Life skills

Human rights and social and emotional lssues

Young people around the world are learning about human rights and demonstrating their commitment to ensuring that these rights are met.  These young people act as a powerful force for change in their own households, in the lives of their peers, and in the community.  To continue the momemtum, young people need adequate information, skills, motivation and inspiration to undertake the action needed to make respect for human rights become a reality for all.  When applied to the issue of Human Rights and Social Issues, life skills can enable students to:

  • identify discrimination and injustice in society (e.g., critical thinking, problem solving, decision making)
  • resist pressure from peers and adults to perpetuate discrimination (e.g., problem solving, decision making, critical thinking, coping with stress, coping with emotions, communication skills, interpersonal relationship skills )
  • help prevent human rights abuses in their community (e.g., problem solving, decision making, communication skills, coping with emotions)
  • advocate for rights (e.g., self awareness, problem solving, decision making, critical thinking, coping with stress, coping with emotions, communication skills, interpersonal relationship skills)
  • reduce prejudice and increase tolerance for diversity (e.g., critical thinking, coping with stress, coping with emotions, communication skills, interpersonal relationship skills)

For more information about human rights education, see:

HIV/AIDS and Human Rights: A Kit of Ideas for Youth Organizations. UNESCO, UNAIDS.

Girls, HIV/AIDS and Education.  UNICEF paper.

UNAIDS Documents on Human Rights, Ethics and Law

UNAIDS Document on Gender and HIV/AIDS

The Amnesty International (UK) and the Amnesty International (USA) Human Rights Education websites are dedicated to helping people learn about human rights as a first step toward respecting, promoting and defending those rights.  Teaching guides, materials and lesson plans are included.

Curriculum Change and Social Cohesion.  Case study analyses of curriculum-making with a peacebuilding approach.  UNESCO-International Bureau of Education.

The Global Campaign for Peace Education site includes a section on curricula for: Human Rights and Development.  Also see The Hague Appeal for Peace for peace education lesson plans for primary and secondary school.

Exploring Humanitarian Law (EHL) is an educational programme for young people. Its objective is to introduce adolescents to the basic rules of international humanitarian law (IHL) and to help them embrace principles of humanity in their daily lives and the way they assess events at home and abroad. The course content of EHL consists of five core modules each of which takes approximately four academic hours to work through. The resource materials included in the Exploring Humanitarian Law pack are a binder of teacher and student materials, a student video, a methodology guide, a teacher training video, an implementation guide and a glossary. ICRC, 2001.  publication ref. 0791  Also see an overview of additional ICRC communication programmes for young people.

The UNESCO Human Rights website has information and publications on education for Human Rights, Democracy, Tolerance and Peace. Also, the UNESCO Human Rights Education page includes a list of selected Civics Education Materials.

Teaching Tools, UNHCR.  The units and their lessons are arranged in subject categories (including a section on human rights), and are designed for three age groups (9-11, 12-14 and 15-18).  A major aim of the tool is to help students develop the personal and social skills necessary to live in harmony with others and to behave in positive and caring ways that respect basic human rights.

Related Documents

Principles to Guide Programming for Orphans and other Children Affected by HIV/AIDS. UNAIDS Best Practice collection.
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