CIVICUS Civil Society Index

An international action-research project by and for civil society

Go Barefoot for Human Rights – Lose your shoes on Human Rights Day, December 10th

Posted by civilsocietyindex on September 27, 2010

Every Human Has Rights, launched by the Elders and now hosted by CIVICUS, exists to raise awareness and engage the general public on human rights, bringing to life the Universal Declaration of Human Rights Human Rights Day on the 10th December every year celebrates the anniversary of the founding of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

On 10 December 2010, Every Human Has Rights stands up to bring people together, even for a few moments, to think about other people whose rights have been violated. By creating empathy we might begin to build an understanding and begin to make the fight for human rights part of everyone’s lives.  In particular this year the focus will be on people living in poverty – people who don’t have food to put on their table, let alone shoes to put on their feet.

The belief: The world would be a better place if every person walked a mile in another person’s shoes

On 10 December, at 12 noon local time, take off your shoes, step out onto the street and walk around the block to declare your solidarity.

“A march for human rights can reach some hearts now, but we know we have a long way to go in this generational struggle.  But the march begins with the first steps – within us.  If we end such hate and such disrespect for human rights within ourselves, then we have begun the march as a barefoot warrior for human rights.”

Barefoot in the War of Ideas for Human Rights by Jeffrey Imm, June 2010

How it will work:

1. Raising profile through new media
People across the world lose their shoes and walk around their office, church, school barefoot.  They take pictures and videos to upload onto the Lose Your Shoes website.  We hope to persuade one or two high profile figures / celebrities to go barefoot to help promote this action through digital and traditional media.

2. Raise awareness of human rights issues
Stories and case studies online and used in digital promotions will help us demonstrate that violations of human rights are one of the biggest obstacles to eradicating poverty and how people are taking action to uphold Universal rights.

3. Steps for human rights
By drawing people to the Lose Your Shoes website, we will ask them to pledge to take STEPS FOR HUMAN RIGHTS by starting with actions on the day and then throughout the year, 12 steps – one each month.  We’ll send them the steps they can take each month by email, feature them on the website and eventually by SMS. The steps can be a range of actions from signing a petition, to going to an event or watching a video and sharing with 10 friends.

Will you have the courage to go Barefoot?  How you can get involved:

1.    We’re asking organizations globally, big and small, to mobilize their constituents to go barefoot and spread the word about Human Rights Day this year. We’ll design the promotional tools: posters, digital banners, widgets etc.  You can go barefoot for women’s rights, free education for all, people living with HIV/AIDs etc.

2.    Supply Every Human Has Rights with actions for people to take – on Human Rights Day itself and throughout the next year that we can feature as a step for human rights. We can promote individual organizations actions, particularly from the south.

3.    We’ll also be looking for some simple case studies and stories to help tell the story of human rights & poverty, let us know if you can help.

Share your ideas about how we can go barefoot together or find out more with Rashmi Mistry, Every Human Has Rights coordinator at CIVICUS:


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