Human Rights on Trial

Oct 17, 2018
Human rights, a concept that we so often pay lip service to, but what are they really?
So often, we take for granted the fact that we have the freedom to speak our minds without any negative repercussions, to pursue our dreams without being hindered by bigotry and prejudice.
Yet, these rights, no matter how seemingly self-evident as a necessary prerequisite of the human experience are often overlooked and unfortunately unacknowledged.  

Today, there are over 40 million people working in some form of slavery.  That’s more people than in the entirety of Malaysia. This number doesn’t even begin to take into account those who are subjected to inhumane working conditions, either because of lack of communication, inability to enforce policies, or simply, general indifference to the plight of the poor.

On October 12, 2018, our Year 9 Learners put humanity on the witness stand, as part of our Citizens of the World Unit, embarking on the difficult endeavour of holding multinational corporations including Nestle, H&M, Nike, Palm Oil, and Coca Cola accountable for human rights abuses.  They thoroughly investigated the issues, gathering a multitude of perspectives and acknowledging diametrically opposed viewpoints to shed light on just how the aforementioned companies treat their workers, either knowingly, or simply through ignorance regarding how their partners conduct business behind closed doors.   

Our Year 9 Learners assumed the roles of both defense and prosecution attorneys as well as accompanying witnesses, utilizing factual information, gathered from diligent research on both sides of the issue, in order to determine whether or not multinational corporations are doing enough to preserve the invaluable human rights afforded us by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, or whether they are simply offering superficial solutions to perpetuate a status quo that ultimately offers gaping loopholes for human rights abuses.

After careful, thoughtful, and balanced deliberation, our Year 9 Learners determined that, although many multinational corporations are taking steps in the right direction, ultimately they are failing to provide safe and secure working environments that embrace the ideals espoused in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

As with all the units that we have carefully considered to embed into our Humanities curriculum, the Citizens of the World Unit offers unique opportunities for our learners to come face to face with omnipresent and highly relevant world issues in authentic educational environments and to develop their global mindedness and critical thinking, all while honing their skill set to address pressing contemporary issues, that undoubtedly prepare them to be conscientious, empathetic and well-informed citizens of the world.

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