Five things you can do for human rights this year

However dire and widespread the human rights abuses of the last year may feel, we each have a role to play in making the world we want to live in a better place for all. Here are just five things you can do for human rights this year:

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 and show your friends there is power in numbers. Share a petition or campaign update to raise awareness, or post an inspiring photo or quote and call on your connections to support human rights.

Activist Camille Furtado writing "Community is Everything" on Brisbane action centre art wall
A person writes ‘Community is everything’ on a wall of graffiti art. Amnesty International ©

2) Raise funds for Human Rights

Fundraising events are an excellent way to defend 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 – and 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 by offering up your talents. It might be one day a month or a full year but your welcome support 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
A small boy sits on the shoulders of a man on Human Rights Day. © iStock

4) Send a letter or an email

Sometimes it’s hard to imagine how an email can bring about change but history shows 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 through the power of conversation. “Research shows real-life conversations are incredibly powerful,” says a representative from Equality. “They are what changes 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.

Zoe Smith

6) Fight for a Human Rights Act

The government must legislate a Human Rights Act so that people have the power to take action when their human rights are violated, and so that everyone’s rights are respected and protected.

As a global movement of 10 million people, and 500,000 people in Australia, Amnesty International has the people power to build public support for a Human Rights Act. Learn more about what are human rights and our Human Rights Act campaign work.