Civic Debate Online: Human Rights are Outdated

In order to strengthen civic competences in AEGEE, the Civic Education Working Group has been promoting debating throughout the year. Why? Debating was proven to improve academic achievements, critical thinking, mutual understanding, as well as communication, argumentation and interpersonal skills. In short it helps you to know more and form a better-founded opinion. Today we are taking the debate online for the first time, with a topic that challenges the very basis of our organisation!


One of the powers of debate is to challenge the assumptions that are made by individuals or groups. Every human being makes certain assumptions and draws conclusions based on the incomplete information they have. Debating pushes people to think critically and get informed in more aspects. As an organisation, it is useful to have a solid ground on which we rely when giving direction to our work, but from time to time we also have to take a critical look at things.

In the case of AEGEE, we base our work on certain principles as laid out in our Statement of Principles. One of those principles concerns Human Rights. We agree that it is fundamental to promote freedom and human rights as “essential elements of a European society”. We aim to serve as an example and spread these values among the youth of Europe through our work and behaviour. This is presently reflected in the mentioning of Human Rights in AEGEE’s strategic aims as an important civic competence to be taught to AEGEE members, as well as to youth in formal education.

But what does the promotion of Human Rights mean? In what way is it an essential element of an European society? To explore the relevance of Human Rights, we challenged Andrea, known to have been involved in many Human Rights promoting initiatives, to argue that:

Human rights are outdated and incompatible with the 21st century world social development issues.

The opposition is done by Joanna, who will try to explain why human rights are still relevant. Note that these statements are not necessarily the person’s personal opinion, nor are the arguments they use indisputable. We challenge you to get involved in the discussion (on the forum), react on the arguments and decide for yourself what you think about human rights; and what place it should have in our organisation.

Here you can read Andrea defending the motion and here Joanna opposing the motion


Written by the Civic Education Working Group