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Defenders for Human Rights
Arthur Miki

Arthur Miki Equality and Redress

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GRADE LEVELS = 7 to 12  /  SUGGESTED TIME = Six 60 minute class periods

How to use this lesson

Global and Canadian Defenders for human rights have changed societal conditions and provided inspiration for students. The overall goal of Speak Truth to Power Canada is to raise student awareness that advances in human rights come through the actions of individuals.

In this lesson plan on Equality and Redress you will find:

  • An interview with Arthur Miki including his biography.
  • Student activities that support the theme of this lesson, including activities related to the activism of Arthur Miki, Canada’s War Measures Act, the historical timeline of Japanese Canadians, ethnic segregation during moments of global conflict, the Japanese Canadian Redress Agreement, and subsequent government apologies.
  • Three brief community defender profiles are provided to expand the lesson and encourage students to identify with a variety of defenders for human rights.

To support the lesson on Equality and Redress, you will also find:

  • Sections or articles of selected legal instruments that are tied to the theme of Equality and Redress.
  • A student activity that links the Moments in Time timeline of advancements and setbacks in human rights from a Canadian perspective.

Teachers can, of course, choose to use one or all of the suggested student activities.

Learning Targets

After this lesson students will:

  • Gain a greater understanding of:
    1. Arthur Miki’s work and activism as a defender in equality and redress.
    2. The physical, emotional and economic hardships endured by Japanese Canadians as they were stripped of their human rights before, during and after World War II.
    3. The impact of racist and discriminatory practices on the Japanese Canadian population.
  • Develop empathy and a sense of justice regarding the mistreatment and suffering of others.
  • Acknowledge that governments can and do make mistakes.
  • Learn to communicate the value of human rights.
  • Apply what they’ve learned cognitively and emotionally within their own communities from the perspective of equality and redress.

Learning Skills

After this lesson students will have improved the following skills:

  • Adding meaningful argument to a group discussion.
  • Read aloud in a Reader’s Theatre format.
  • Researching, organizing and interpreting information.
  • Making inferences and drawing conclusions.
  • Recognizing opposing points of view in a respectful fashion.
  • Debating by supporting a policy position.

Guiding Questions

  1. Was the government justified in interning Japanese Canadians in World War II?
  2. Consider the significance of a “Redress” agreement to a society.
  3. Explore the integrity of democracy, equity and justice.


Opportunities and issues related to human rights are integrated throughout the curriculum. This lesson plan suggests student activities that will match curriculum expectations in Language, Mathematics, Social Sciences, Health, and Art as well as Health and Wellness, Citizenship, Law and Technology.


Depending on the activities chosen it may be necessary to have access to a television, the Internet, computers, and/or films (on DVD or streamed) in addition to presentation materials to support individual student and group presentations.

Legal Instruments

Speak Truth to Power Canada highlights legal instruments in their simplified forms, which relate to the themes addressed in the 12 lesson plans. Selected articles and sections of these legal instruments are offered in this lesson plan to complement the discussion and the research.

Universal Declaration of Human Rights

  • Article 1: Right to equality
  • Article 2: Freedom from discrimination.
  • Article 3: Right to life, liberty and personal security.
  • Article 5: Freedom from torture and degrading treatment.
  • Article 7: Right to equality before the law.
  • Article 8: Right to remedy by competent tribunal.
  • Article 9: Freedom from arbitrary arrest and exile.
  • Article 13: Right to free movement in and out of the country.
  • Article 17: Right to own property.
  • Article 21: Right to participate in government and in free elections.
  • Article 23: Right to desirable work and to join trade unions.

Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms

  • Section 2: Fundamental freedoms
  • Section 3: Right of citizens to vote and run for government office
  • Section 6: Mobility Rights
  • Section 7: Right to life, liberty and security of the person
  • Section 8: Right to be secure against unreasonable seizure
  • Section 9: Freedom from being arbitrarily detained or imprisoned
  • Section 12: Not be subjected to any cruel or unusual treatment