Thanks to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), and nations’ commitments to its principles, the dignity of millions has been uplifted, untold human suffering prevented and the foundations for a most just world have been laid.
For 75 years, the core ambition of the UDHR has been to infuse societies with equality, fundamental freedoms and justice. It solidifies the rights of all human beings and is a global blueprint for international, national, and local laws and policies.
While its promise is yet to be fulfilled, the very fact that it has stood the test of time is a testament to the enduring universality of its values of equality, justice and human dignity.
A Timeline of Modern Human Rights
Every person has a right and responsibility to understand their basic human rights and to speak up when they see violations happening in the world. This Action Plan will prepare STFers with the knowledge to raise their voices in defense of human rights, to uplift themselves and their communities and plant the seeds for a better tomorrow through their words and actions.
In acknowledgement of this important anniversary, STF Chapters will pick between four themes to educate their campus communities and take action on human rights issues impacting youth around the world.
- Use the below toolkits to learn about each theme with your on-campus chapter.
- Determine which issue(s) will resonate best within your school community. Some schools may decide to only work on one topic, while others may want to work in groups to address all four issues throughout the year. The STF Team recommends all Chapters start with the Declaring Our Human Rights theme.
- Identify event ideas to help you engage your classmates in your selected topics.
- Keep in mind that there will be an STF Week of Action in the lead up to Human Rights Day on December 10!
- Reach out to your STF Team Member for help implementing your advocacy.
Learn More and Take Action:
Declaring Our Human Rights
About this theme: Most of us probably say we know a lot about human rights, but struggle to define them and give examples. This theme will help build our foundation for human rights by doing a deep dive into the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. As human rights advocates, we need to think critically about the different ways our human rights can be impacted. Some violations are in our face obvious, while others, we may not know are even happening to us. Often, we recognize when someone else’s human rights are being violated, but do we know what to do when we see a violation? Or do we know when we’re experiencing a violation ourselves? Do we notice when our rights are being upheld? Do we take that for granted?
Advocacy Ask: STF members will find out where human rights are discussed within their communities and ensure their classmates have a foundational knowledge in their basic human rights.
UDHR Articles Impacted: All 30 articles!
Human Rights and the Climate Crisis
About this theme: The climate crisis is the defining issue of our time and we are at a monumental moment. Shifting weather patterns that threaten food production, rising sea levels that increase the risk of catastrophic flooding–the impacts of climate change are global and unprecedented in scale. Lack of access to clean water, endless drought, and increasingly destructive natural disasters jeopardize our livelihoods. If governments fail to take aggressive and targeted action to fight climate change, people’s human rights, including to life, education, health, food, and water, will suffer catastrophically. The impact on human rights disproportionately affects disadvantaged and marginalized communities. STF is committed to taking action for environmental justice.
Advocacy Ask: STFer’s are transitioning their schools to 100% renewable energy by installing solar panels and working with educators to embed climate education across curricula.
UDHR Articles Impacted: 3, 25, 26, 27
Human Rights on the Southern Border
About this theme: The Human Rights Watch U.S. Program’s immigration work focuses on reforming harsh, outdated, and ineffective detention and deportation policies to ensure they take into account family unity, flight from persecution, and labor challenges that draw immigrants to the United States. Deadly deterrence policies that criminalize migrants and block asylum seekers are ineffective and lead to more loss of life. Such policies do not stop people from migrating and rather compel them to cross more remote, dangerous areas of the border. HRW and STF are calling on the Biden administration to respect the right to seek asylum, create safe pathways for migration, and work to create a humane, rights-respecting border that puts human rights over politics.
Advocacy Ask: STF members are collecting petition signatures demanding your congressional representatives end the use of deadly deterrence policies in U.S. immigration.
UDHR Articles Impacted: 2, 3, 5, 9, 13, 14
About this theme: Privacy, online and offline, is a foundational human right. It is central to the protection of free speech, freedom of association and assembly, and access to other economic and social rights. Infringement on privacy oftentimes disproportionately impacts specific groups or individuals (e.g. the tracking of LGBTQ+ community members), furthering inequality and discrimination. As technology grows increasingly present in our lives, privacy in the digital world must be protected as it is in the real world. During Covid-19, many communities switched to online learning. In the rush to connect kids to virtual classrooms, many governments failed to check that their EdTech recommendations were safe for children to use.
Advocacy Ask: STFers will investigate the steps their school districts are taking to protect their digital privacy and demand lawmakers pass national modern child data protection laws.
UDHR Articles Impacted: 12, 26, 30