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Two Must-Read Books about Human Rights, Justice, and Equality

I Am Malala book

I Am Malala book

“Within a system which denies the existence of basic human rights, fear tends to be the order of the day. Fear of imprisonment, fear of torture, fear of death, fear of losing friends, family, property or means of livelihood, fear of poverty, fear of isolation, fear of failure. A most insidious form of fear is that which masquerades as common sense or even wisdom, condemning as foolish, reckless, insignificant or futile the small, daily acts of courage which help to preserve man’s self-respect and inherent human dignity. It is not easy for a people conditioned by fear under the iron rule of the principle that might is right to free themselves from the enervating miasma of fear. Yet even under the most crushing state machinery courage rises up again and again, for fear is not the natural state of civilized man.” ― Aung San Suu Kyi

Ask anyone about human rights and you will likely get different answers. Some people who have a better grasp of it may give you a more informative answer. But you might be surprised just how many lack the depth of knowledge and understanding on something as critical as the rights that should be inherent to everyone. One of the best ways to learn more about it is to do short or long term volunteer work in places with human rights issues that can be a source of real-life insights and experiences. There are also great fiction and non-fiction books you can read to get a broader perspective. And here are just some of them.

A Thousand Splendid Suns
Author: Khaled Hosseini
Life for women in Afghanistan has its unique share of challenges that other women from across the globe may not be able to experience or understand. And under Taliban rule, the conditions can be even harsher and oppressive. A Thousand Splendid Suns takes a raw and heartbreaking look into the stories of its female characters woven around tales of friendship, physical and mental abuse, and more.

I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban
Author: Malala Yousafzai
I Am Malala is an inspiring memoir written by 2014 Nobel Peace Prize co-joint winner Malala Yousafzai. She was shot point-blank in the head by the Taliban when she was 15 years old. Her crime? Speaking up to fight for her right to education.

7 Quotes That Will Make You Think About Your Views on Human Rights

human rights

human rights

Human rights are among those things that a lot of people take for granted until they are taken away from them. And in this day and age, many still suffer different forms of oppression, injustice, and violations of their basic rights. For this reason, it helps to know about it and how it works. Reading a human rights book and reflecting on personal experiences as well as what is going on around you is a great way to better understand it. Here are just some of the best quotes about human rights that will make you think about how you view them.

1. “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.” – United Nations, Universal Declaration of Human Rights

2. “A right delayed is a right denied.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.

3. “There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest.” – Elie Wiesel

4. “The rights of every man are diminished when the rights of one man are threatened.” – John F. Kennedy

5. “To cheapen the lives of any group of men, cheapens the lives of all men, even our own. This is a law of human psychology, or human nature. And it will not be repealed by our wishes, nor will it be merciful to our blindness.” – William Pickens

6. “To deny people their human rights is to challenge their very humanity.” – Nelson Mandela

7. “Where, after all, do universal human rights begin? In small places, close to home – so close and so small that they cannot be seen on any maps of the world. … Unless these rights have meaning there, they have little meaning anywhere. Without concerned citizen action to uphold them close to home, we shall look in vain for progress in the larger world.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

5 Films That Provide a Glimpse at Human Rights Issues from around the World

Signed in 1948, the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights was born out of the experiences of World War II. It was created to provide a common understanding of the fundamental rights of people as human beings. And it serves as the foundation on which the ideals of freedom and justice are built. But despite the efforts to promote human rights, there are many abuses, violations, and other issues that affect marginalized groups of people worldwide. Here are some of the best films to watch that provide a glimpse at human rights issues from around the world.

A Quiet Inquisition (2014)

This film depicts the story of Dr. Carla Cerrato. A gynecologist working at a public hospital in Nicaragua, she struggles between following Nicaraguan anti-abortion laws and treating women whose lives are at stake.

Malcolm X (1992)

This biographical film tells the story of a controversial black activist, his imprisonment, and how his assassination left a legacy on the civil rights movement.

Sepideh (2013)

Sepideh is about a teenage girl who lives in a rural area in Tehran, Iran. It is a tale of a girl dreaming to become an astronomer in a place where gender roles make it almost impossible for a woman to achieve her ambitions.

The Wanted 18 (2014)
ows that produce dairy for a collective formed by Palestinians. The dairy farm cooperative was part of the Palestinian boycott of Israeli goods in the 1980s. The movie follows the success of the success of the “Intifada milk” produced by the 18 dairy cows as well as the efforts to protect them when the cooperative dairy farm was considered as a national security threat to Israel.

What Tomorrow Brings (2015)

Set in a small village in Afghanistan, the film is a story that takes a look into the challenges and the struggles two teachers and three students. The teachers and students are part of the Zabuli School which is the first all-girls educational facility in the village.

Human Rights Abuses that are Still Happening around the world



Human rights abuses are among the global issues that do not get much media attention. But just because you do not hear about them on the news does not mean they are not happening even now. From rape to extrajudicial killings and other disturbing violations, here are some of the grave abuses on human rights that still exist around the world.

  1. Rape is prevalent in countries like India where a woman becomes a victim at least every hour. There have been many harrowing tales of rape and may yet still left unreported across the globe.
  2. Female genital mutilation is a tradition that still persists in some places despite the global campaign to put an end to it
  3. Arbitrary arrests, detentions, and torture of political activists often on false charges
  4. Summary executions or extrajudicial killings of suspected criminals and even political or human rights activists
  5. Silencing critics by any means deemed necessary
  6. Police brutality that result to grave physical injuries and sometimes death of protesters and even ordinary citizens
  7. Inhumane conditions in prison camps in countries like North Korea
  8. Racism and the many abuses associated with it
  9. Gender inequality that result to issues that result to lack of access to education, healthcare, and economic opportunities among others for women and the LGBT community
  10. Killings of human rights defenders and individuals who investigate and expose grave abuses and violations
  11. Repression and restriction of freedom of expression
  12. Destruction of homes of illegal settlers
  13. Arrests and beatings of street vendors and illegal settlers
  14. Attacks on civilians caught between warring groups including war-crimes that lead to more deaths of civilians
  15. Human trafficking and kidnapping of children who are sold into sexual slavery
  16. Degrading punishment and torture of detainees
  17. Persecutions based on religious beliefs
  18. Arrests, detention, and punishments of people who participate in peaceful pro-democracy gatherings