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Human Rights Education Reminds Us of Our Shared Humanity

Human Rights Education Reminds Us of Our Shared Humanity

This December 10, the world celebrates Human Rights Day and commemorates the 75th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). The Declaration was written after World War II out of an urgent need to prevent such devastation and uphold equality and freedom for all, no matter one’s identity, beliefs or origins. The UDHR gave us a framework to recognize when lives are being unjustly impacted and human rights are being violated. Over the past 75 years, the world has evolved but discrimination and conflict continue. The principles enshrined in the UDHR remain as vital as ever, inspiring Equitas in our ongoing mission to advocate for and educate about human rights.

While our hearts often feel heavy witnessing the enormity of human suffering across the world, we must never cease to believe in each other’s humanity. Human rights education, along with the countless human rights defenders worldwide guided by the values of the UDHR, sustains this belief and offers us hope.

What the world urgently needs is collective action that creates dialogue in times of division and leaves no-one behind. Equitas is proud to partner and ally with organizations and individuals committed to achieving this in communities in Canada and around the world. We would like to introduce you to two of our inspiring partners.

Fighting gender inequalities in Burkina Faso

Everyone can play a part in gender equality and Brahima Diabaté, a paralegal and human rights educator at the Mouvement Burkinabè des Droits de l’Homme et des Peuples (MBDHP) in Burkina Faso, is an ally of this movement.

Annual campaign Brahima Diabaté

“We must never lose hope in humanity, as the amount of good people in this world will always outnumber that of the bad.

― Brahima Diabate, Paralegal and human rights educator at the MBDHP, Burkina Faso

Diabaté works with Equitas in Burkina Faso on a project seeking to empower women and girls in his community. Using human rights education, he supports them in developing skills to mobilize community members and advocate with decision makers to advance gender equality.

Through his training with Equitas, Diabaté experienced a personal transformation in his role as a human rights educator, realizing that he must embody the change he wants to see in his community and transform power dynamics in his own life. He understood that human rights education goes beyond sharing knowledge; it involves embodying respect for human rights as an educator and demonstrating attitudes that respect every person’s rights.

Applying a gender lens has become second nature for Diabaté, as he challenges prejudice in all aspects of his work. He is conscious of the fragility of human rights gains and is committed to championing meaningful participation and inclusion of women and girls. This is what enables him to not only educate and empower individuals through human rights education, but also to contribute to real and sustainable change in his community.

Creating safe spaces for youth in Canada

Yara Fadel, a dedicated program officer with YMCA Quebec, represents the Canadian side of Equitas’ collaborations and is another partner committed to anti-oppressive community-building. Yara’s project connects community youth workers united by their mission to welcome and support youth newcomers to Montreal.

Yara initially faced uncertainty when tasked with developing a project led by youth while incorporating a human rights-based approach. Equitas collaborated with Yara to provide her with educational tools, training, and mentorship to complement her drive to empower youth and background in social work and forced displacement.

“This is what I needed. I didn’t really have the tools to do it. Equitas gave me the tools and support to do it.”

– Yara Fadel, Program officer at YMCA Quebec, Canada

Yara’s objective is to create a safe space for youth to articulate their needs and explore human rights outlined in the UDHR and how they apply to their lives. Moreover, where they can actively shape a community project based on their own lived experiences.

Annual campaign Yara Fadel

The youth under Yara’s guidance have shared a fundamental need to express themselves and feel safe in their environment. With her support, the youth are currently leading a project to build a world without racism.

Yara underscores the importance of educating young individuals about the rights they’re entitled to and instilling the understanding that human rights are universal. This is a core part of her work which seeks to strengthen the futures of young newcomers to Quebec.

Yara’s story highlights an understanding that transcends borders and backgrounds: we all deserve our rights to be respected and valued, regardless of our origins.

In these turbulent times, it can be challenging to maintain hope.

Yet, as Brahima Diabaté asserts, “we must never lose hope in humanity, as the amount of good people in this world will always outnumber that of the bad.

What can give us relief are the tireless efforts of human rights defenders and organizations, like Equitas and our partners, striving to build resilient and peaceful communities.

Equitas is proud to work with such dedicated allies as Diabaté and Yara and we are honoured that our tools and training have played a part in their work to champion human rights and equality. We humbly ask for your support to help Equitas continue our transformative human rights education work.

Join us in creating spaces for dialogue and defending human rights by donating to Equitas. Together, we can support social movements for a united humanity across the world. Your contribution matters, and together, we will build a better and fairer future for all.

Thank you for your support, and for believing in the power of human rights education to change lives.