Wednesday, December 10, 2008

What Does Human Rights Mean to You?

Today is the Universal Declaration of Human Rights' 60th anniversary. As part of the 60th anniversary celebration, is holding an Online Rally for Human Rights. You can participate in several ways:

1. Sign the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

2. Send the message below to your network of friends and family via text, Twitter and/or email:
Today is the Universal Declaration of Human Rights' 60th anniversary.

I believe that Every Human Has Rights:

3. Change your profile photo on your social networks to a photo of you with the message, "Every Human Has Rights," or to the campaign badge above which can be downloaded here.

4. Join the Every Human Has Rights Cause on Facebook.

5. Blog about what human rights means to you, and your commitment to uphold the principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Send Every Human Has Rights the link to your blog so they can link back to you.


What does human rights mean to me? That's a tough question isn't it? One of the articles I feel the most strongly about is Article 5, "No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment."

Torture isn't exactly the easiest thing to talk about, or to get people excited about working against. It's the dark side of our human natures that we don't like to acknowledge because, as the Stanford Prison Experiment showed, under certain circumstances we are all capable of it.

Amazingly, a couple years ago Amnesty International made a funny (yes, funny) 1:36 min video to raise awareness about extraordinary rendition (moving prisoners to other countries to be tortured). You can watch Is It Okay To Torture? on YouTube.

As part of my commitment to uphold the principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, I looked for an action I could take against torture on Amnesty International's site. There are three campaigns that need support. I'm going to pick one to get involved with:

Protect Three Victims of Police Brutality in Mexico (UA 330/08)
Protect Syrian Prisoner From Torture (UA 328/08)

Why do you believe every human has rights? Which Article of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights do you feel the most strongly about?


Related blog posts:
Happy Human Rights Day: Live and Do So Peacefully by Sarah Kuck on Worldchanging
What image opened your eyes to human rights? by Chris Michael on WITNESS' The Hub blog.
The Balkans: Human Rights and LGBT by Sinisa Boljanovic on Global Voices Online
Human Rights Day, 2008: U.S. Workers Still Lack the Freedom to Form Unions by Seth Michaels on the AFL-CIO Now Blog
Happy Birthday, Human Rights by Michael Byers on The Tyee.
Today is Human Rights Day by Michael DeJong on The Huffington Post

Cross-posted from


  1. While torture and slavery are indisputably outrageous violations of human rights, the article that resonates the most with me is article 1: "All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.. . and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood." Small acts of disregard and cruelty occur everywhere, every day between human beings: the powerful treating the powerless with disdain, for example. I think that the abominations are sown right there, when we allow ourselves to think of other human beings as unfeeling.

  2. Hi Kim - Yes, I think Article 1 encapsulates the essence of the whole Declaration. How different the world would be if we all treated each other "in a spirit of brotherhood."


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