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Take Action: Communicating Human Rights to others

Take action for human rights

In every week of this course, you will be asked to take action to promote and defend human rights. In this step, you will explore ideas on how you can communicate human rights more effectively to others.

STEP 1 – Identify an issue

First you need to identify an issue that you want to draw attention to. Find out more about the problem and about how people in your community feel about the issue. Read newspapers, magazines, and reports on the issue or call relevant officials for information.

STEP 2 – Choose your action

After analysing the local context, brainstorm ways you can reach as many people as possible. Brainstorm various ideas you can think of, however unusual. Then choose one or two approaches that seem the most achievable and likely to make the most difference. Below are some examples to take inspiration from:

Raise awareness Use social media platforms to raise awareness for a human rights issue. Choose a catchy, simple and meaningful tagline to reach as many people as possible.

Amplify voices Conduct interviews with people who are affected by the issue you chose and after you have gathered their consent, publish your findings.

Influence opinions Write a letter to the press, an article for a magazine or a blog post to influence opinions and reach the broader public.

Evoke empathy Write a poem, design a mural, compose a song or paint a picture. Art can be a powerful way to tell stories and evoke empathy.

Speak up Use your voice and speak up when you witness racism or hate speech in your daily life. Your courage may inspire others to follow your example.

Disrupt routines Take it to the streets or other public places! Do “Guerilla theatre” – spontaneous, surprise performances or organise a flash mob reclaiming public space.

STEP 3 – Craft a positive message

This can be difficult for anyone who is determined to make sure that the worst abuses never happen again, and believes that injustice must be exposed and broadcast to the world. However, we should not just expose abuses, but also offer people hope. We need to show that we can make things better together.

Whenever you communicate, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Are you talking about what you are FOR, or what you are AGAINST?
  • Are you campaigning for a SOLUTION, or against a PROBLEM?
  • Are you warning about THREATS, or highlighting an OPPORTUNITY?
  • Are you telling people they need to be angry and afraid, or that there is a reason for hope and determination?
  • Are you telling people what to think, or telling them how you came to your conclusion so that they can make the same journey?
  • Are you talking about victims, or everyday heroes?


How do you plan to communicate human rights to others?

Share your ideas and inspire other participants in the comments section.

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Defending Dignity: The Universal Declaration of Human Rights

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