Five things you can do for human rights in 2018

2017 was a tumultuous year to say the least. With millions facing famine in war-torn Yemen, ethnic cleansing of Rohingya people by Myanmar security forces and white supremacist rallies in the United States, it often felt as though we were heading back in time, not forwards.

But despite the headlines, 2017 wasn’t all doom and gloom. Chelsea Manning went free, women around the world marched for equality and Australia finally achieved marriage equality. No matter how dire and widespread the human abuses of the last year may have felt, we each have a role to play in creating the world we wish to live in. And a fresh start in 2018 is the perfect time to do that.

So, what can you do in 2018?

1) Spread the word on social

One of the easiest ways to take action for human rights is to rally support using social media. If you’re active on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, make positive use of your networks by showing friends how there is power in numbers to change the course of history.

Share a petition or campaign update to raise awareness, or post an inspiring photo or quote, calling on your connections to support the human rights cause.

Activist Camille Furtado writing "Community is Everything" on Brisbane action centre art wall
© Amnesty International

2) Raise funds for the cause

Fundraising events are an excellent way to get involved with defending human rights in your community. Appeal to friends, family and colleagues to sponsor you to take part in a city run or a swimming challenge. Ask your employer if they’ll match dollar for dollar what you raise.

If exercise isn’t your thing, introduce some fundraising into your social life by hosting a game night, barbecue or garden party. Offer your guests $2 snags or hand round a cookie collection jar, with proceeds going towards protecting human rights.

3) Volunteer

Whether you have top-notch admin skills, can create awesome graphics, or are a dab hand at investigative research; there are many ways to help through offering up your talents. It might be one day a month or a full year but it’s welcome support that makes a real impact to human rights campaigns. Check out the volunteering opportunities available in your area, and register your interest online.

A boy on the shoulders of his father
© iStock

4) Send a letter or an email

Sometimes it’s hard to picture how an email can bring about change but history has proven there is power in numbers and that real results are achieved through direct messages and letters.

Sheer volume alone sends a clear message to authority figures and it couldn’t be easier to add your voice.

5) Start a conversation

Whether your focus is refugee rights or indigenous justice, you can compel others to take action too, through the power of conversation. “Research shows real-life conversations are incredibly powerful,” says Equality. “They’re what change hearts and minds.”

Talk to people about human rights this year – who knows whose opinion you’ll influence.

Find out how to have more effective and persuasive online conversations.

Happy new year!

Zoe Smith

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This article was contributed by a guest blogger. This blog entry does not necessarily represent the position or opinion of Amnesty International Australia.
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