Unit 2: How it works

  • All participants are given a selection of human rights on”paper strips” (see below, cut it beforehand). It is a good idea to sit at a table, as the snippets will be used later. Otherwise it is also possible to work on the floor. A short introductory statement on human rights makes sense here: Who has ever heard of human rights? What are human rights? To whom do they apply?
  • Every single human right is first explained (include participants*, otherwise it will be boring: “What do you think human rights XYZ mean? What does it mean for you? What are you allowed to do with it?”). → (Important to introduce the method to the group and to internalize the human rights, but do not to spend too much time on it).

“We will now do a simulation. I would like to ask you from now on not to speak any more and also not to exchange any information with eachother. It is important that you do the simulation on your own. You cannot do anything wrong. Please create a ranking for yourself. The human right, which is most important to you, will be placed at the top, the least important at the bottom. Just decide according to your feeling. There is no right or wrong. It is also possible that your ranking might change again during the simulation.” (max. 5 min. time).

“Now I would like you to give me one of your human rights. You can decide which one.”

There will be a protest, discomfort, resistance from the participants. In the next rounds the participants have to give more and more human rights away. During the simulation they will try to discuss about it again and again. As an instructor you have to stay strict, play the dispatcher and make sure that each participant gives the required number of human rights.

In this order the following number of human rights is given away: 1 – 2 – 3 – 3 – 1 (one right will be left. They may keep this one).

Tip: The instructors should check from time to time what human right they are being given and give the participant feedback on what this means for them, e.g:

  • “I may now simply have you arrested without reason. Simply because I feel like it and I don’t like your sweater.”
  • “I can now take away from you everything you have, everything you own.”
  • “I can now decide where have to live, for example in a ghetto on the outskirts of town.“
  • Which ranking did you set at the beginning and why?
  • Did your ranking change during the simulation? How?
  • What strategy did you develop when you handed in the human rights?
  • How was it for you to hand in your first human right in the beginning and how was it now at the end?
  • What did you remember most? What other thoughts are going through your head?
  • Why do you think we did this method with you? What should you keep in mind? Or what do you keep in mind?
  • “The method is – as I explained at the beginning – a game. There is indeed a human right that wins. When you kept this human right, you will get back all the other human rights you have given away. Can you imagine which one that is and why? What is the last human right that you kept?”
  • (Resolution: If a person has kept the human right “right to asylum”, that person has “won”. Because with this human right he can flee from the oppressive regime of the leaders* and get back all human rights in another country).