Step 3

Looking at rights and responsibilities and how rights can be ‘claimed’


  • To introduce and explore the idea of responsibilities that go with rights – who is responsible for protecting and promoting rights.
  • To identify how individuals/groups can go about claiming rights.

Activity 8 – Rights and responsibilities

In small groups of 3 or 4, ask each participant to identify 3 examples of who they feel is responsible for promoting and protecting human rights.

In the larger group take the feedback, listing all those identified as responsible for promoting and protecting Human Rights.

Some examples may include: the Gardai, the courts, voluntary organisations, etc. Stimulate the discussion by asking the following questions:

  • Can you think of other groups – e.g., women’s groups? Journalists? Young people? The army?
  • Can you think of any laws that may promote rights, e.g., Laws protecting property, children’s rights, internet use, what is said in the newspapers? Etc.
  • Does the Irish Constitution have a role?
  • Does the community have a role?
  • Do YOU have a role?

Outcome: to stimulate participant thinking and understanding of structures and procedures with responsibilities for upholding and protecting rights.

Activity 9 – Claiming Rights

  • In the large group ask participants to brainstorm some examples of situations where individuals/groups can claim their rights. For example, women’s groups? Trade Unions? Minority groups? Etc.
  • Discuss the feedback and focus particularly on how people ‘claim’ those rights, for e.g., through speaking out, lobbying politicians, taking legal action, publicising issues, etc.
  • Make a general list of the ways in which people can claim rights.
  • Ask participants to try to identify some of the structures and institutions through which rights are claimed and upheld, courts, UN Declaration of Human Rights, Human Rights organisations such as Amnesty International, etc.
  • Explore how citizens can go about claiming their rights, what they need to know, where they need to go and what they need to do.

Outcome: to explore the idea of rights ‘claiming’ and the structures/procedures currently in place for claiming rights.

Activity 10 – Evaluation

  • Ask each individual to think of 3 key points that they learned during the sessions and what they might think about differently or do differently as a result.
  • Ask them to share their answers in small groups.
  • Get feedback from each group and list the key outcomes of the discussions.