Each year on December 10, people all around the world celebrate Human Rights Day.
The date was chosen to honor the United Nations General Assembly‘s adoption on 10 December 1948 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), the first global statement of international human rights principles.
This year’s Human Rights Day theme is Stand up for someone’s rights today! With the #StandUp4HumanRights campaign, the UN’s Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) is encouraging everyone, wherever they are in the world, to take action to address human rights abuses and intolerance. According to the OHCHR website:
Wherever we are, we can make a real difference. In the street, in school, at work, in public transport; in the voting booth, on social media, at home and on the sports field.
Wherever there is discrimination, we can step forward to help safeguard someone’s right to live free from fear and abuse. We can raise our voices for decent values. We can join others to publicly lobby for better leadership, better laws and greater respect for human dignity.
The time for this is now. “We the peoples” can take a stand for rights. Let us know what you’re doing, and we will gather your stories, and amplify your voice. Local actions can add up to a global movement. And together, we can take a stand for more humanity.
It starts with each of us.
Below are some ideas for simple yet meaningful ways that families can celebrate Human Rights Day by learning about the rights and responsibilities that we all share as human beings.For more ideas, check out my past Human Rights Day posts:
1.Take the pledge to #StandUp4HumanRights! Share your photo with the hashtag on Twitter, Instagram or YouTube and you can be on the campaigns Wall of Human Rights Champions. You can also read about ways to Take Action by supporting human rights in everyday life and calling on leaders to uphold human rights.
2. Learn more about the history of Human Rights Day by watching this short film about Human Rights Day 2016, detailing the United Nations’ relationship with Human Rights efforts and calling people to action.
3. Foster children’s empathy and compassion through reading. A Mighty Girl has a wonderful list of empathy-building books for kids of all ages in the”Kindness & Compassion” section of their website at http://amgrl.co/1JIHLCr For example, two books that give children a visual way to think about kindness and compassion are “Have You Filled a Bucket Today: A Guide to Daily Happiness for Kids” for ages 4 to 8 (http://www.amightygirl.com/have-you-filled-a-bucket-today) and its sequel “Growing Up With A Bucket Full Of Happiness” for ages 9 to 12 (http://www.amightygirl.com/growing-up-with-a-bucket-full-of…)
4. Learn more about the experience of refugees. TED-Ed has great 5 minute overview What Does It Mean to Be a Refugee that is appropriate for teens and adults, as well as additional educational materials. The UN High Commissioner for Refugees also shares some of the personal stories of refugees. They make for inspiring reading! Check out the story of a teacher who had to flee Syria and is now empowering refugee children in Malaysia.
5. Play games to learn about human rights. There are several sources for online games that teach about human rights: Games For Change has numerous online games, including one about the Syrian refugees. E-games: Human Rights and ConnectToLearn also have links to online games about human rights and intercultural learning.
I hope you and your families have a great Human Rights Day 2015! If you have other ideas for human rights activities, please share them with us!