Lesson plans for ages 12-14 in Human Rights and Refugees: Rights, Responsibilities and Refugees


This Christian woman fled from Baghdad to Iraqi Kurdistan two months ago with her husband and children  ©  UNHCR/K.Brooks


No one likes or chooses to be a refugee. To be a refugee means more than being simply a foreigner. It means living in exile. According to the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, a refugee is a person who "owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality, and is unable to or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country".

This unit has several aims: to help students understand that people become refugees because their basic human rights have been violated in their own countries; to familiarize students with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights; to understand why such a declaration was drawn up at the time and its continued relevance. While working through this unit, students will also learn that it is the responsibility of the international community to recognize and ensure that refugees are able to enjoy their basic human rights.