Learning Experience 6: Core Rights

Learning Goal: Defining Core Rights.




• Icebreakers for the Classroom
• Philip Alston core rights: “the right to life, freedom from torture, freedom from arbitrary arrest and detention, the right to be presumed innocent, the right to privacy, freedom of movement, the right to property, freedom of thought, conscience, and religion, freedom of expression, freedom of assembly and association, and the right to participate in government (Clément, 7).
• Philip Alston, “A Framework for the Comparative Analysis of Bills of Rights,” in Promoting Human Rights through Bills of Rights: Comparative Perspectives, ed. Philip Alston (New York: Oxford University Press, 1999), 2).
• Do you agree that these should be the core rights? Would you add anything else? Would you delete anything?


• Post the following information from the Canadian Human Rights Commission about the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms:
The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms of 1982 is part of Canada’s Constitution. The Charter protects every Canadian’s right to be treated equally under the law. The Charter guarantees broad equality rights and other fundamental rights such as the freedom of expression, freedom of assembly and freedom of religion. It only applies to governments, and not to private individuals, businesses or other organizations. This means that for the most part, a person cannot mount a Charter challenge against a private business, a private organization, or a person who is not acting on behalf of the government. The Charter also protects the rights of all Canadians from infringements by laws, policies or actions of governments, including authorities such as the police.
• In thinking about Core Rights and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, have students work in groups of 3-4 to respond to the topics listed below. Students can respond in a variety of ways: by writing a one-page report, preparing a short presentation for the class, recording a video debate, etc.
1. Canadians are better off today than they were before 1982.
2. Every Canadian citizen should exercise the right to vote.
3. Diversity is important to Canadians.
4. In a time of national crisis, freedoms may need to be limited.
5. Everyone should have the right to express personal thoughts and beliefs.
6. Canadian law is applied to everyone equally.
7. Rights must have reasonable limits.
8. We are too complacent about our rights and freedoms.
Source: Fundamental Freedoms: The Charter of Rights and Freedoms


Students will take the quiz below:
Teaching Human Rights in Ontario: A Guide for Ontario Schools
(Quiz on pg. 78 - How well do you know your rights?)