Today I attended the event marking the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in Berlin. The German section of Amnesty international as well as the Friedrich Ebert Foundation had invited to a festive ceremony, attended by Chancellor Angela Merkel and Foreign Minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier. Listening to their speeches I was positively struck by their differentiated perspectives.
Steinmeier pointed out that in a globalized world, where not only (often originally Western) goods and media, but also concepts such as Human Rights, travel and are appropriated by local populations, we can’t anymore think of countries where those rights are regularly violated – such as Russia or China – as monolithic blocks. We need to identify and strengthen those local actors, inside and outside the political elites, who are working hard and against odds to improve the human rights situation. He also praised NGOs like amnesty as being part of the vangaurd of a global civil society, creating networks and momentum for Human Rights, which surpass the manouvering space of traditional state politics.
Here at betterplace.org we are celebrating the 60th. birthday of the 30 Articles of the Declaration with a special campaign in our German blog: For the next 30 days, betterplace team-member Anja Kalb will present the articles one by one. And – as the challenge of the Human Rights lie less in them being declared, but fullfilled, she will present to you organisations and projects which work hard to make the rights reality.
Here is the first article “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. And although Anja blogs in German, the projects she presents to go along with the Articles of the Declaration, can all be accessed in English.