HUMAN RIGHTS DAY – 2010 -Speak up – stop discrimination!

The theme for 10 December 2010 is human rights defenders who act to end discrimination.

It continues the theme of 2009 which was also about discrimination.

The Human Rights Defenders video has been produced specifically to illustrate and support this year’s Human Rights Day focus.  With its powerful and moving testimonies, it documents the experiences and motivations of a number of human rights defenders from different countries, all working to overcome discrimination of various kinds.

Although there are many special people who risk their lives to end discrimination, many people working in education ,particularly teachers, can provide the opportunities to explore discrimination within their classrooms and community, and to lay the foundations for challenging and overcoming discrimination.

Human rights defender from Gaza advocates for women

“Women are being discriminated against because of deeply embedded cultural biases still prevalent in Palestinian society, which are then reinforced by the government, as well as the community,” according to Zeinab-Al-Ghonaimy, a human rights defender and lawyer from Gaza.

Human rights defender from Gaza advocates for women’s rights © OHCHRMs. Al-Ghonaimy says that she was motivated to become a human rights defender by growing up female in Palestinian society, since she often witnessed women suffering discrimination. In 2006 she was an independent candidate for the Palestinian Legislative Council. Following this she committed herself to representing women in the courts. Now, as the director of the Center for Women’s Legal Research and Counseling, Al-Ghonaimy defends women’s rights in the Gaza Strip.

She considers her most important success as a human rights defender to be curtailing forced dress codes for women lawyers in the courtroom. Yet she has also helped widows maintain custody of children and contributed to the creation of a shelter for victims of domestic violence.

“People are discriminated against for so many reasons,” Ms. Al-Ghonaimy affirms, “being a female, having a disability or having different political views. I encourage men and women to become part of a network of human right defenders, to raise awareness and fight against all forms of discrimination. The more people involved the better. A single hand cannot clap.”

The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) has had an office in the occupied Palestinian territory since 1996.  In Palestine, OHCHR places emphasis on working in partnership with civil society to protect human rights.

Some useful links:

Discrimination against women

Racial discrimination

Discrimination against indigenous peoples

Discrimination against migrants

Discrimination against minorities

Discrimination against people with disabilities

Religious discrimination


In honor of World Human Rights Day, INEE has collaborated with Peter Hyll-Larsen and the Right to Education Project (housed by ActionAid International, in partnership with the Global Campaign for Education and Amnesty International) to develop INEE web pages on the following topics: 



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