English Reading Practice

Human Right Number 5:
No Torture

1. Watch the video at the top of the page.

2. Read the story "No Torture" just below it.

3. Do the exercise at the bottom of the page.

Here is the No Torture video. You can watch it in your own language at www.youthforhumanrights.org. (Simply click the word "language" at the top of their homepage.)

(Torture is causing someone great mental or physical suffering.)

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights describes 30 basic rights that each person has, simply because he or she is human.

This is human right number 5 (the simplified version):

"5. No Torture. No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment."

Now read the short story about this important human right.

No Torture 

Clay and his friends have a new teacher. His name is Mr. Akers. When they meet Mr. Akers for the first time, he seems very serious. He tells them that he knows bad things about them from other teachers. He tells them that with him it will be different.

Clay and his friends do not understand. Yes, they can do silly things sometimes, but they are not bad kids.

During the school year, Mr. Akers turns out to be a very different teacher. He has "special methods."

If a student fails an exam, Mr. Akers makes fun of them in front of everyone.

If a student does not know the answer to a question, Mr. Akers calls them names.

If a student asks too many questions, Mr. Akers simply laughs and turns his back.

Many students feel upset. They try to talk with Mr. Akers, but it seems that he gives them no respect. They feel that they are treated as if they have no value. They start to lose their own self-respect.

Some stop listening in class. Others even stop coming to class. A few get very mad at the teacher. They cannot show their anger openly, so they do it secretly.

One time the teacher's desk is found broken. Another time the board is all sprayed. Mr. Akers sees this and everything becomes even worse.

Clay sees this too. He realizes it just gets worse and worse. He talks with his friends and they decide to make a petition and give it to the principal.

In the petition, they explain what happens in Mr. Akers classes. "He is our teacher and his job is to help us, not to make fun of us. We deserve respect too," they write.

The principal agrees with the students. "This is not teaching, this is torture!" he says. Mr. Akers leaves their school. Clay and his friends get a new teacher!

The new teacher treats them with respect and tries to help them. He encourages them. He knows this is the best way to teach. It is not easy, but little by little, things get back to normal at the school.

And now, practice:

Exercise 01

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