Human Rights Day Celebrated at the University of Essex

Human Rights Day Celebrated at the University of Essex

Rozenn Quernee takes a look at the Human Rights Day celebrations held on campus, organised by the Hunan rights Centre and the Human rights society.

The Human Rights Centre and the Human Rights society at the university organised several events to mark Human Rights week.

Human Rights Week is celebrated every year all around the world, this emblematic week has the purpose to remind us of our Fundamental Human rights and how easily they can be violated.

As Casiana Lupu (the human rights society president) mentioned: “we need to keep our basic human rights in mind, also articles from the Declarations can be very short, it can be easy to forget them! We also need to reflect on those rights, and see how they can be applied to our daily lives”.

To start this week, and mark the importance of human rights, the annual chalking of the steps took place on the 10th of December between squares 3 and 4 at the University.

Many students from the human rights society and other students from across the university, we’re able to write in English and the language of their choice, the 30 articles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights aimed to promote different human, social, civil, and economic rights within many countries, it also advocates human freedoms and the protection of everyone’s fundamental rights.

Elements of the UDHR written in chalk by Essex students :Photo credit: Teo Coroiu

The chalking of the step has been taking place for over ten years at the University of Essex, and according to the President of the human rights society, this event aims at raising awareness. The director of the human rights centre, Dr Andrew Faganadded suggests that by walking up the steps and seeing the statements, students will be able to think about those rights and how they may affect them and others.

The use of chalk is according to him, an example of how fragile those rights can be. The chalk on the steps will fade away representing how easily breakable human rights can be, this symbolic gesture is also a reminder to members of the university, that human rights need to be protected at all costs.

Photo credit: Teo Coroiu

The Covid-19 pandemic has had a great impact on many societies at the university,by not allowing them to create events that students could attend. Last year, the lack of face-to-face meetings has been a real downside, however now the human rights society president is convinced that this year will allow more students to engage with human rights issues on campus.

As Dakota Anton (the human rights society welfare and social media officer) said: “I was not able to come and take part in the event last year as a member of the human rights society because of Covid. I am really glad I could come this year to show my support and promote human rights at the university. It is a small first step but it is a great way to uphold these values and rights and show what we stand for”.

Photo Credit: Teo Coroiu

Besides human rights week, and many other events throughout the year, the human rights society organises fortnightly a speaker series where human rights issues in the world, or events relating to human rights are talked about and debated.

Speakers from outside the university ,but also members of the University of Essex take part in these debates,it usually follows current international matters.

This event is open to everyone interested in furthering their knowledge and understanding of human rights.

Photo credit: Teo Coroiu

The annual chalking of the steps was a significant way to kick off human rights week. It is important to keep those rights in mind and as the director of the human rights centre, Dr Andrew Fagan underlined: “we take our human rights for granted until they are violated”.

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