International Human Rights Day- December 2010
This year, 2010, we are invited to remember the human rights defenders who act to end discrimination in all its forms. Some of these people, like Ghandi and Nelson Mandela are famous. Others are not well known. They work individually or in groups, in local communities, in national capitals, or even on the international level to promote the rights and dignity of all.
Human rights defenders “speak up” when they see discrimination, exclusion, oppression or violence. Some advocate for justice, some work with victims, some demand accountability. All believe the opening words of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) that “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.”
This task of defending human rights cannot be left to others. Eleanor Roosevelt, one of the authors of the UDHR said it well: “Where, after all, do universal human rights begin? In small places, close to home – so close and so small that they cannot be seen on any maps of the world. Yet they are the world of the individual person; the neighborhood he lives in; the school or college he attends; the factory, farm, or office where he works. Such are the places where every man, woman, and child seeks equal justice, equal opportunity, equal dignity without discrimination. Unless these rights have meaning there, they have little meaning anywhere. Without concerted citizen action to uphold them close to home, we shall look in vain for progress in the larger world.”
As December 10, 2010 draws near we are all invited to examine the “small places, close to home” to determine what human rights need to be defended, and how can we “speak up” and “stop discrimination.”
- Universal Declaration of Human Rights http://www.un.org/en/documents/udhr/index.shtml (360 languages)
- The Vatican Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace makes available the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church and statements related to human rights. (Multiple Languages) http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/pontifical_councils/justpeace/
- Theology Library on Human Rights http://www.shc.edu/theolibrary/cst.htm offers documents, articles, and a directory of web links related to human rights around the world.
- The Elders, http://www.theelders.org/ a group of eminent global leaders brought together by Nelson Mandela, offer their collective influence and experience to support peace building, and promotion of human rights.
- Education for Justice http://www.educationforjustice.org/ (English, Español), a project of the Center of Concern, and Faith Doing Justice offer resources, which foster greater understanding of Catholic Social Teaching and current social justice and human rights issues.
- The UN Cyberschoolbus http://www.un.org/cyberschoolbus/ (English, Español) suggests materials to help to teach and promote human rights with children.
- Multilingual Human Rights http://boes.org/multilingual/ , Children’s Rights Across the World http://www.boes.org/justice.html (Multiple Languages) provides the Convention of the Rights of the Child and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
- Pray that the dignity and rights of all are respected
- Plan an event to commemorate Human Rights Day in your local community, school, or religious centers
- Learn more about Human Rights Defenders and test you Human Rights IQ.
- Visit the website of the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights http://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/HRDay2010.aspx for information on the theme and scheduled activities and events for December 10.
- Know your rights; read the Universal Declaration of Human Rights http://www.un.org/en/documents/udhr/index.shtml (360 languages).
- Educate for justice by promoting values of human rights, Catholic Social Teaching http://www.osjspm.org/catholic_social_teaching.aspx , and the Millennium Development Goals http://www.un.org/millenniumgoals/
- Learn more about how Amnesty International support Human Rights Defenders
- Join a human rights organization or network such as Human Rights Watch http://www.hrw.org/ to keep informed of current human rights concerns.
- Learn about forms of discrimination and limitations on human rights in your country or region, and advocate for non-discrimination and respect of human rights for all
- Express solidarity with someone who has experienced some form of discrimination or limitation of their human rights
- Share with others whatever you do to mark Human Rights Day;
God of Justice,
You have given all of your children
Human dignity and human rights
Help us recognize the dignity and the rights
Of all of human kind
Open our hearts to hear your teachings,
Open our eyes to the suffering
Of those who are denied their basic economic,
social, and political rights.
Let our voices join in declaring
All humanity is sacred, all human rights must be respected.
(Center of Concern)