Every person is entitled to certain fundamental rights, simply by the fact of being human. These are called “human rights,” rather than a privilege, which can be taken away at someone’s whim. Every person is entitled to certain rights—simply by the fact that they are a human being.
Country delegates of Youth for Human Rights International
The Human Rights Youth Year started just now About a week ago youth delegates from all around the world participated in the 7th Annual International Human Rights Summit at the United Nations in Geneva. The summit was the same day that the Youth Year of United Nations and Human rights started.
It was quite an experience to see the United Nations occupied with young people the age of 15-22 years along with the usual United Nations delegates and ambassadors.
To some of us this may seem a cosy and cute thing, but it wasn't necessarily that easy for all of the youth delegates to make it to Geneva to speak about human rights. Human rights aren't all that popular all over the world.
Hence the reason for keeping speaking about human rights which were laid down in 1948 and still need some way to make it into reality in all countries. You can read the human rights below, there are 30 of them, and depending on which part of the world you are in, you will notice that some still need some work or re-work to be in place.
As a photographer, the constant violations of photographers rights in civilized countries as United Kingdom has almost become a joke amongst photographers (as illustrated in a recent article where terrorists complained that they were taken for photographers; implying they had better rights as terrorists).
Founder and president of Youth for Human Rights International, Mary Shuttleworth (R), hosts a panel discussion of the 7th Annual International Human Rights Summit at the United Nations in Geneva in honor of the United Nations International Year of Youth on August 27, 2010 in Geneva, Switzerland. (Photo by Thorsten Overgaard/Getty Images)
But a human right as the right to assembly, which in some countries are so obvious that it's hardly even considered a special human right, is not that much in favor in some other countries. A few youth delegates had to fight the bureaucracy to get to the UN so as to assembly and discuss the remaining 29 rights. But they all made it, despite official looking rules and regulations.
Because they were united.
The Youth Delegates in front of United Nations
Making Human Rights a reality
Youth for Human Rights distribute information materials to schools, arranges competitions, and have even made an award-winning music video on human rights. On their website www.youthforhumanrights.org one can also see each of the 30 human rights illustrated as videos for Public Service Announcements, which are in turn shown on national televison channels:
THE HUMAN RIGHTS (SIMPLIFIED FORM):
1. We Are All Born Free & Equal. We are all born free. We all have our own thoughts and ideas. We should all be treated in the same way.
2. Don’t Discriminate. These rights belong to everybody, whatever our differences.
3. The Right to Life. We all have the right to life, and to live in freedom and safety.
4. No Slavery. Nobody has any right to make us a slave. We cannot make anyone our slave.
5. No Torture. Nobody has any right to hurt us or to torture us.
6. You Have Rights No Matter Where You Go. I am a person just like you!
7. We’re All Equal Before the Law. The law is the same for everyone. It must treat us all fairly.
8. Your Human Rights Are Protected by Law. We can all ask for the law to help us when we are not treated fairly.
9. No Unfair Detainment. Nobody has the right to put us in prison without good reason and keep us there, or to send us away from our country.
10. The Right to Trial. If we are put on trial this should be in public. The people who try us should not let anyone tell them what to do.
11. We’re Always Innocent Till Proven Guilty. Nobody should be blamed for doing something until it is proven. When people say we did a bad thing we have the right to show it is not true.
12. The Right to Privacy. Nobody should try to harm our good name. Nobody has the right to come into our home, open our letters, or bother us or our family without a good reason.
13. Freedom to Move. We all have the right to go where we want in our own country and to travel as we wish.
14. The Right to Seek a Safe Place to Live. If we are frightened of being badly treated in our own country, we all have the right to run away to another country to be safe.
15. Right to a Nationality. We all have the right to belong to a country.
16. Marriage and Family. Every grown-up has the right to marry and have a family if they want to. Men and women have the same rights when they are married, and when they are separated.
17. The Right to Your Own Things. Everyone has the right to own things or share them. Nobody should take our things from us without a good reason.
18. Freedom of Thought. We all have the right to believe in what we want to believe, to have a religion, or to change it if we want.
19. Freedom of Expression. We all have the right to make up our own minds, to think what we like, to say what we think, and to share our ideas with other people.
20. The Right to Public Assembly. We all have the right to meet our friends and to work together in peace to defend our rights. Nobody can make us join a group if we don’t want to.
Delegates signing the Petition for Human Rights
21. The Right to Democracy. We all have the right to take part in the government of our country. Every grown-up should be allowed to choose their own leaders.
22. Social Security. We all have the right to affordable housing, medicine, education, and childcare, enough money to live on and medical help if we are ill or old.
23. Workers’ Rights. Every grown-up has the right to do a job, to a fair wage for their work, and to join a trade union.
24. The Right to Play. We all have the right to rest from work and to relax.
25. Food and Shelter for All. We all have the right to a good life. Mothers and children, people who are old, unemployed or disabled, and all people have the right to be cared for.
26. The Right to Education. Education is a right. Primary school should be free. We should learn about the United Nations and how to get on with others. Our parents can choose what we learn.
27. Copyright. Copyright is a special law that protects one’s own artistic creations and writings; others cannot make copies without permission. We all have the right to our own way of life and to enjoy the good things that art, science and learning bring.
28. A Fair and Free World. There must be proper order so we can all enjoy rights and freedoms in our own country and all over the world.
29. Responsibility. We have a duty to other people, and we should protect their rights and freedoms.
30. No One Can Take Away Your Human Rights.
– Thorsten Overgaard, September 7, 2010
Re-posted December 15, 2011
Youth For Human Rights: Youth country delegates of Youth for Human Rights International participate in the 7th Annual International Human Rights Summit at the United Nations in Geneva in honor of the United Nations International Year of Youth on August 27, 2010 in Geneva, Switzerland
Thorsten von Overgaard is a Danish writer and photographer, specializing in portrait photography and documentary photography, known for writings about photography and as an educator.
Some photos are available as signed editions via galleries or online. For specific photography needs, contact Thorsten Overgaard via e-mail.