Last Thursday marked the beginning of DMU’s #LoveInternational vigil with a focus on Article 1 of the United National Universal Declaration of Human Rights:
“All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.”
The 24 hour long vigil saw the coming together of students, staff and human rights activists across many areas. As a student, I feel privileged to have been given the opportunity to put forward my own thoughts on what human rights means to me. Watch my speech here.
I wanted to convey the importance of human rights in every corner of the world. Part of my speech touched on The Universal Declaration of Human Rights as an achievement in itself but how the ongoing conflict in parts of the Middle East and the refugee crisis makes it clear that we need to be doing more.
I also spoke about the great work DMU does to promote equality and diversity and how this was the reason I chose DMU. The ability to meet people from all over the world has shown me many different perspectives. It’s also taught me not to take for granted the rights I’ve been given just because I’ve been lucky enough to be brought up in the UK.
I really wanted to emphasise the importance of businesses and human rights. In the face of big business and their mighty global brands, we can sometimes forget that humans make the decisions behind them. Many human rights violations have been the result of businesses exploiting local communities leaving people in poverty, destitution and in some cases, the loss of life. The more these businesses promote human rights, the better our world will become.
Most importantly, I believe that human rights not only means dignity and respect towards others, it is also about respecting our natural environment. We’ve seen how the effects of climate change have displaced families and destroyed lives across the world. And so my final point, called on the joining of people to create a sustainable planet for our future generations so that they won’t have to experience such devastating disasters like we have.
Speaking at the vigil was my first go at public speaking. It certainly took me out of my comfort zone and so too did talking about human rights. I’ve never had to question my own human rights and taking time out to really think about this topic made me consider those people who have been forced to question theirs.