Human rights

Lesson objective

Key question: What are my rights and responsibilities? What are human rights?

(5 minutes)

Whole class discussion

Think of some of the basic human rights that are essential to life as we know it.
      Right to life
      Right not to be tortured
      Freedom from slavery 
      Freedom of speech etc

Anyone know where they started in this country?

Anyone know how these rights are protected in law?

At the end of today’s lesson you will know about some of the principal codes of human rights, how they developed and how they are protected in law. You will also be aware of some current controversial issues. 

Main section

Students will need access to the internet for the main part of the lesson. They should also have the Worksheet with a number of website addresses.

Group activity: groups of four (15 minutes including feedback)

Appoint one person to be the scribe, another to be the spokesman

One group: what parts of the Magna Carta provide a foundation for human rights as we now define them?

A second group: what are the origins of the European Convention on Human Rights and how does the European Court work?

A third group: what are the main differences between the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights and the rights listed in the 1998 Human Rights Act?

Group activity
(15 minutes) 
Work in pairs

Debating points (choose one):

The UK is looking at whether the UK should have its own Bill of Rights.  Study some of the consultation responses and summarise some of the advantages and disadvantages.

The UK is falling foul of the European Court over the matter of prisoners’ right to vote. What is the current position and what do you think about the issue?

The US has come in for much international criticism for depriving terrorist suspects of the right to a fair trial.  Do you think the US is right?  What are the arguments?
(5 minutes)

Brief feedback on each of the points

Work assignment: Expand the work you have just done into a two page response, with documentary evidence.

Plenary close
(10 minutes)

Silent work

As a means of consolidating what we have learnt about human rights do one of two exercises which I will collect as you leave.

With rights go responsibilities


Go through each of the rights covered by the Human Rights Act and list those where you think individuals should recognise limits to their rights.


When plans are announced for a major public demonstration in a city, what controls if any should the police enforce? See pictures of 1984 miners strike at the worksheet reference.

Worksheet Web references on Human Rights
Subject content AQA GCE
Unit 1 CIST1 Identity, Rights and Responsibilities

Key Question: What are my rights and responsibilities?

Lesson plan KS5 - Human rights