Curricula and Lesson Plans on Human Rights

ABC Teaching Human Rights
By the United Nations.  ABC: Teaching Human Rights aims to serve as a user-friendly tool for human rights education and a multi-colored umbrella covering a number of basic human rights areas. It offers practical advice to teachers and other educators who want to foster human rights awareness and action among primary and secondary school children, including suggestions for developing learning activities. It is not meant to place an extra burden on an already overloaded curriculum but to assist in infusing human rights issues into subjects already taught in schools.

All Different, All Equal
A project of the Council of Europe.  Includes curriculum to promote intercultural education

aMaze: "Families All Matter"
The Families All Matter Book Project (FAM) encourages children to explore diversity issues through reading. Stories about families are read to students by teachers, parents, or volunteers. Afterwards, students discuss the story, participate in follow-up activities, and write in journals. It began in Minneapolis in 1996 and has been used in hundreds of elementary school classrooms. You can purchase the curriculum through their website.

Amnesty International
Posts numerous articles related to human rights topics, and may be an appropriate resource for some older students.   For information specifically on education, check out Amnesty International USA's spin-off site, "Human Rights Education".  Offers a free, monthly email newsletter for human rights educators, as well as lesson plans and suggestions for teachers. Materials are also available in Spanish.

BBC World Service: "I Have a Right to...

Case studies which can be used to teach students about the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Blood Diamond Curriculum Guide 
By Amnesty International.  Amnesty International USA has put together a teacher's guide to accompany the Warner Brother's production Blood Diamond. The teacher's guide includes lesson plans, a glossary, discussion questions and materials for further study. The guide provides students with insight to explore individual as well as collective and social responsibility. The Human Rights Education Program would like to thank Rebecca Catron, Alison Cordeiro, Adriane Alicea, Melissa Robinson, and Amy O'Meara for helping conceive and create this resource

Catch a Fire
By Amnesty International.  The Human Rights Education program of AIUSA is proud to present a companion curriculum (In PDF) to the film Catch a Fire, directed by Phillip Noyce. Both the film and companion guide address themes of justice and reconciliation, as well as motivators for social change and the concepts of personal and collective responsibility. The companion guide includes three lesson plans as well as discussion questions geared towards high school and college aged students

Center for Holocaust & Genocide Studies 
'Teaching Trunks' for Educators.  Dynamic literature-based lessons about the Holocaust, genocide, and values education.  These teaching trunks contain books, films, and teaching guides to accommodate the needs of one class or a team of teachers.  Materials are available at no cost to public and private schools throughout the Upper Midwest for up to six weeks. 

Civitas International
Devoted to civic education resources for educators around the world.

CNN Student News
CNN Student News provides news resources for students and educators.  The site also includes lesson plans related to many of the news stories.  Other sites to try are, or  They are ftp sites that contain past lesson plans. 

Compass:  A Manual on Human Rights Education With Young People- 
by the Council of Europe.  Compass is a manual on human rights education providing youth leaders, teachers and other educators, whether professionals or volunteers, with concrete ideas and practical activities to engage, involve and motivate young people to form a positive awareness of human rights in their own ways and in their own communities

Cultural Survival
Seeks to preserve and protect indigenous cultures.  Should be of interest to teachers who wish to address cultural rights, and includes a section called "Education: Pathways to Learning" which details how to incorporate indigenous issues into 8th-10th grade classrooms.

Death Penalty Curricula for High School
This site and its accompanying materials are designed to assist both teachers and students in an exploration of capital punishment, presenting arguments for and against its use, as well as issues of ethics and justice that surround it.  The site has many online interactive resources and lesson plans can also be requested from the organization. 

Educating for Human Dignity
By Betty A. Reardon.  Book offers a curriculum framework and rationale, resource listings, and sample lesson materials to facilitate human rights education elementary and secondary schools

Facing History and Ourselves: Examining History and Human Behavior
Resources for teaching history reflectively.  Contains teacher resources such as lesson plans.

Fields of Hope
Complete curriculum on child labor for high school students.

The Foreign Policy Association - Great Decisions
The "Educator's Corner" is designed for teachers who want to teach about foreign affairs.

Global Source Education
Contains lesson plans, advice, and curriculum, and is designed to "bring the classroom into the real world…and the real world into the classroom."

Human Rights Education Associates
An online library of human rights' resources, equipped with curriculum, lessons, and a teachers' library.  All materials are free and ready to download.

The Human Rights Education Handbook
By Nancy Flowers.  A complete handbook to teaching human rights, from ideas and resources for teaching elementary students to workshops for adults.

Human Rights Here and Now
By the Human Rights Educator’s Network, Human Rights Resource Center and the Stanley Foundation.  A complete guide to Human Rights Education for elementary through high school students

Human Rights Internet
A Canadian site with recommendations for teachers, such as textbooks and other resources related to human rights education.

Human Rights, Refugees and UNHCR:  A Teacher's Guide
UNHCR offers a wide range of education materials on refugee issues.  Each free and downloadable unit is accompanied by a lesson plan that provides an overview of the lesson, bjectives, content, the teaching method/learning strategies involved, and the related resources which are available on this website.

Innocents Lost Curriculum Guide
By Jimmie Briggs and Amnesty International.  Curriculum guide for Innocents Lost, a book about child soldiers.

The New York Times - Teacher Connections
Provides lesson plans based on current events.  For specific lessons on human rights from the New York Times Learning Network check out:

The People's Movement for Human Rights Education
Dedicated to human rights learning for social and economic change.  Provides excellent explanations of a variety of human rights issues, including: the aged, children, development, disability, discrimination, education, environment, ethnicity, food, health, housing, indigenous peoples, livelihood and land, minorities, peace and disarmament, poverty, race, refugees, religion, sexual orientation, women, work and workers.  Good starting point for teachers looking to explore one or more of these issues.

PBS Lesson Plans on Human Rights
Lesson plans for all ages related to current events.  They are centered on topics such as the war in Afghanistan, terrorism, tolerance, and cultural understanding. 

Our World, Our Rights
By Amnesty International.  This book is designed to introduce elementary school children to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). It offers children a simple way of remembering the rights embodied in the UDHR, and also helps them to identify rights and responsibilities which accompany them. 170 pages. Includes classroom activities, stories, case studies, action opportunities and a list of additional resources

September 11th Crisis Response Guide
By Amnesty International. This guide focuses on the events of September 11 2001 and the immediate aftermath and places them within a human rights context. It is targeted to junior high and high school teachers and covers topics that range from racism and discrimination to International Humanitarian Law.

Speak Truth to Power: An Educational and Advocacy Package - 
by Amnesty International.  This resource explores some key human rights issues through the eyes of a human rights defender as well as the actions of a local hero. Each chapter includes a section on the human rights issue, how to find out more and activities or discussion questions for classroom use. Included in this resource is the full length play Speak Truth to Power: Voices from Beyond the Dark by Ariel Dorfman.

Teaching for Change - Building Social Justice, Starting in the Classroom
Features a catalogue of print resources for teachers, and highlights projects in the Washington, D.C. area.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights -- Its History and Significance
Created by the Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute.  Contains a human rights timeline, national speakers' bureau, and information about Eleanor Roosevelt and the United Nations.

UDHR Poster Series and Teacher Guide
by Amnesty International.  The poster series and accompanying curriculum focus on 12 different articles found in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and applies this to a broad range of coursework. Our aim is to encourage teachers from different curriculum areas to incorporate human rights issues in their teaching.

UNESCO's Division of Human Rights, Democracy, Peace & Tolerance
Provides strategies for teaching human rights on an international and regional level.

UNICEF - Voices of Youth
Geared especially towards teachers.  Offers ideas for teaching human rights education.

Universal Rights Network
Contains universal rights activities, focusing on a range of student activities.

The University of Minnesota's Human Rights Resource Center
The U of MN Human Rights Resource Center and Human Rights Library are among the most comprehensive in the nation.  Provides information on all aspects of human rights, including texts of treaties and conventions as well as educational resources.  The Human Rights Education Series features a complete curriculum which can be downloaded.

United Nations – Cyberschoolbus - Global Teaching and Learning Project
The United Nations Cyberschoolbus supplies an abundance of curricular materials on such topics as human rights, health, the environment, and women’s and indigenous rights.  There are also other resources available including UN information, calendar of events, and news. 

World Savvy Monitor
The Monitor is a unique “one-stop shop” for K-12 educators who want to address complex global issues, drawn from hundreds of diverse sources and multiple perspectives. You'll get the background and context to help you understand the issues deeply and from all sides and enhance your ability to bring these issues into your classroom.