On Saturday November 10th we joined the CISV Denmark group of human rights educators for a workshop at Amnesty International. We had a great time and were subject to both violations and simulations of human rights as well as a clear introduction to international human rights documents and institutions.

At arrival we were greeted in a rather hostile manner by a strict lady (Julie, which later proved to be a nice person) telling us to sign a document taking away all our rights during the time spent with Amnesty. We were given a button with a number and told to hang our clothes on the corresponding numbered hanger. As CISV’ers we quickly understood that we were subject to a simulation game…though nevertheless a bit nervous about what was going on.

After receiving some information about the workshop we entered the ‘class room’. The chairs were numbered as well and we had to find ‘our’ chair. Rune guided us through the very birth of the Human Rights institutions of the United Nations. Using a ‘prezi-presentation’ (fancier powerpoint) he took us to the period of 1945-1948 when the first work on a UN Human Rights document took place. We got to know the different committee members, what their positions were and how they worked together creating a UN Declaration of Human Rights. For me at least, this session made the human rights documents less abstract. Parallell to Rune’s presentation, Julie continued her simulation activity calling out numbers (people) and violating their rights. One us had to sit on the floor for the rest of the presentation. Another was physically muted and hence not able to speek her mind. It was a nice touch, putting the presentation in a very clear and practical context. After the presentation we were divided into two groups, where the smaller group sat down around a fancy table with drinks and appetizers, the bigger group (my group) had to stand behind a curtain without making a sound while eating only plain crackers. This activity would probably have had a larger effect if we had not been CISV’ers. With the activity being rather similar to the ‘rich’n poor’ activity many of us have done and facilitated at CISV camps, we pretty much knew what was going on.

After some non-verbal activities and energizers we headed out for lunch, all of us, at a nearby restaurant where we enjoyed a diverse buffet…

Returning to Amnesty’s HQ after lunch we were again divided into two groups and we spent the remaining hours discussing and prioritizing the rights of our ‘ideal-society’. We also looked closer at the Declaration of Human Rights and presented a new draft of its Article 1. Before heading out to the Scandinavian cold we evaluated the day together. The insight gained about the drafting process at the UN were appreciated. The simulations were good, but due to us being CISV’ers we agreed that they might have had a bigger impact on other groups. As proper CISV’ers it was also argued in favor of a larger amount of energizers.


Click the pictures for slideshow:)