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Foto: Gayatri Malhotra on Unsplash

The others in history and today

Which minority group have been discriminated against in history? Which groups are being discriminated against today?

Photo: Gayatri Malhotra on Unsplash

Quick facts

Human rights • Culture and identity
Youth school • High school • Adult education • Organizations and others
Ca 1 hours
Materials: Large sheets of paper. Markers.

Activity goals

  • Reflect on discrimination today and in history.
  • Learn about the anti-discrimination principle.
Activity from, an online manual on intercultural understanding, ethics and human rights to be used by teachers and students in journalism education.
  • Define the words "minority" and "discrimination".
  • Divide the participants into four groups. The task for the groups is to identity minority groups that have been discriminated against in history or are being discriminated against today.
  • The groups shall list the minority groups on a big sheet of paper and reflect upon the different forms for discrimination: Has (or is) the discrimination been “authorized” by state authorities or not? Each group will work with one of these minority groups:
    1. Minority groups that have been discriminated against internationally in history
    2. Minority groups that have been discriminated against in your own country in history
    3. Minority groups that are discriminated against today internationally
    4. Minority groups that are discriminated against today in your own country
  • The groups will present their work in the plenary. A good tip is to let the groups that have worked with discrimination in history present their work first and end with today's discrimination.
  • The presentations will show that discrimination that took place in history, to a greater extent was authorized by state authorities. Today most countries have ratified human rights treaties that prohibit discrimination.


  • What can state authorities do to prevent discrimination? Do you know about good examples?


At the core of international human rights we find the non-discrimination principle. Article 2 in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) reads:

Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.

This non-discrimination principle is also found in all the international legally binding human rights treaties (often called covenants or conventions). By becoming parties to the treaties, the states assume obligations and duties to respect, protect and fulfil the human rights that are written down as articles in the documents.