School children learn about human rights

About a hundred school children learnt about human rights through interactive sessions and games in two workshops held at the UN Information Centre (UNIC) in Islamabad on 21 and 22 February.

Students from Mashal Model School, International Grammar School, Roots School System and those associated with the Society for the Protection of the Rights of the Child (SPARC) participated in the workshops organized by UNIC in collaboration with the High Commission of Canada.

The distinguishing feature of these workshops was the diversity of participants: not only did they belong to different ethnic, cultural and class backgrounds, around a half of them were street children, who worked after school hours.

For each workshop, students between the ages of 11 and 14 were divided into groups. Together with trainers from the High Commission of Canada, UNIC and SPARC, they explored what it means to be human and what is needed to enhance, protect and develop the abilities that define a human being. This was followed by a discussion on what is meant by ‘rights’.

The central message of these workshops was: human rights belong to all people regardless of their sex, race, color, language, national origin, age, class, religion, or political beliefs. Students learned several important concepts like dignity, equality, diversity, survival and universality of rights in the 90 minute workshops.

In his opening remarks, Vittorio Cammarota, Director UNIC, spoke to the children about how ideas associated with human rights can be translated into concrete action. James Clark from the High Commission of Canada highlighted the multiculturalism in his country and how it is associated with human rights. Specialists from SPARC and UNDP also talked about the importance of knowing one’s rights.

See photo story of Human Rights for Children workshops here.

See a short video feature on Human Rights for Children workshops here.