National Geographic Books has produced a new work for young people called “Every Human Has Rights: A Photographic Declaration for Kids.”
Based on the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, this compelling book combines stunning National Geographic photography and poetry from students in the ePaLs community with kid-friendly adaptations of the Human Rights Declaration official text.
Among the more geographic rights outlined in the book are human equality, safety, movement, refuge, nationality, religion, health, and education. Graffiti-like script and judicious incorporation of white space, coupled with bold statements about the track records of various world nations, create a dramatic narrative: “Tanzania has a mixed record on human rights. It honors some, like freedom of speech, but not others, such as equal rights for woman….Cuba, where everyone has the right to free education and free health care, but elections aren’t free and fair.”
My favorite excerpt is this simple testament from 11-year-old Anjali Nemorin:
My mother is Indian, my dad Mauritanian. I was born in England, but
we all live in America where my little brother was born. My best friend
is half Hispanic and half German, and she was born in America, too. I
am thankful for this human right [nationality] because I might not have
found my good friends or have this happy life without it.
Prepare to be inspired from page one, which features a foreword by
former United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, and President
of Ireland, Mary Robinson. She begins by evoking legendary human rights activist, former president of South Africa Nelson Mandela:
“[For] to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live
in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.”
Robinson concludes with a simply stated, albeit difficult to implement recommendation:
“What can we do? What role can each of us play in achieving true human freedom for all? Change comes about through education [emphasis added].”
What can you do today?
You can sign the Universal Declaration, just like the members of the UN General Assembly did back in 1948, by joining the “Every Human Has Rights” campaign. Log on to pledge your commitment to freedom, justice, and equality for all! And make sure to check out the Human Rights map, which highlights stories of real people standing up for human rights around the globe.
Image courtesy EveryHumanHasRights.org
Sarah Jane for My Wonderful World