If 2011 showed the desire and determination of citizens to have basic human rights in their societies, then 2012 demonstrated that there is no easy path toward obtaining these rights. Last year brought us the energy of the Arab Spring, with citizens in Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen, and Libya all pushing their governments to open up and make human rights and self-determination a priority. This year, with renewed tension in Egypt and a continuing humanitarian and political crisis in Syria, we’ve seen that the road to a society that prioritizes human rights can be long and hard.
Throughout history, autocrats around the world have suppressed basic human rights. Those who raise their voices for human rights, often a brave minority, are frequently met with cruel punishment and even death. However, as modern technology enables the spotlight for universal human rights to grow brighter, these brave souls are not as alone as they once were.
In the United States, people are gathering today—Human Rights Day—in support of basic human rights for all. More than 45 UNA-USA Chapters are celebrating human rights and educating their communities on the vital role the United Nations plays in upholding human rights worldwide.
Get involved as we mark the 64th anniversary of the UN General Assembly’s adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Here are some of the ways UNA-USA is connecting you with Human Rights Day:
- Join us for our nationwide conference call tomorrow, December 11, at 5 p.m. ET on human rights, featuring Brooke Loughrin, the U.S. Youth Observer at the UN, and Marlow Svatek, the 2012 Leo Nevas Human Rights Youth Advocate Awardee. Marlow will be dialing in from her Peace Corps mission in Burkina Faso.
- Read our in-depth human rights coverage in The InterDependent.
- Learn more about the history of human rights and what Chapters are doing on our 2012 Human Rights Day web page.
- If your Chapter has a Model UN program, connect those students and teachers with Girl Up’s Stand with Malala campaign, reminding everyone that education is a fundamental right that boys and girls both deserve.
- Take advantage of other human rights resources, such as UNA-USA’s Leo Nevas Program on Human Rights and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.
- Share your thoughts about the right to participate in public life and political decision-making on Twitter using #VoiceCount.
Thank you for all that you do in supporting the UN’s work on human rights today and throughout the year.