2 November, 2017

Love Human Rights: every day, everyone, everywhere!

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Category: Activism, Bookmarks, Combating online hate, Council of Europe, counter narrative, Education, European Action Day, Human Rights, Internet
Menno Ettema
10 am

LOVE HUMAN RIGHTS

Human Rights every day, everyone, everywhere!

10 December 2017 Action Day for Human Rights online

Human rights were proclaimed on 10 December 1948 in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. They are now enshrined in international conventions, national constitutions and legislation. They shape our communities and the ways we live together, solve our differences and share in our successes in ways that we often do not notice. Human Rights for everyone, every day and everywhere is an achievement to cherish and uphold.

Human rights reflect aspirations and needs as old as humanity. But their universality was only recognised after 1948. The European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms was adopted in 1950. Today, the European Court of Human Rights monitors its application and decides on thousands of individual complaints. Human rights may be invisible, like the air we breathe to live, but they are equally essential for living together in dignity. Human Rights shape many aspects of our daily lives.  For example:

  • We don’t fear the police and expect decent treatment (freedom from torture)
  • We may marry the person we love (if the lucky one agrees!) (right to marry)
  • We can expect to get equal pay for equal work (prohibition of discrimination)
  • We can start a youth organisation with our friends (freedom of association)
  • We can gather to pray in a church, synagogue, a mosque, a temple. Or we can go for a party instead (freedom of thought, conscience and religion)
  • We tell our side of the story when accused of doing something wrong (right to fair trail)
  • Our children can go attend school for free (right to education)

We take many of these rights as for granted. It is when we are deprived of them that we call for justice and equality, because it’s our right and it is our dignity that is at stake. And yes, the call for a solution, an effective remedy, itself is also a human right (article 13, ECHR).

The Council of Europe recommendation (2014)6 on the rights of internet users recognizes the importance of the Internet as both a tool and a public space for democracy, highlighting the fact that human rights should equally apply online and offline.  For example if we expect our valentine letter to be delivered unopened and not shared with everybody in town, should it not be the same for our emails? (Right to respect for private and family life)

Education and freedom of expression are fundamental for Human Rights to thrive. It is therefore evident that all major human rights instruments include the protection and promotion of freedom of Expression, the right to education, and the right to learn about Human Rights.

Learning about human rights and how to apply them in our daily lives is a lifelong project[1]. The Internet has accelerated this process by giving more information about the world around us and its people than ever before. But the Internet is also a new platform for violations and abuse of human rights, including Hate Speech.

Hate Speech undermines human rights, even when it is done under the pretext of freedom of expression. The European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) in its annual report 2016 warns that an increasing dichotomy between “us” and “them” has developed in the public discourse of many countries and how these dichotomies exclude people on the basis of their skin colour, religion, language or ethnicity.

Knowing our human rights and enabling other people to know them is a way of protecting and promoting them, online and offline.

 

The No Hate Speech Movement campaign has been mobilising thousands of activists since 2013 to raise awareness of the harm done by hate speech and to promote human rights online. 10 December 2017 will be the last official Action Day for the whole campaign. As human rights are under threat in many places, this day will be dedicated to proudly protect them and give them visibility. We are proud of our human rights and we are proud human rights defenders. With love.

 

Action Day objectives:

Between 1 and 10 December the campaign will strengthen awareness that Human Rights every day for everyone, everywhere is an achievement to cherish, uphold and promote.

The objectives are to:

  • Create awareness on the impact of human rights to the daily lives of young people in Europe
  • Mobiles youth to share examples how human rights makes a positive contribution to their lives
  • Promote Human Rights Education and the manuals Bookmarks and We CAN!
  • Raise awareness about the importance of protecting Human Rights online and the Council of Europe work in this field.

Proposed Actions:

  • mobilise young people to share pictures and video’s illustrating how human rights makes a positive contribution to their lives
  • Share the Action Day logo and slogan on social media and websites of national campaigns and partners
  • Explain the Human Rights Conventions, the Council of Europe and other human rights bodies positive influence on society and daily lives of young people through info graphics, video’s and events
  • Organise Human Rights Educational activities to strengthen understanding of human rights values and principles and how they apply to our realities on and offline based on Bookmarks and Compass
  • Take action on hate speech targeting human rights and the structures that protect them by reporting it and providing counter narratives using the manual We CAN!

[1] Council of Europe Charter on Education for Democratic Citizenship and Human Rights Education


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