Human Rights – Your Rights?

Goal 16: Peace, Justice and strong Institutions


The students end up on a deserted island – and have to define their most important rights based on the articles in the World Declaration of Human Rights.

A readily available roleplay that doesn´t require technical resources or any prior knowledge of the students. Furthermore, only a limited preparation is needed before starting up the roleplay.


Social Science Studies




                Native language

stopwatch1-2 hours

circular-line-with-word-age-in-the-center13 – 21 years old

group-of-three-men-standing-side-by-side-hugging-each-other2 by 2 and plenum


Learning objectives

  • Increase the knowledge of the World Declaration of Human Rights
  • Improve the ability to make decisions
  • Improve student´s argument skills
  • Increase the knowledge of the Global Goals 2016.

Behavioural competences



Society reflection

Lifelong learning key competences

Social and civic competences


Paper or print of appendix, writing tools – if necessary smart board / projector. Access to UNDP´s website on the Global Goals.


Read through the instructions. If necessary, elaborate the history and set the stage to increase the student´s empathy.

Video suggestions to introduce the goal/theme:

How Does The UN Work? (3:50 min.)

How Effective Is The United Nations? (2:46 min.)

How Powerful Is The United Nations? (2:52 min.)


Stage 1: The stage is set

(If you wish to set a stage in a vivid manner, the light can be turned off and a sound sequence of e.g. a thunderstorm can be played – or a short video clip of a shipwreck displayed on the smart board)
The teacher says:
“You are now aboard a ship (the students walk around each other) – unfortunately a terrible storm is coming, chaos occur and sadly it ends with a shipwreck. Luckily everyone aboard are safely ashore on an island, yet spread across the island in pairs” (the students get together in pairs).

Stage 2: How can you live together in peace?

Fortunately there is both fresh water and food, but soon you discover a necessity to agree on a few general rules in order to live together without serious conflicts. You decide to take on the UN World Declaration of Human Rights (Appendix 1 – read through the articles in the declaration), adopted in 1948 as a consequence of the Second World War and the need for peaceful relations. Discuss and identify in pairs, the 3 most crucial Articles that should be the basis for your statement – and of course the reasons for the specific choices (to be written down –Appendix 2).

Stage 3: You reconcile

It turns out that the island is not very big and all of you discover the spot on the island with the most favorable conditions. It feels great to finally be reunited, more hands mean plenty of help and you can take advantage of each other´s resources. Yet, more people increase the risk of disagreements. You each present different statements for peace and coexistence. But are they identical to each other? Each group presents their ideas and justifications and finally discusses the 3 Articles that were found the most important for the group. Possibly a reformulation or additions to the existing articles are required, but aim at making them as short and precise as possible.

Stage 4: The declaration is adopted

You are probably still hoping for a passing ship to catch a sight of you and take you to the civilization you come from but until then, you need to agree on your declaration, write it down and hang it on the wall, with hopes of coexisting peacefully and in respect for each other.
Should all of you be saved, I do not doubt that your declaration will be universal enough to guideline wherever in the world you end up.


Complete the reflection work sheet connected to goal number 16.
The first part of the work sheet is to be completed before class, but the remaining parts are to be used for summing up and evaluating the theme in class.

Follow up suggestions

Look at the other exercises connected to goal number 16 – Peace, Justice and strong Institutions

Print Outs

Declaration of Human Rights



Reflection Sheet