Diakonia - People change the world

International Human Rights Day

In the work that Diakonia and its partner organizations carry out around the world, rights are always in focus. By knowing their rights, people also have the opportunity to influence their lives.


On precisely this day in 1948, the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly. This is why today we’re celebrating international Human Rights Day and are drawing particular attention to the work being done for human rights around the world.

The following are five things that we at Diakonia and our partner organizations around the world do to reinforce people’s rights:

Work to ensure that everyone is aware of their rights
One of the most effective ways to ensure change is to raise people’s awareness about their rights. By spreading knowledge of the rights all people possess just by being human beings– such as deciding over your own life and your own body, not being badly treated physically or emotionally, or being permitted to own land and have political influence – we empower people and give them the chance to fight for a better life.

Standing up for champions of human rights
Standing up for your own and other people’s rights may entail great danger. Diakonia works in countries with conflicts, authoritarian regimes and fragile democracies. Human rights defenders are often subject to threats, and some are even murdered due to their convictions. We work in many different ways to protect those working for human rights so that they can continue their struggle.

Raising people’s voices
To be able to exert an influence, you need to be heard, and the right to organize yourself is fundamental in a democracy. Poor people often have scant opportunities to be heard in public debate. But people are stronger together, which is why Diakonia is working with its partner organizations on ensuring that people are able to organize themselves and thus strengthen their political voice.

Empowering women
In the world today, patriarchal and non-gender-equal structures and attitudes are obstructing women from enjoying their human rights. We challenge and question these structures in various ways, by working to counteract violence against women, in order to increase women’s participation in economic and political decision-making and equal rights to legal protection. By being aware of their rights and in various ways being given the opportunity to effect change, women across the world will gain more influence and power over their own lives.

Working from a child perspective
The rights of children are additionally protected by the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, and many of Diakonia’s partner organizations are working to give children better opportunities. This may concern children not having to work, become soldiers or turn to crime to survive.