In this article we examine the attitudes towards human rights of a group of 538 Grade 11 students from Anglican and Catholic church-affiliated schools in the Johannesburg/Pretoria region. A distinction is made between civil, political and judicial ('first generation') human rights, socio-economic ('second generation') rights, and environmental ('third generation') rights. The frame of reference is Ricoeur's theory of human rights. This forms part of his institution theory, which in its turn is embedded in his moral theory of the good life. The students displayed positive attitudes towards socio-economic and environmental rights, ambivalent attitudes towards civil and political rights, and negative attitudes towards judicial rights. The question about where one should look for more positively, more ambivalently and more negatively oriented students, what their characteristics are, and whether religion plays any role in this regard will be explored in the next article.