A NOTE FOR KIDS FOR GLOBAL PEACE: Here is some information about HUMAN DIGNITY AND HUMANITARIAN LAW that I put together for the American Red Cross in June of 2006. It is everything you will need to know to write a school report or prepare a school verbal presentation about Human Dignity and Humanitarian Law. Because there's a lot of great information for you to use, I added small numbers throughout the text so that you can keep track of where you need to go or where you have been.

Good luck with your assignment!
Joy Berry

The information below is about

_______________________________________ #1 _________________________________________

HUMAN DIGNITY

Because you are a human being, you are valuable. This is true regardless of your:

            age,

            race,

            color,

            sex,

            language,

            religion,

            opinions,

            national, ethnic, or social origin,

            property

            disability

            or other status.

_______________________________________ #2 _________________________________________

Because you are valuable, you have the right to live and maintain your dignity. Your dignity is the condition of being worthy of esteem and respect.

In order to maintain your dignity, you need to be treated with human dignity. This means that you need others to treat you with esteem and respect.

BACK TO THE TOP

_______________________________________ #3 _________________________________________

BEING TREATED WITH HUMAN DIGNITY

Being treated with human dignity requires that others acknowledge and address you respectfully. This means that they need to call you by a name that is acceptable to you.

_______________________________________ #4 _________________________________________

Being treated with human dignity requires that others talk with you respectfully. This means that others cannot say demeaning or degrading things to you. They cannot say things that might demoralize you or cause you to feel or act inferior in any way.

_________________ #5 _________________

Being treated with human dignity requires that others treat you fairly. This means that others cannot treat you as though you are more, or less, deserving than any other person. They must treat you as someone who is equal to every other person.

_______________________________________ #6 _________________________________________

Being treated with human dignity requires that others treat you kindly. This means that others cannot be mean or cruel to you in any way.

_______________________________________ #7 _________________________________________

Being treated with human dignity requires that others do nothing to harm you in any way. This means that they cannot hurt you

            physically,

            mentally,

            emotionally,

            or socially.

_______________________________________ #8 _________________________________________

Being treated with human dignity requires that others do not take, damage or destroy your property.

_______________________________________ #9 _________________________________________

Sometimes you might feel that others are not treating you with human dignity.

As much as possible, you need to avoid being around people who do not treat you with human dignity.

If you cannot avoid being around people who treat you with human dignity, you need to get someone to help you with the situation.

Choose a person you trust. Make sure that it is someone who is old enough and wise enough to help you. It might be a:

            parent,

            guardian

            teacher

            principal

            school counselor

            religious leader

            close relative (such as a grandparent, aunt, or uncle), or

            a trustworthy adult.

If the adult you talk to does not help you, talk to other adults. Keep talking to people until you find someone to help you.

BACK TO THE TOP

_______________________________________ #10 ________________________________________

TREATING OTHERS WITH HUMAN DIGNITY

Like you, every person is valuable and deserves to be treated with human dignity. This is true regardless of a person's

            age,

            race,

            color,

            sex,

            language,

            religion,

            opinions,

            national, ethnic, or social origin,

            property

            disability

            or other status.

_______________________________________ #11 ________________________________________

Treating others with human dignity requires that you acknowledge and address others respectfully. This means that you need to call them by names that are acceptable to them.

_______________________________________ #12 ________________________________________

Treating others with human dignity requires that you talk with others respectfully. This means that you cannot say demeaning or degrading things to others. You cannot say things that might demoralize others or cause them to feel or act inferior in any way.

_______________________________________ #13 ________________________________________

Treating others with human dignity requires that you treat others fairly. This means that you cannot treat another person as though he or she is more, or less, deserving than any other person. You must treat the person as someone who is equal to every other person.

_______________________________________ #14 ________________________________________

Treating others with human dignity requires that you treat others kindly. This means that you cannot be mean or cruel to others in any way.

_______________________________________ #15 ________________________________________

Treating others with human dignity requires that you do nothing to harm others in any way. This means that you cannot hurt others

            physically,

            mentally,

            emotionally,

            or socially.

_______________________________________ #16 ________________________________________

Treating others with human dignity requires that you do not take, damage or destroy the property of others.

_______________________________________ #17 ________________________________________

Sometimes you might encounter another person who is not being treated with human dignity.

When it is possible, you need to encourage the person to avoid being around people who are not treating him or her with human dignity.

If the person cannot avoid being around the people who are being disrespectful, encourage the person to get help.

BACK TO THE TOP

_______________________________________ #18 ________________________________________

HUMAN DIGNITY AND FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS

It is important for you to treat all people with human dignity

            at home,

            at school,

            in your community,

            and throughout the world.

_______________________________________ #19 ________________________________________

An important part of treating all people with human dignity is respecting their fundamental rights.

A fundamental right is a privilege to which all human beings are entitled regardless of their

            nationality,

            race,

            religion, or

            political opinions.

_______________________________________ #20 ________________________________________

Every person's fundamental rights require that he or she should be treated humanely and not be

            murdered,

            enslaved,

            tortured,

            treated cruelly,

            degraded,

            humiliated, or

            discriminated against.

_______________________________________ #21 ________________________________________

These fundamental rights exist at all times, in every part of the world.

However, sometimes people's fundamental rights are ignored.

This is especially true when groups of people cannot resolve their disagreements peacefully.

BACK TO THE TOP

_______________________________________ #22 ________________________________________

THE IMPACT OF WAR ON CHILDREN

Resolving a disagreement by using military weapons to harm enemies or destroy things is called an armed conflict.

War is another word for armed conflict.

Combatants are people who fight in a war.

Civilians are people who do not fight in a war, but are affected by it.

_________________ #23 _________________

In war some combatants disregard the human dignity and fundamental rights of civilians. As a result, civilians are harmed or killed.

During war, combatants sometimes disregard the human dignity and fundamental rights of children.

For example, during war, children are sometimes deprived of necessities, like food, fresh water, and adequate shelter.

Without these necessities it is difficult for children to survive and grow.

_______________________________________ #24 ________________________________________

Sometimes during war, children cannot go to school because it is too dangerous to do so.

Sometimes children cannot go to school because they are required to do other things instead.

Sometimes schools are damaged or destroyed during war.

Children who are prevented from going to school are deprived of their education.

_______________________________________ #25 ________________________________________

Sometimes during war, children become separated from their parents.

This can happen when families are trying to get away from the fighting.

When children are separated from their parents they are deprived of the physical and emotional security that parents provide.

_______________________________________ #26 ________________________________________

Sometimes, children are forced to fight in a war.

Sometimes children are forced to do slave labor to support war efforts.

_______________________________________ #27 ________________________________________

During war, children are sometimes forced to witness horrible things being done to their family or other people.

_______________________________________ #28 ________________________________________

During war, children are sometimes forced to endure horrible things being done to them.

BACK TO THE TOP

_______________________________________ #29 ________________________________________

HUMANITARIAN LAW AND CHILDREN DURING WAR

There are rules that protect the human dignity and fundamental rights of children as well as other civilians during war.

These rules also protect the human dignity and fundamental rights of combatants who are unable to fight because they are wounded, sick, or have been captured.

The rules that protect both civilians and combatants are called International Humanitarian Law.

_________________ #30 _________________

The purpose of International Humanitarian Law is to save lives and lessen suffering during war.

The basic rules of International Humanitarian Law include:

  • Civilians and civilian property must be protected from attack.
  • Civilians, wounded combatants and prisoners must be protected and treated humanely.
  • Medical personnel, hospitals and ambulances must be protected and allowed to help people.

_______________________________________ #31 ________________________________________

International Humanitarian Law is defined and described in detail in international agreements like the Geneva Conventions.

Every country in the world has agreed to follow the rules that are contained in the Geneva Conventions. This means that all combatants everywhere are required to follow the rules.

_______________________________________ #32 ________________________________________

There are special rules in the Geneva Conventions designed to protect every child's human dignity and fundamental rights during war.

These rules include the following:

  • Children must receive the things that are necessary for their survival such as food, clothing and shelter.
  • Children must be able to attend school.
  • Children must be able to practice their religion.
  • Children who are orphaned or separated from their families must be protected and cared for. 
  • Children who are separated from their families must be allowed to communicate with them.
  • Children must be reunited with their families as soon as possible.
  • Children cannot be forced to fight in wars.

BACK TO THE TOP

_______________________________________ #33 ________________________________________

HUMANITARIANISM DURING WAR

A humanitarian is a person who works to:

            protect and preserve human dignity, and

            make sure that people are treated humanely.

Humanitarian organizations are groups of people dedicated to preserving human dignity and helping to assist people in need.

_________________ #34 _________________

The Red Cross is one of many humanitarian organizations around the world that helps people during wars and disasters.

The Red Cross is impartial because it does not treat one person better than another because of the person's nationality, race, religious beliefs, economic resources, or political opinions. 

The Red Cross is neutral because it provides help without taking sides in wars or other disagreements.

Because the Red Cross is impartial and neutral, it helps people solely on the basis of their needs. In addition, the people who have the most urgent needs are helped first.

_______________________________________ #35 ________________________________________

The Red Cross uses a red cross emblem to identify itself.

Sometimes other emblems such as a red crescent, red crystal, or red star of David are used instead of a red cross.

Military medical personnel, hospitals and ambulances also use these emblems.

These emblems let everyone know that the people, vehicles, and facilities displaying them are not part of the fighting. Instead, they are there to provide help, and should not be harmed.

_______________________________________ #36 ________________________________________

The main purpose of the Red Cross in and around war is to assist and protect people affected by the war. The Red Cross accomplishes its purpose in many ways.

The Red Cross provides clean water, food, and medical assistance to people who need these things during and after war.

_______________________________________ #37 ________________________________________

The Geneva Conventions give the Red Cross special responsibilities relating to war.

For example, the International Committee of the Red Cross, based in Switzerland, is responsible for visiting people who are held captive during war to make sure they are being treated humanely.

_______________________________________ #38 ________________________________________

The Red Cross helps reestablish communication among family members separated by a disaster.

_______________________________________ #39 ________________________________________

The Red Cross transmits messages between family members who are separated from each other during war.

It also reunites people (especially children) who are separated from their families during war.

_______________________________________ #40 ________________________________________

The Red Cross teaches people that it is important to respect the rules of International Humanitarian Law so that fewer people suffer because of war.

BACK TO THE TOP

_______________________________________ #41 ________________________________________

BEING A HUMANITARIAN

You can be a humanitarian by getting involved with humanitarian organizations like the Red Cross.

Begin by learning as much as you can about the organization. This includes finding out if there is a local branch of the organization in your community.

_______________________________________ #42 ________________________________________

Share with your parents what you have learned about the humanitarian organization.

Ask their permission to become involved with it.

_______________________________________ #43 ________________________________________

Talk with a representative at the organization's local office.

Ask the person about ways you can help the organization in your community.

___________ #44 ___________

There are several ways that you can help a humanitarian organization.

You can donate money or other resources to the organization.

You can also get other people to donate money to the organization. This is called fundraising.

Many organizations can give you ideas for fundraising efforts.

_______________________________________ #45 ________________________________________

You can help by spreading the word about an organization and its work.

Tell your friends and schoolmates about the organization, and encourage them to become involved with it.

Write letters to community leaders, and encourage them to support the efforts of the organization.

Report any humanitarian stories that you know about to your local newspaper, radio, or TV station.

_______________________________________ #46 ________________________________________

What you do to help a humanitarian organization is important.

But what you do in your everyday life is even more important.

Being a humanitarian begins with the way you treat the people you are with every day.

_______________________________________ #47 ________________________________________

All humanitarians live by the Golden Rule, which is "Treat other people the way you want to be treated."

This means that if you want others to respect your fundamental rights, you will respect their fundamental rights.

And if you want others to treat you with human dignity, you will treat them with human dignity.

BACK TO THE TOP