Culture and HR Lesson 4 Global Issues in Human Rights: Torture
Culture and HR Lesson 4 Global Issues in Human Rights: Torture

This lesson focuses on a central issue in human rights: the use of violence by the state, and how different cultural perspectives can complicate notions of universal human rights.

Relevant Learning Objectives
1 Identify and describe the main instruments and mechanisms of the international human rights regime, and the global causes to which these instruments respond.
2. Discuss the relation between culture, humanity, and rights.
3. Discuss the problems of cultural universality and diversity in regards to implementing human rights at the international, national, and local scales.
4. Understand the global significance and controversies of human rights in the 21st century.


Possible Classroom Activities

  • Culture and HR Lesson 4 Introduction (0) Start class with one of the Daily Show clips and then examine the UN definitions of torture.
  • Culture and HR Lesson 4 Convention Against Torture (0) Time: 30 minutes Skills: Holistic Thinking and Cross-Cultural Communications Objectives 1, 2, 3 and 4 Related Resources: -  An-Na’im Article Summary - An-Na’im, A. A. (1992) “Toward a Cross-Cultural Approach to Defining International Standards of Human Rights: The Meaning of Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.” Pp. 19- 44 in Human Rights in Cross-Cultural Perspectives: A Quest for Consensus. ...
  • Culture and HR Group Debate Activity (0) Split the entire class into 2 groups. Based on the readings, debate when is it okay for governments to torture people.
  • Culture and HR Poster Presentation (0) The instructor should give the following instructions: You are member of the Committee Against Torture. Create a poster campaign to convince the people of Pakistan (or choose another country that has not ratified the agreement) to convince them to join the CAT.
  • Culture and Human Rights Lesson 4 Reflection (0) Ask the class, if the discussions/activities have changed their perspective on torture and why.


Optional Resources


Next: Culture and HR Lesson 5 Global Issues in Human Rights: Women and Children