Human Rights Day

Written by: Sanjevni Prasad

December 10 is Human Rights Day and this year marks the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. 

University of Washington Bothell professor Dr. Ron Krabill, who alongside Dr. Camille Walsh led the annual Washington, D. C. human rights seminar, shared the importance of students and human rights.  

Dr. Krabill provided a backstory on why the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was created. “What human rights does is it conceptualizes rights and freedoms based on your humanity not your citizenship. No matter anything, just by nature of being human you have this set of rights. And, it really comes out of the world response to the Holocaust and the horrors of the Holocaust. So, it’s a way of trying to enact ‘never again’.”

Human rights can easily be perceived as an international issue, however Dr. Krabill shared that there are many cases “we can see human rights being eroded in the United States.” 

Human Rights Watch, posted a world report listing human rights violations in 2018: harsh criminal sentencing, racial disparities, drug policy, children in criminal and juvenile justice systems, incidents of hate crimes, right to health, sexual orientation and gender identity, foreign policy, freedom of expression and assembly, surveillance and data protection, national security, womens’ and girls’ rights, older people’s rights, rights of non-citizens, poverty and criminal justice, and policing. 

Dr. Krabill believes “there is no shortage of ways [for a student] to plug in . . . becoming aware of what the issues are locally and then working on those issues [sic].” Issues like the New Youth Jail in North Seattle or the Northwest detention center in Tacoma where there are weekly protests. 

“Plugging in with other clubs that are working on issues related to human rights, they may not be framed as human rights, the Black Student Union, the Latinx Student Union, those are all groups working on human rights issues”,Dr. Krabill. Some students are currently working with Dr. Krabill to reestablish a human rights club which would be another avenue for students to participate in. 

While clubs and local protests battle domestic issues, the Washington, D.C. human rights seminar focuses on foreign policy. The seminar is a course in the Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences program, BIS 403. The five credit course requires students to apply prior to April 1st and by September 8th-14th you are meeting congress people, senators, state department members, think tanks, and embassies all of whom work on human rights. Dr. Krabill specifies that the incredible access to such individuals “is because past students have taken this work seriously as researchers not just as tourists.”

Aware of the multitude of human rights problems in foriegn and domestic policies and how daunting of a task it is to remedy all these issues. Dr. Krabill teaches a course BIS 313 Human Rights Public Culture that focuses on how human rights interact with the media and how students can create public conversation around human rights. The course begins with reading the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Dr. Krabill shared that many students find the list unattainable to which he replies, “think of it as a document that can help us work towards making a more just world.”

If you are interested in joining the human rights club please contact Dr. Krabill:

The United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights

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.

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.

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