Talking Human Rights in the United States

Today, Human Rights Day, serves as an opportunity to tell key audiences why the United States should consider dignity, fairness, and human rights in domestic policy decisions. Several national debates loom in which these values should be central, namely health care and immigration. At the same time, state-level budget crises pose threats to the fulfillment and protection of human rights at the local level.

As we think about the best way to use Human Rights Day in our communications work, recent public opinion research done by our organization offers some insight into public thinking about human rights generally, and its intersection with a range of social justice issues. Our recent released Human Rights Toolkit builds on this research to provide messaging guidelines and recommendations about human rights, treaties and conventions, health care, due process, immigration, racial profiling and criminal justice for young offenders.

The research points in several clear directions when it comes to human rights messaging broadly. First, we need to focus on the values associated with realizing human rights for all. Generally, these include fairness, dignity, and opportunity, but also can include equality, community, redemption, or other core values our audiences hold dear.

Second, it is important to start conversations about the goals of human rights work, not the mechanisms with which we intend to achieve them. For instance, in the case of Human Rights Day, the event reminds us of the importance of fulfilling and protecting the human rights of everyone here. The Universal Declaration is then a tool designed to help us in that endeavor by outlining mutually-agreed upon rights. This order is important, as many audiences do not immediately see the value of international treaties and conventions, but do see the importance of upholding human rights generally.

At this crucial moment, it's important that we get it right when it comes to human rights communications. Leading with the most resonant values, language, facts, and arguments, and targeting the appropriate audiences, will be crucial to motivating our base of human rights supporters while convincing "persuadables"--people who could be reliably with us but are not yet in our camp. This toolkit is intended to provide concrete advice and examples for achieving that goal.

Download Talking Human Rights in the United States: A Communications Toolkit.

Tags: communications, human rights, human rights day, Opportunity, public opinion, universal declaration (all tags)



Re: Talking Human Rights in the United States

Human Rights Day?

Our record on human rights in respect or American foreign policy is so atrocious that I find the very concept embarrassing. When America deals with the world in the same way we want to deal with domestic issues, it will deserve to celebrate a Human Rights Day. But not until.

by MainStreet 2009-12-10 07:15AM | 0 recs
Re: Talking Human Rights in the United States

Hypocrisy, actually, is the term I forgot to include in the above opinion.

by MainStreet 2009-12-10 07:16AM | 0 recs
Re: Talking Human Rights in the United States

Okay so you want human rights. Here's human rights: 10 things you can do to help further human rights in at least one area from The Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation.

What You Can Do on Human Rights Day

December 10 is Human Rights Day, honoring the UN's adoption of the International Declaration of Human Rights on this day in 1948.

Here's a list of ten important things (in no particular order) that we've done since our last Annual National Organizers' Conference this September to promote human rights as the framework for our country's policy toward Palestine/Israel.

1. We organized boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) conferences in Milwaukee and Pittsburgh and played a central role at the Hampshire College BDS conference.

2. Our supporters sent thousands of letters to the Department of Energy protesting its recent grant of a contract to Motorola Israel, a corporation which profits from Israel's human rights abuses of Palestinians.

3. Speaking of Motorola, we spoofed their advertisement for their product launch of the Droid phone, highlighting Moto's complicity in Israel's war crimes committed during "Operation Cast Lead."

4. We and our member groups across the country organized weeks of action to protest Israel's Apartheid Wall and in support of the Gaza Freedom March.

5. We and other U.S., Palestinian, and Israeli human rights groups protested the New York Mets hosting a fundraiser for the settler group the Hebron Fund.

6. Our Steering Committee member Peter Miller got Columbia Sportswear to cancel an advertising campaign marketing its products to Israeli settlers.

7. Speaking of Steering Committee members, Bill Fletcher, Jr. represented civil society and spoke at the UN commemoration of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.

8. Our supporters sent thousands of letters to their Members of Congress urging them to vote against H.Res.867, condemning the Goldstone Report, which resulted in Congress' first real debate on Israel/Palestine policy.  

9. We relaunched our Congressional District Coordinator (CDC) network with a hi-tech, interactive map to better coordinate our policy efforts with grassroots activists across the country.  

10. And last, but not least, we're organizing people to meet with their Members of Congress during the upcoming winter recess to end U.S. support for Israel's blockade of Gaza.

You can help in these endeavors by clicking on their site.

by MainStreet 2009-12-10 08:41AM | 0 recs


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