English Reading Practice

Human Right Number 19:
Freedom of Expression

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

2. Read the story "Freedom of Expression" just below it.

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

Here is the Freedom of Expression video. You can watch it in your own language at www.youthforhumanrights.org. (Simply click the word "language" at the top of their homepage.)

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 19 (the simplified version):

"19. Freedom of Expression. We all have the right to make up our own minds, to think what we like, to say what we think, and to share our ideas with other people."

Now read the short story about this important human right.

Freedom of Expression  

Stan is in the sixth grade. He is a bully and picks on younger kids. Lately, Stan focuses on Benjamin, a shy fourth-grader.

Today, on the playground, Stan makes fun of Benjamin's clothes. He makes fun of the trailer that Benjamin lives in. He says Benjamin is from outer space, and many of the other kids laugh.

Mr. Acker, a teacher, overhears this. He tells Stan to stop.

Stan says, "What? I have a right to say what is on my mind! You teach about that, Mr. Acker! I believe it is called the freedom of expression, right?"

Mr. Acker shakes his head. "No, Stan, this is not right. The freedom of expression does not give you the right to be a bully. It does not give you the right to hurt people or to say false things about them."

"Whatever," Stan argues. "I just express myself."

"No, not whatever," Mr. Acker continues. "We learn about human rights so that we can help people, not so that we can hurt them. With rights come responsibilities. We must use these rights for good, not for evil."

"Whatever," Stan says again, but then he looks at Benjamin and says, "Sorry Benjamin."

Mr. Acker thinks maybe some of his explanation got through to Stan, but it is obvious from the looks on the other kids' faces that it got through to them.

And now, practice:

Exercise 01

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