Become a Human Rights Advocate!
The resources in this website will introduce you to the field of human rights and connect you to organizations around the world. To incorporate human rights advocacy as part of your daily routine, here are some suggestions:
Make yourself strong, so you can stand up for others. By eating healthy foods, for instance, you'll also be supporting ecological initiatives to eliminate pesticides, irradiation and genetically altered foods. Remember, the majority of people in developing countries are small farmers, so a wholesome diet is a way of supporting them, rather than the high-tech corporations who are taking over the markets . See Natural Foods and Farming on the U.S. Civil Rights and Community Action page for helpful links.
Contribute your economic clout to human rights causes by making informed choices as a consumer and investor. By investing in and purchasing only products manufactured by reputable companies, you are instantly depriving human rights violators around the world of their financial lifeblood. See the Consumer Alerts section for details.
Stay informed about the human rights situation around the world. Because the United States and other wealthy democracies allocate so much economic and military aid to foreign countries, citizens have a responsibility to make sure their tax dollars - deducted from their paychecks - are not being used to finance the human rights violations and war crimes we read about daily in the newspaper. Unfortunately, it has been reported through the years that the U.S. C.I.A. and other official agencies have been guilty of helping the wrong side on many occasions. When reports about atrocities and other abuses surface, it's time to call your congressperson and ask for the military and economic aid to stop. Refer to the Human Rights News and Magazines page for articles and news links.
Respond promptly to action alerts from organizations which monitor globalization and world trade. These watchdog groups work fulltime to stop the proliferation of monopolies, sweat shops, plant closings and environmental destruction. But they can' do much without public support. See the Consumer Alerts page for a list of organizations. (To learn more about how foreign aid programs are sometimes set up to benefit multinational corporations, see the introduction on the International Development page.)
Volunteer for nonprofit development projects in Third World countries. This is a wonderful way to combine a vacation with human rights work. Check out the many organizations listed on our International Development and Disaster Relief pages. (See Step 7)
Develop a basic understanding of international law, the role of the United Nations, and the work of nongovernmental organizations (NGO's). See the introduction on the International Human Rights Advocacy Groups page for more info. Also, there are extensive website listings on the Research and Education page which link you to a host of databases and other resources.
Become a human rights professional. If, after completing the steps above, you find yourself deeply immersed in this field, you may want to explore career possiblities. Jobs, volunteer positions and internships are listed on the Work and Travel Opportunities page. And be sure to check out the Karen Parker Home Page for Humanitarian Law to find out how one woman has been able to "change the world" with a law degree, language skills and plenty of grit.
A presentation of Human Rights Interactive
Building the human rights movement...
one bandwidth at a time.
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