GP Comprehension Paper – Human Rights

General Paper Comprehension Sample Question Paper & Answers (Paper 2)

GP Comprehension Question Paper – Human Rights

 

(Note that 15 marks out of 50 will be awarded for your language, namely, for the quality and accuracy of your use of English throughout this paper)

Note: When a question asks for an answer IN YOUR OWN WORDS AS FAR AS POSSIBLE and you select the appropriate material from the passage for your answer, you still must use your own words to express it. Little credit can be given to answers, which only copy words or phrases from the passage.

 

[GP Tutor’s Notes: This GP Paper 2 focuses mainly on the issues of Human Rights, especially it’s intended and unintended pacts on countries, both positive and negative ones.]

 

Questions on Passage 1
1. Answer in your own words as far as possible, why the author uses the word “honestly” in line 3. [1]


2. Why do you think any reference to the Creator was ‘consciously left out’ (line 12) of the Declaration? [1]


3. The author raises several questions in the last paragraph of the passage. What is his intention? [2]

 


4. The author does not accept the objections made by some to the concept of universal human rights. Summarise his arguments.
Using material from paragraphs 3 to 6, write your summary in no more than 130 words, not counting the opening words which are printed below. Use your own words as far as possible.

The author feels that…… [8]

 

Questions on Passage 2
5. Explain the metaphor in the sentence ‘the concept of universal human rights is the mother’s milk of the international community’ (line 1). [2]


6. From paragraphs 2 and 3, what are the 3 reasons for the ‘erosion of the belief in the universality of human aspirations’ (line 10 – 11)?Write in your own words as far as possible. [3]


7. According to the author, in paragraph 4, is the West in agreement on the issue of human rights? Explain your answers in your own words as far as possible. [3]


8. From paragraph 5, explain why the author does not believe that there is more violation of human rights today. Use your own words as far as possible. [2]

 

9. Questions on Passages 1 and 2
Give the meaning of the following words as they are used in the two passages. You may write the answer in one word or a short phrase. [5]

From Passage 1:
sanctioned (line 11)
vociferously (line 26)

From Passage 2:
backlash (line 18)
depositories (line 31)
p
roliferated (line 54)

 

From both passages
10. Tharoor argues that human rights are universal while Falk believes that the concept of human rights is interpreted according to culture and ideology.

What are your views on the issue of human rights with regard to the ideas raised by the two authors? How relevant is your view to Singapore society? Draw appropriate information from the two passages and justify your answer with your own examples. [8]

 

H1 JC GP Passages – Article Sources for Human Rights:

The New Internationalist by Shashi Taroor
Foreign Policy Magazine by Richard Falk

Q1. Explain in your own words as far as possible, why the author uses the word "honestly" in line 3. [1]

-to show that in the past, objections were not adequately considered

-and that now these objectives have to be considered truthfully / frankly / candidly

Q2. Why do you think any reference to the Creator was 'consciously left out' (line 12) of the Declaration? [1]

-to pre-empt any specific religious connotations

-since the Declaration is supposed to be applicable to all

Q3. The author raises several questions in the last paragraph of the passage. What is his intention? [2]

-to show that human rights are applicable to all / basic necessity

-and that one cannot justify objections to the concept

– to promote consideration or debate

 

Q5. Explain the metaphor in the sentence 'the concept of universal human rights is the mother's milk of the international community' (line 1). [2]

-the concept of human rights is also necessary for the international community / world

to function / grow

(Figurative)

 

Text from the Passage: (Literal)

-mother’s milk is a basic requirement / necessity

-for development

 

Q6. From paragraphs 2 & 3, what are the 3 reasons for the 'erosion of the belief in the universality of human aspirations' (line 10 - 11)? Write IYWAFAP. [3]

-Human rights are a Western construct forced upon the rest of the world

-The Declaration emphasises rights but not accountability / does not give enough weight to accountability.

-As a protest against the undesirable facets of globalization

 

Lifted from passage 2:

 -human rights are a Western invention being shoved down non-Western throats (Line 12)

-highly individualistic declaration does not adequately balance rights with responsibilities (Line 15)

-the assertion of value-based and cultural variations also represents a regional backlash against the unwanted aspects of globalization (Line 18)

Q7. According to the author, in paragraph 4, is the West in agreement on the issue of human rights? Explain your answers IYOWAFAP. [3]

NO.

-Agreement on human rights within the West is exaggerated

-The perplexity surrounding the issue lies in their separate roots

-the French believe that all men should be accorded the same rights regardless of circumstances or conditions

-Whereas the Americans believe in taking situational differences into considerations

 

Referred to / Lifted from the GP Passage:

Even unity on human rights within the West is overrated (L24)

There is an important mainstream confusion in thought about international human rights that arises from their dual origins(L24)

From the French Revolution, with its affirmation of the “Rights of Man” (liberty, equality, and fraternity), arises a sense of universality, that all persons by virtue of being human have certain common entitlements that transcend the specifics of context (L26)

In contrast, from the American Revolution comes the Bill of Rights, appended to the U.S. Constitution, applicable only to the United States, and subject to interpretation by domestic courts, which themselves are depositories of national values and evolving policy priorities (L29)

 

Q8. From paragraph 5, explain why the author does not believe that there is more violation of human rights today. Use YOWAFAP. [2]

-he believe there is conflict between observation and experience

-all evidence points to advancements in political freedom

-the U.N. has successfully developed a framework to address human rights concerns

 

From the GP Paragraphs:

The clash here is between perceptions and realities (L38)

Every reliable human rights indicator suggests progress in the direction of self-determination and democratization in all parts of the world (L41)

Moreover, one of the truly notable achievements of the U.N. system over the past six decades has been the creation of a significant human rights architecture (L43)

 

Q9 Vocabulary Question (5 marks)

Word1 Mark 1/2 Mark
From Passage 1:
sanctioned (line 11)
approved, allowed, accepted, validated

authorised (legal connotation), endorsed, ratified

No mark: ordained

From Passage 1:
vociferously (line 26)
loudly and forcefully, energetically, fiercely voiced, expressed, said

loudly, forcefully, fiercely

No mark: noisily, clearly, distinctly

From Passage 2:
backlash (line 18)
strong negative reaction

strong reaction, negative reaction, reprisal

No mark: reaction

From Passage 2:
depositories (line 31)
caches, stores, holders

storehouses, archives
(Word is not used in the physical / historical sense)

From Passage 2:
proliferated (line 54)
increase in numbers very quickly, spread very rapidlyincrease in numbers, spread

 

Note: do not try to give a string of answers. Credit is most often be awarded to the first word, and the rest are disregarded!

Q2. Summary Question (SMQ) (9 marks)

The writer feels that human human rights are universal.

From the GP PassagesAIYOW
CULTURE
-culture is too often cited as a defence against human rights by authoritarians who crush culture domestically when it suits them (L14)

-which country can truly claim to be following its ‘traditional culture’ in a pure form? None have remained in a pristine state; all have been subject to change and distortion by external influence (L15)

-culture is constantly evolving in any living society, responding to both internal and external stimuli (L21)

-you cannot follow the model of a ‘modern’ nation-state cutting across tribal boundaries and conventions, and then argue that tribal traditions should be applied to judge the human-rights conduct of that modern state (L18)

-and there is much in every culture that societies quite naturally outgrow and reject

 

-culture is often used as a pretext / an excuse by dictators to justify their actions

-but, culture is never static due to the interaction of forces within and without a society

-we cannot practise double standards

-as societies mature, they inevitably adopt cultures which best suit them

WOMEN’S RIGHTS
-the case that women’s rights emerge from a Western ethos is often vociferously made by men (L26)

 

-for me, the standard is simple: where coercion exists, rights are violated and these violations must be condemned, whatever the traditional justification. Coercion, not culture, is the test (L30)

 

 -it is the men who assert that gender equality is inherently a Western idea / concept

-the use of force cannot be rationalized on the grounds of cultural practices

RELIGION
-on religion, it is my belief that people allow God to be blamed for their own sins (L34)

 

-human rights as we understand them are fully compatible with the secular understanding of all faiths (L35)

 

-people use religion to exonerate themselves of their wrongdoings

-but human rights do not contradict non-religious interpretations of all beliefs

 

IDEOLOGY
-as for the suspension of human rights in the interests of paternalistic development: authoritarianism promotes repression not development (Line 39)

 

-it is the availability of political and civil rights which give people the opportunity to draw attention to their needs and to demand action from the government (Line 40)

 

-totalitarian governments give rise to / lead to subjugation / oppression and hamper / impede growth

-democracy / political freedom allows people to voice their concerns and evoke a reasoner from their leaders

Note: Time management is crucial for success in the summary question!

 

Q10 Application Question

In this sample AQ of the GP Comprehension Paper, we shall provide a response in the form of a Marking Scheme you may have come across in your own GP tutorial in school.

Mark RangeGrading / Marking Descriptors
6-8 (A)

Evaluation – very sensible, well supported and developed to its logical conclusion (convincing)

Requirements – systematic reference to the given requirements of the question with evidence of a balanced treatment

Explanation – includes elaboration and reference to personal insight and interpretation (shows a very good understanding of terms, issues and apt illustration)

Coherence – shows a high degree of coherence and organisation

Achieving the 4 areas will yield the GP pupil a grade ‘A’

6-8 (A)

Possible points for discussion:

Agree with Tharoor:
-human rights are universal. Every person is entitled to these rights simply because he/she is human

-the basis of human rights is the understanding that human beings have basic needs that must be satisfied. These needs are the same regardless of race, religion, economic status, gender, ability, etc, thus rights are universal

-different interpretations due to differences in circumstances do not change the basic rights that we all are entitled to

-such rights include the right to life, equal opportunities (gender, education). freedom from persecution, freedom of speech, personal beliefs / ideology / religion, etc

HOWEVER!:
-these are lofty ideals that cannot applied fully in reality because different circumstances i) dictate what can or should be done; ii) affect people’s concerns and therefore what they regard as their rights e.g. minimum age requirement for child labour, a child’s right to education – how applicable are these to developing countries?

-for rights to be universally applied, there must be a playing field; the world needs to be at the same starting point in terms of development, especially economic

 

Agree with Falk:
-human rights need to be considered of religion, race, economic status, gender, ability, etc

-human rights are not an abstract concept but have to be grounded in realities if they are to mean anything or improve lives

-moreover, there is no consensus on what constitutes a ‘right’. Some ‘violations’ are not considered violations or reported because they are viewed as acceptable practices

-it is circumstances that dictate what rights can be and how the rights are accorded

BUT!:
-human beings’ needs are the same regardless of culture, race, religion, economic status, gender, ability, etc, hence rights are universal

-such rights include the right to life, equal opportunities (gender, education). freedom from persecution, freedom of speech, personal beliefs / ideology / religion, etc

-the universality of human rights is an ideal that we must all aspire to, which was why the Declaration was conceived in the first place.

 

Relevance to Singapore society:
-S’pore embraces the universality of human rights.

-She upholds the principle of equal opportunities for all through the practices of meritocracy
-SG has applied this concept by according rights to every citizen in these areas: ability, education, religion, gender, etc
evidence: a harmonious society, equal status given to women in the workplace

HOWEVER!
Singapore also recognises the need to balance rights with responsibility due to the nature of our society. Some rights are limited for the greater good e.g. inflammatory speech with regard to sensitive issues (race, religion, politics), social practice (chewing gum, vandalism)

-S’pore’s approach to the issue of human rights balances the beliefs of different religious and cultural groups. Some rights are kept in check in consideration of these different beliefs (eg social behaviour like homosexuality)

-yet, there are features in the system that puts undue emphasis on the greater good and sacrifices, or is done at the expense of personal rights (eg political such as ISA, aka Internal Security Act)

-SG also recognizes the special needs of some groups eg religion: special arrangements for Seventh-Day Adventists, Syariah law for Muslims)

 

3-5 (B)

Evaluation – attempted buy not always convincing. Tends to be somewhat superficial with limited development of ideas

Requirements – covers requirements but not necessarily a balanced treatment

Explanation – shows an adequate level of understanding of terms, issues but is not thorough in support and illustration

Coherence – coherence and organisation are not as sharp or systematic as the top band

For the lower end of this band: evidence of minor misinterpretation of the text but it does not significantly impair the student’s overall understanding of it.

1-2 (C)

Evaluation – tends to be mere summary or restatement of the text rather than an evaluation of it

Requirements – does not seek to address the given requirements of the question

Explanation – shows limited relevance and development of ideas

Coherence – inconsistency in the argument is evident

Higher incidence of misinterpretation of the text and evidence of inaccuracies.

 

 

Our GP Teachers will share the actual Exam Marking Criteria for Paper 2’s AQ, during the lessons.

 

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