It is often said that knowledge is power, and this is especially true when it comes to knowledge of human rights. Simply put, this is the teaching of the history, laws and theories surrounding human rights. There’s a variety of reasons human rights education is important to our children, but here are the most timely ones.
Teaching our children about human rights helps them to become more empathetic. When children learn about the struggles that many people have had to deal with throughout history, and even still today, it will teach them have more consideration for people less fortunate than themselves.
Often times children think they have difficult lives, when in reality they have it easy. When children learn about the struggles that different people have had to deal with throughout history, it will likely teach them to be more thankful for the things they have in life.
3. Reality Checks
Though most of us in the western world live in far freer countries than so many in developing states, we are not immune to human rights abuses. Many of us are beholden to infringements of free speech on a daily basis, for example. Most people don’t realize the dangerous steps that governments often take when they feel threatened that have real consequences on the freedoms of everyday people until they formally learn about it.
That said, we are still lucky enough to have many freedoms. If we want to be sure that these rights are upheld, we must do certain things to protect them. When children learn about human rights, they will be more willing to take the actions needed to protect themselves (or fight for others who lack them).
Learning about human rights also involves learning about different cultures. Our world is full of people of different cultures and backgrounds and when children learn about human rights, they will also learn about the ways that people from different cultures and backgrounds live and feel about beliefs we take for granted.
It’s worth remembering that human rights education isn’t just appropriate for environmentalists, hippies and activists. Courses on human rights are extremely beneficial for professionals from all over the employment spectrum – lawyers, doctors, businesspersons, etc should all have at least a general knowledge of this discipline so that they can keep a “check” on those in their fields who so often abuse or forget them.
Human rights are rights that every person should receive regardless of their race, age, sexual orientation, nationality, religion, age or appearance. When we teach our children about the theories, laws and history of human rights, we are helping them become better citizens of the world. Human rights education is very important if we want to make our world a better place for everyone who inhabits it.
Jessica Brocka writes about education and human rights. Her recent work is titled How Do I Become a Social Worker?