On December 10th, 1948, the United Nations signed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, a document of 30 articles listing the human rights common to all people. Human rights is a concept many people have heard of, but few actually know much about. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is the “recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family [as] the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world.” [i] Human rights are universal—it does not matter your nationality, race, or creed.
Professor Kristen Lashua from Vanguard University’s Department of History and Political Science states, “Human rights are a relatively new concept in history. The push for the recognition of human rights gained momentum after World War II as people reacted to the atrocities of the Holocaust.” The declaration serves as a guide for world leaders on the basic rights of every person and the world’s recognition to protect these rights. In order to protect these rights, every person must be aware of the rights they are entitled to. As Professor Lashua puts it, “The only way that human rights can exist is if we are educated on them.”
Instilling a human rights centered approach in our personal and professional lives is far deeper than tolerating them or accepting them by law. Professor Lashua states, “We’re called to do more; we’re called to love people and help them if they need it.” Living and working with a human rights centered approach “boils down to a very Christian concept—that is, the golden rule.” In Matthew 7:12 (NIV), Jesus commands us to “Do to others what you would have them do to you.” Treating people with respect, having empathy for others, and recognizing the dignity of all people is a human rights centered approach. It includes being kind to those you will never encounter, such as purchasing ethical products whose workers and laborers are paid fair living wages and work in a safe and healthy environment. It includes being a voice for those who cannot speak up, and protecting others human rights. It also includes recognizing when those rights have been violated and seeking justice and reconciliation.
The Global Center for Women and Justice prioritizes and recognizes the human rights of individuals who have had those rights violated. Our mission to equitably address immigration and migrant challenges, advocate for victims of exploitation, and promote human rights is promoted through our model for research, education, advocacy, and collaboration to build hope. By promoting a human rights centered approach we hope to mentor the next generation of leaders to build a world with dignity, freedom, and justice for all.
Written By Emily Miller – Writing Intern