Today, on 10th December, we commemorate the day that the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948. Outlined in this document are the rights and freedoms to which every individual human being is entitled no matter their ‘race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status’. These rights are inalienable, which means they are not subject to being taken or given away, under any circumstance. Currently, the basic human rights of many people around the world are not being met, be this through poverty, discrimination or many other means.
Our Work and Human Rights
Human rights are at the core of our work here at Tzedek. Tzedek means justice and our international development work prioritises those who are the most marginalised in society: women, youth, people with disabilities, particularly in rural areas of the global south. Taking a human rights-based approach to development means focusing on promoting and protecting human rights and ensuring that all rights-holders (every human being!) are aware of the rights that they have and can claim and exercise them.
The realisation of human rights is only achievable through empowering individuals to ensure that their rights and the rights of those around them are met. This is why we have chosen to work with Ghanaian NGO GDCA and Danish NGO Ghana Friends on the Empowerment for Life programme. E4L builds capacity of local community-based organisations such as youth groups, parent-teacher associations and women’s livelihood groups, to advocate for change in their communities and hold their leaders to account.
Youth Standing up for Human Rights
This year Human Rights Day focuses on youth, reflecting the power of young people as drivers for social, political and economic transformation.
Youth are central not only to our E4L programme and other international development work, they are also at the heart of the work we do in the UK. Our educational programmes promote social responsibility in UK Jewish youth. For example, our upcoming Ben Azzai trip to Ghana, in partnership with the Office of the Chief Rabbi, will give 16 university students the opportunity to learn more about Ghanaian culture and international development. They will be encouraged to learn from youth activists in Ghana and to become active global citizens on their return to the UK.
Youth participation globally is integral to ensuring sustainable development for all and as an organisation we are committed to building and uplifting the voices of youth in both the UK and internationally.
If you are a young person interested in finding out more about how you can be involved in social responsibility and Tzedek’s work, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Phillipe Sands and Adam Wagner
Last week, Tzedek hosted an event in support of our work in Ghana and India which included a conversation between Adam Wagner and Phillipe Sands. Both barristers, Adam Wagner founded human rights education charity RightsInfo, and Phillipe Sands is author of East West Street, which explores the origins of the terms Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity, both central to human rights law. Look out for a recording of their conversation on Adam’s podcast Better Human in the new year.