Do your part: 4 ways you can advocate for human rights

7 min read

Every human being is entitled to dignity, freedom, and fundamental human rights. Every human is entitled to a secure food supply, clean and safe drinking water, shelter, education, and public safety. Equal representation in the legal justice and political system is a crucial aspect that ensures the provision of human rights.

Despite the astounding developments and transformative evolution of human rights, millions worldwide struggle with heinous human rights abuses. Newspapers are riddled with heart wrenching stories of how people and communities are denied their fundamental human rights. Surprisingly, these stories aren't limited to the underdeveloped world but also occur in developed nations, including the US and the UK.

Silence in the face of oppression is not merely burdensome for one's conscious but also hazardous for one's legal rights. Present-day bystanders and silent spectators are bound to become victims in the future. When it comes to human rights advocacy, every individual has a role to play in creating an equal, fair, and just society.

Read on to explore practical ways you can do your part and advocate for human rights.

Pursue a Career in Social Justice Advocacy

Advocating for human rights and social justice doesn't demand you become a celebrity adored and respected by thousands. Contrary to popular opinion, fame, celebrity status, wealth, and public representation is unrelated to building a social justice advocacy career. All it takes is empathy, the ability to feel another's pain and experience adversities from their perspective.

If you possess the compassion and emotional intelligence to fight for someone's basic rights, consider pursuing a social justice advocacy program and become an official human rights advocate.

Social justice advocacy programs equip aspirants with many interdisciplinary skills to analyze social challenges and develop collective action campaigns. Activism opens infinite opportunities for community service and leadership, preparing students to combat poverty, inequality, and other social evils.
Suppose you wish to train as a human rights advocate and lead campaigns that secure beneficial impacts for victims and underrepresented communities. In that case, a social justice advocacy program will steer you on the right path, facilitating academic knowledge and professional networking. Aspirants can pursue careers in multiple fields, including homeless services, humanitarian assistance, immigration assistance, and mental health services.

Navigating the field of social justice advocacy without a formal degree can prove overwhelming. Professionals who respond to humanitarian crises and facilitate victims of social injustices are highly educated and skilled, equipped with impactful solutions.

Become A Storyteller

For every story of human rights abuse that is told, hundreds and thousands of stories remain untold, hidden, and overshadowed. As the Universal Declaration of Human Rights witnesses its 75th anniversary, humanitarian crises continue to deepen worldwide. Amnesty International highlights the “double standards” of the international community over its failure to unite over universal human rights and values.

If you feel deeply about social injustices and wish to highlight the depravity of the legal justice system, consider becoming a storyteller. During the last two decades, people worldwide have witnessed the power of social media in facilitating social justice. The rise of social media has facilitated public-owned narratives, eliminating the reliance on media houses and news reporters.
With a smartphone and an active social media presence, we can tell our own stories and share our narratives without being overshadowed. As a storyteller, you can highlight grave injustices and denial of human rights to rally the public and support victims. You can empower victims by connecting them to a wider audience, providing mediums and outlets for self-representation.

Storytellers can explore a multitude of mediums, such as writing, videography, and photography. It all boils down to sharing the story without distorting the truth and connecting victims to an audience to support and uplift them.

Practice Human Rights Law

  • Do you have a budding interest in humanitarian law and a desire to ensure all victims enjoy unrestricted access to legal representation?
  • Do you feel driven to fight against human rights abuses using the instruments and tools provided by the legal justice system?

If yes, pursuing a career as a human rights lawyer will lead you toward personal and professional satisfaction. It is common for human rights lawyers to work on a pro-bono basis – facilitating underprivileged clients without charging a cent. These lawyers typically work with humanitarian law firms, NGOs, and human rights courts.
With time, human rights lawyers can amass experience and a community-centric reputation and work toward private practice. As a human rights lawyer, you can play the most decisive and empowering role in a victim’s life. Lawyers are highly resourceful and well-versed in constitutional laws, extremely adept at providing legal and social support to victims.

Human rights lawyers build extensive professional networks to connect their clients with a wide range of social services. For instance, they work with humanitarian aid organizations, mental health professionals, social workers, and legal advisors to ensure effective assistance. Lawyers do much more than just advocacy; they actively fight for human rights and ensure justice is dispensed.

Speak Out & Protest

Suppose you wish to play your part against human rights violations without pursuing a legal or social justice career. In that case, you must abandon silence and bystander behavior and start speaking out against humanitarian abuses.

Human rights are not a privilege or a blessing bestowed upon citizens by a gracious government or legal justice system. As citizens, everyone is entitled to their fundamental human rights and the right to democratic representation. Every citizen has the right to protest and publicly demonstrate their disapproval of unfair policies and humanitarian abuses.
If the gut wrenching events of the Second World War and the Holocaust have taught us anything, it’s this: failure to speak out against cruelty and injustice makes us an accomplice to crimes against humanity. As inhabitants of this world, we all have a part to play in the fight against social injustice. We can make a difference by joining hands with victims during protests and highlighting their stories on social media.

Final Thoughts

There are innumerable ways to advocate for human rights and uplift victims of social injustice. It all boils down to how passionately you feel about the cause and how deeply you wish to invest yourself. If social justice is an inner calling, pursuing a career in social justice advocacy will prove extremely satisfying. But if that isn’t your calling, don’t fret, for there are hundreds of ways to play your part and make an impact. Remember, all it takes is empathy and the desire to make a difference.

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