The curriculum Competing Visions of Human Rights: Questions for U.S. Policy draws students into the debate on the role of human rights in U.S. policy. Through readings and activities students explore the history of international human rights and consider various options for defining and protecting rights.

Videos for Readings: The videos below follow the outline of the printed curriculum unit. The headings correspond to the headings in the student readings.

Videos for Lessons accompany lessons in the teacher's guide of the printed curriculum unit.

Scholars Online: Videos for Readings

Competing Visions of Human Rights: Questions for U.S. Policy


Susan Allee
Brown University


Paulo Sérgio Pinheiro
Brown University

David Kennedy
David Kennedy
Brown University

David Kennedy
Dennis Davis
High Court of South Africa

David Kennedy
Anthony Bogues
Brown University


Michael Vorenberg Brown University


Sarah Leah Whitson
Human Rights Watch


James Green
Brown University


P. Terrence Hopmann
Brown University

Steve Hamburg
Steve Hamburg
Brown University


Tanya Monforte
American University


Ricardo Lagos
Former President of Chile

nunn
Amy Nunn
Brown University

Introduction: What are Human Rights?

What are human rights? [Susan Allee - 2:12]

What are human rights? [Paulo Sérgio Pinheiro - 1:14]

Part I: A Brief History of Human Rights

How has the human rights movement evolved to include social, economic, and cultural rights? [Dennis Davis - 2:15]

What is the significance of the American, French, and Haitian Revolutions? [Anthony Bogues – 1:48]

How did the U.S. Constitution exclude certain groups? [Michael Vorenberg - 2:56]

Early Developments in Human Rights

What is the relationship between international human rights law and state sovereignty? [Dennis Davis – 2:03]

World War II

Why is the Genocide Convention significant? [David Kennedy - 2:39]

The Birth of the United Nations

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights

How does membership in the UN promote human rights? [Susan Allee - 1:14]

The Cold War and Decolonization

Part II: Human Rights in Practice

The Role of National Governments

How can the UN and other international organizations prevent human rights abuses? [Paulo Sérgio Pinheiro - 1:21]

The United Nations

What is the UN authorized to do when human rights are violated? [Paulo Sérgio Pinheiro - 1:44]

What is the UN doing in Myanmar? [Paulo Sérgio Pinheiro – 1:50]

Other Promoters of Human Rights

International Courts

How are international courts becoming more important in addressing human rights abuses? [Dennis Davis – 1:48]

In 2009, the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for Sudan's president. Why is this a challenge to human rights law? [Dennis Davis – 2:57]

Nongovernmental Organizations

How does Human Rights Watch promote human rights? [Sarah Leah Whitson – 1:07]

What challenges do human rights activists face? [Sarah Leah Whitson – 1:01]

Social Movements

How did the international community respond to news of torture in Brazil? [James Green – 1:47]

Current Challenges

What is globalization? [P. Terrence Hoppman - 1:48]

What are other pressing global environmental problems? [Steven Hamburg - 1:31]

U.S. Human Rights Policy

What is a reservation to a treaty? [Tanya Monforte – 1:16]

Why do states make reservations to human rights treaties? [Tanya Monforte – 1:44]

What is the U.S. track record on human rights? [Dennis Davis – 3:09]

How does U.S. policy influence human rights around the world? [Sarah Leah Whitson – 1:56]

Part III: Case Studies in Human Rights

Balancing Rights—Freedom of Expression

How can human rights law prioritize some rights over others? [Dennis Davis – 1:05]

The Right to Health—Brazil

Why did Brazil enact a new constitution in 1988? [Paulo Sérgio Pinheiro – 1:46]

How has Brazil been successful in fighting HIV/AIDS? [James Green – 1:30]

What role did public action play in the Brazilian health movement? [Amy Nunn – 1:09]

How did Brazilian activists promote their agenda? [Amy Nunn – 1:55]

How did the international community respond to Brazil's HIV/AIDS policies? [Amy Nunn – 1:56]

What challenges does Brazil face in providing the right to health for its citizens? [Amy Nunn – 1:15]

What can other countries learn from Brazil's experience with the right to health? [Amy Nunn – 1:16]

Why should high school students learn about Brazil and the right to health? [Amy Nunn – 1:37]

Universal Rights?—The Rights of Children

How are the rights of children addressed in international law? [Tanya Monforte – 1:30]

Do different cultures have different understandings of human rights? [Sarah Leah Whitson – 1:07]

Do different cultures have different understandings of human rights? [Tanya Monforte – 0:43]

International Justice—Augusto Pinochet and Chile

What is universal jurisdiction? [Dennis Davis – 3:11]

Who was Augusto Pinochet and why is he an important figure in Chilean history? [Ricardo Lagos – 1:28]

Why was the arrest of Pinochet a topic of international controversy? [Ricardo Lagos – 2:59]

What was the significance of the arrest and prosecution of Pinochet for Chile? [Ricardo Lagos - 1:51]

How do truth and reconciliation commissions help societies come to terms with past human rights abuses? [Dennis Davis – 2:08]

What are the limitations of truth and reconciliation commissions? [Dennis Davis - 2:33]

Military Intervention for Human Rights—Kosovo

Why is there a tension between state sovereignty and international law? [David Kennedy – 1:20]

How did NATO’s intervention in Bosnia set a precedent? [Susan Allee – 1:23]

When do human rights abuses become genocide? [Susan Allee – 2:25]

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