The Universal Declaration of Human Rights brought the concept of “Human Rights” in the realm of international law. Human rights claim the protection of rights and fundamental freedom of every individual or groups, irrespective of caste, creed, sex, race or age. Cambridge quotes human rights as the “the basic rights to fair and moral treatment that every person is believed to have.”
Human rights are inalienable, indivisible and interdependent. Post World War II; there was economic, social and political distress all over the world. They have protected the discrimination of many groups that have been in practice for a long time. It has gradually expanded to every section of people around the world and protected the rights of women, children, minorities, disabled and other vulnerable groups.
Finally, human rights safeguard life, liberty, equality, and security against the abuse by the dominant sections of society. Knowledge and proper practice of human rights help us fight against the odds and overcome terrible situations which we come across in our daily life.
The 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child has given specific rights to children under the age of 18.
Every kid must teach human rights regardless of who they are, where they belong or what their identity is. Although human rights for children are in place as per the strict vigilance of governments around the world, not many a kid is introduced to its concept until they are much older. Human right must be taught at every school in every country in the World.
Children often acquire the cultures they are in and learn most of their habits and ideas from their parents, teachers and other influential elders around them. That is why; every parent must introduce the concept of human rights to their kids so that they can pass it on and lead a better future than their predecessors.
Why your kid should know about human rights?
Making your kid aware of his rights and freedom is a significant task parent must adopt. They too have some birthrights that can’t be taken away from them.
They should be nurtured in an environment that prohibits them from causing any sort of oppression, both emotional and physical, on others as they grow up; they should not only learn their rights, but also the rights of human beings as a whole.
It is a well-known fact that people, who are known to oppress others, are unfortunately a product of their own culture and upbringing. In the past, it was socially acceptable to do certain things to a particular group of people. Be it the subhuman treatment of African slaves in the western world, or even the social eviction of specific casts and classes in India and other Asian countries; all these actions of oppression were deemed a social norm in the past. As such, the kids growing up in those eras believed them to be a common social practice and soon took up the habit that has been passed down through generations.
It is not to say that the culture and environment is the sole cause for children growing up to be oppressors themselves; human intentions and malice cannot be taken away as essential factors as well. But even without ill intentions, a bad habit acquired during childhood significantly contributes towards a person’s actions and personality in the future.
There are a few features we should teach kids about Human Rights to know, for them to become tolerant and compassionate when they grow up.
• It is for everyone
• It is protected by law
• It is internationally guaranteed
• It focuses on the well being and dignity of each human being
• It protects the rights and liberty of the individuals and groups
• It cannot be taken away
Interpretation of children’s rights ranges from allowing your kid the capacity for autonomous actions and making them physically, mentally, emotionally free from abuse. But if we look at it closely, it is similar to rights for adults as well. If we exercise rights towards our children properly, they will be able to question a lot of things in their way.
It would further allow them to learn right from wrong through their actions. There is a saying that experience is the best teacher. So, no matter how much we talk to our kids about Human Rights, it would be but mere words for them if they do not experience the practicality of those teachings.
How teaching kids about Human Rights can be a good thing
We have already discussed how teaching kids about Human Rights can be beneficial towards their upbringing. But that isn’t the only thing that can be considered a pro in this matter.
Not only would learning about Human Rights help them be a better person, but it would also contribute towards developing a better society for the future generations.
Throughout history, we have seen that wars have been waged due to differences. It is a basic animal instinct to be wary of change. That is why; people have alienated continuously others that were unknown to them. Societies were rife with prejudices against people who differ regarding skin color, class, culture, religion, and even thought. But we have come a long way in the last ten thousand years of civilization.
Man is undoubtedly an animal of nature, but one that holds enough intelligence to justify the instincts that they inherit. It is essential for us to question the prejudices that were prevalent in societies of the past; to relegate the effect of fear on our judgment and behavior. It is essential that we impart this crucial bit of knowledge to our kids through Human Rights education.
Also, we have come this far as a civilization, not by riding piggyback on the social prejudices, but rather breaking out of the conservative social shackles. Science is responsible for the comfortable lifestyles of today. And it is this same scientific thought that has taught us to question things and not take it as is. It is true that nothing changes without conflict. But it is not the bullets fired that changes things in a positive way.
Instead, it is through civilized dialogues and logical arguments that we go forward. Consciousness about human rights would never have happened if sure people had not accepted the oppressed for being who they are and tried to understand their side of the story. It is through compassion and understanding that we get to see both sides of the coin. Furthermore, it helps us overcome the differences that have caused conflict and chaos.
If you look at it this way, there are specific life lessons that we all are to abide by to be better. And these are just the same lessons we teach our children to become better as well. So why do we make some exceptions in certain other cases? It is because we have accepted a lot of things in our society without questioning them.
Teaching about Human Rights gives us an insight into things that we never bothered to look into before.
If we expose our kids to such teaching at a growing age, then it is bound to affect their outlook towards life as a whole. Think about it; a world where we accepted people for their differences. Wouldn’t it be better to learn something from other cultures rather than shunning it for being ‘weird’?
Wouldn’t it be better to exchange ideas and evolve our civilization into something more every day? Then why do we waste time protesting our differences when we can try them out first?
That is the sort of teaching that will help our children to focus more on the development and less on social prejudices. By teaching kids human rights, we enable them to have a choice. Whether to dedicate time towards making the world better or to wasting time on oppressive activities that will lead to nowhere. After all, the most progress has been made in the last 100 years, when we as a society have focused more on our development.
We can choose to teach our children about their rights that they have the foresight to think freely and become more tolerant. Or, we can want to ignore it and risk them becoming the same prejudiced people who burnt progressive thinking people at stake and called them witches.