Although the Univeral Declaration of Human Rights dates back to 1948 the world history continues to be stained by violations of natural rights. Rights which for most of us seem obvious and unquestioned.

Unsafe labor conditions, sexual abuse, ethnic cleansing, child detention, forced sterilization, detention camps, public stoning are just some of most shocking violations, mass executions and torture are among the most shocking violations reported by the UN commissions.

Read these articles for more details:

14 Shocking Global Human Rights Violations of 2013

Votes count: Italian support to HRC resolutions

Humans Right Watch:  World report 2015 


What is a human right?


TASK: Discuss with your classmates and make a list of what  fundamental human rights are.

Then check this website and and find out the complete list by watching the videos.They are public messages created to spread awareness and arise sensitivity on the topic of human rights.(

Which message did you like best?


A bit of history


The 4th of July 1776  is a date with joyful and deeply-felt celebrations because it represents  the birth of the United States. Here is  the video shown in class with the text of the Declaration and the interpretation of Max McLean.

The declaration was the final act of the  uneasiness of the colonists towards the mistreatment and misdeeds enacted by Great Britain which can be simplified by the idea “no taxation without representation”. The Declaration consists of  three main sections. The first  provides a theory of government, the second sets a list of complaints and the third is actually a declaration of war. This document is fundamental to understand  the basis for the U.S. Constitution, which is still the law of the land today.

Quite predictably, not everything went smoothly. That all men are created equal was a  truth which became everything but self- evident. One hundred years after the abolition of slavery, Martin Luther King jr. gave his famous speech in favour of freedom and equality on the final day of the  March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, an event intended to demonstrate mass support for the civil rights legislation proposed by President Kennedy.

Here is the video with subtitles in English.

  1. This speech is considered one of the most powerful examples of public speaking. What characterises this speech?
  2. Are there words/themes which are repeated frequently? What are they?
  3. What methaphors were used? To describe what?
  4. Can you identify some historical references?
  5.  Coming back to 2015 do you think this speech is still “modern” ? Why?



Human Rights Watch defends the rights of people worldwide, investigates abuses, exposes the facts widely, and pressures those with power to respect rights and secure justice. Human Rights Watch is an independent, international organization that works as part of a vibrant movement to uphold human dignity and advance the cause of human rights for all.

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