Human rights defenders acting against discrimination, often at great personal risk to both themselves and their families, are being recognized and acclaimed on this day. Human rights defenders speak out against abuse and violations including discrimination, exclusion, oppression and violence. They advocate justice and seek to protect the victims of human rights violations. They demand accountability for perpetrators and transparency in government action. In so doing, they are often putting at risk their own safety, and that of their families.
Some human rights defenders are famous, but most are not. They are active in every part of the world, working alone and in groups, in local communities, in national politics and internationally.
For more information, visit www.ohchr.org
Student Activities• Before Human Rights Day itself, ask students to work in class groups to establish their understanding of human rights. Approaches could include: class or group brainstorms; use of stimulus material, e.g. newspaper clippings; presentations by students or the teacher on the articles of the Human Rights Act or on the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child; or students doing research using internet or printed resources. • Groups discuss whether they should focus on one particular human right or on human rights more generally. Encourage students to use ranking exercises, e.g. Diamond nines, voting, surveying opinion, to decide which issues to explore further. • Ask groups of students to discuss types of activity, e.g. assemblies, displays, workshops, presentations, guest speakers, and appropriate audiences, e.g. their own year group, other year groups, parents, pupils from other schools. • Summarise preferred topics, types of activity and target audiences/participants.
Human Rights Scenario in Pakistan
The ‘Friends of Pakistan’ group, which includes the US, the UK and the UN, is key in the international community's drive to promote stability. The US has adopted a joint ‘Af-Pak’ (Afghanistan and Pakistan) strategy in order to suppress the insurgency and defend its national security interests. This strategy seeks engagement with the government and the military intelligence communities, develop civilian and democratic governance, for instance through the provision of services and support in ‘cleared areas’ in FATA and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, and increasing assistance including direct budget support, development aid and support with counter-insurgency work. The UK equally sees an opportunity to counter instability and militancy through a combined military and 'hearts and minds' approach, through judicial, governance and security sector reform. The UNDP/WFP takes a similar line.
Yet the success of this approach is by no means clear, as both the government and society at large are not welcoming of foreign interference. USAID takes into account political as well as humanitarian dimensions in its decision making process.
For more information, visit www.hrcp-web.org