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Human Rights Day
Reading Comprehension

This is a reading comprehension lesson to test your ability to understand information written in English. Read the information below and then answer the 5 test questions.
Hey if you cannot understand something on this page,
then use the Fun Easy English dictionary (opens in a new window)
Holiday: Human Rights Day

Human Rights Day is celebrated annually across the world on 10 December.

The date was chosen to honor the United Nations General Assembly's adoption and proclamation, on 10 December 1948, of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), the first global enunciation of human rights and one of the first major achievements of the new United Nations. The formal establishment of Human Rights Day occurred at the 317th Plenary Meeting of the General Assembly on 4 December 1950, when the General Assembly declared resolution 423(V), inviting all member states and any other interested organizations to celebrate the day as they saw fit.

The day is normally marked both by high-level political conferences and meetings and by cultural events and exhibitions dealing with human rights issues. In addition, it is traditionally on 10 December that the five-yearly United Nations Prize in the Field of Human Rights and Nobel Peace Prize are awarded. Many governmental and nongovernmental organizations active in the human rights field also schedule special events to commemorate the day, as do many civil and social-cause organizations.

Human rights is the idea that all people should have rights. These rights are seen as universal, which means they are meant for everyone, no matter what their race, religion, ethnicity, nationality, age, sex (also women's rights), political beliefs (or any other kind of beliefs), intelligence, disability, sexual orientation, or gender identity.

The idea of human rights originated from ideas found in religion and philosophy in Western Europe. The modern Western idea of human rights started in the European Enlightenment. In the 16th century, some people started suggesting that everyone had the religious and political right to choose their religion and their leaders. This sort of thinking was important in the English Civil War. After the war, the philosopher John Locke argued that people should have these rights; he was one of the first people to call them "human rights." These ideas were also important in the American revolution and the French revolution in the 18th century.

In the 19th century, John Stuart Mill was an important philosopher who thought about human rights. He said that people should be able to control their own bodies and minds. He talked about three special ideas:
  • freedom of speech
  • freedom of assembly
  • freedom to do what a person wishes if it does not harm others (even if other people think it is bad)
Hegel was a philosopher who talked about the idea of free will. He also talked about what makes a person free: that a person has to have certain relations with other people to have true freedom. A person has to be able to:
  • own property
  • make contracts with other people
  • make moral promises to people
  • live with anyone
  • get protection from laws
  • have a voice in government
Source: Wikipedia: Human Rights Day
Source: Simple Wikipedia: Human rights
From YOUR Teacher: Human Rights

Not everyone agrees on what the basic human rights are. The following is a list of some of the most important basic human rights.
Please post a comment below with your thoughts about Human Rights.
  • Right to privacy
  • Right to live
  • Right to marriage and family
  • To own property
  • Free Speech
  • Safety from violence
  • Equality of both male and female; women's rights
  • Fair trial
  • To be considered innocent until proven guilty
  • To be a citizen of a country
  • To be recognized as a person
  • The right to express his or her sexual orientation
  • To vote
  • To seek asylum if a country treats you badly
  • To think freely
  • To believe and practice the religion a person wants
  • To peacefully protest (speak against) a government or group
  • Health care (medical care)
  • To communicate through a language
  • Not be forced into marriage
  • The right to love and to be loved
  • The right to work
  • The right to express oneself
Test: Reading Comprehension Human Rights

Read the information above. In the test questions below choose which is the best answer for each question. There are 5 questions. Good luck.
1.  Human rights are seen as which of the following?

a.  unimportant
b.  regional
c.  universal
d.  national
2.  The idea of human rights originated from ideas found in which of the following?

a.  constitution
b.  religion and philosophy
c.  bill of rights
d.  magna carta
3.  The modern Western idea of human rights began in which of the following?

a.  Great Depression
b.  Industrial Revolution
c.  European Enlightenment
d.  Declaration of Rights
4.  John Locke was which of the following?

a.  inventor
b.  philosopher
c.  entrepreneur
d.  president
5.  John Stuart Mill talked about three special ideas EXCEPT which of the following?

a.  freedom of speech
b.  freedom of creativity
c.  freedom of assembly
d.  freedom to do what a person wishes if it does not harm others
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