an edition developed in New York State.

The focus of the learning activities varies based on the age-group of students you are working with. In pre-kindergarten through grade 3, human rights learning focuses on respect for self, parents, teachers and others. In grades 4–6 the focus moves to social responsibility, citizenship, and distinguishing wants and needs from rights. For grades 7 and 8, the focus shifts to introducing and enhancing specific human rights. At the high school level, grades 9–12, the focus expands to include human rights as universal standards, integration of human rights into personal awareness, and behavior.

Exploring Humanitarian Law Curriculum Package

Exploring Humanitarian Law (EHL) is an adaptable toolkit that gives educators easy-to-use materials to expose students to issues of international humanitarian law, the rules that ensure respect for life and human dignity in war. The toolkit offers educators primary source materials and strategies that reinforce and enrich existing curricula and educational programs. The full curriculum is available for download as a 360+ page pdf.

Humanitarian law is a body of international law that aims to protect human dignity during armed conflict and to prevent or reduce the suffering and destruction that results from war. All nations are party to the Geneva Conventions, and therefore have a legal obligation to encourage the study of humanitarian law as widely as possible. These laws, together with the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child, should be viewed as an integral part of today’s basic education.

Aligned with social studies requirements around the country, Exploring Humanitarian Law offers educators activities that can be used as a whole or mixed and matched into current lessons. High-quality materials, including news accounts, photos, letters, videos, case studies and interactive projects bring real events and people to life, helping teachers connect lessons of the past with events of today.