The Changing Face of Human Rights Activism

The subject of human rights has been a major part of public thought lately. However, this is hardly news. Ever since the first major civilizations emerged in the deserts of the African continent, the violation of human rights have occurred. In fact it would seem that these atrocities are as much a part of civilization as the invention of fire. Yet, the dark corners of the human condition do hold brightness. Because as long as there have been violations of human rights, there have been people who fought to protect them. From Jesus to John Lennon, this list is impressively long.

Yet there have been some surprising trends emerging in recent decades. For one it seems that these human rights champions have increasingly attainted celebrity status. This is mainly due to the prevalence of the internet in our culture. The digital portfolio of these activists have become the main tool in their arsenals. Twitter and Facebook, to name a few, have increased the reach these individuals have. This helps them to spread their message further and with better results. In fact there are several human rights activists that would not have been heard from if it were not for the internet.

The massive increase in connectivity has also led to a more diverse group of human rights activists. This is particularly true when it comes to the increase of female activists. A perfect example of this is the recent popularity of Pakistani teen, Malala Yousafzai. This dynamic figure in the global struggle for women’s education has achieved much in her 18 years. She won the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize and was list on as one of Time’s “100 Most Influential People in the World”. However, she originally started her work through a blog that she wrote.

Another activist in this vein is Yeonmi Park on youtube. This brave young girl started her life as a member of one of North Korea’s elite. Following the imprisonment of her father, she and her family defected to China. Her journey to freedom was wrought with danger and trauma. However, this mighty young girl became stronger from the experience. Yeonmi Park now speaks publicly about the rampant human rights violations that occur in her home country, and around the world. However, her rise to international recognition would not have been possible without massive media coverage. This includes her many interviews and lecture.

Human rights will never cease to be important to humanity. It unites the world under the assumption that there certain thing all people are entitled too. Despite all the cultural, language, and physical barriers placed between us, there is a code of dignity and respect that is universal. Unfortunately, it seems that the existence of human rights abuses are just as sure to exist as the desire to eliminate them. As long as that is the case, there will be people like Yeonmi Park and Malala Yousafzai. Strong and brave young women that aren’t afraid to stand for the rights of all.