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The Universal Declaration of Human Rights hits the streets



Can a giant mirrored sculpture draw attention to one of the most important, and under-recognized, documents ever written? A pop-up art installation created by GOOD and Human Rights Watch is seeking to do just that.

The creation, titled #HumanFamily, celebrates the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), a landmark document declaring fundamental rights for all of humanity.

The installation is inspired by the opening words of the 1948 document which reads, "Whereas recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world..."

The art, which is designed to inspire curiosity and engagement with the UDHR, includes an eight-foot-tall mirrored lenticular that reads, "MEMBER OF THE HUMAN FAMILY." Other messages become visible when the object is viewed from different perspectives. On the back is a mirror highlighting the 30 individual articles of the UDHR.


"We're giving one of the most important documents humanity's ever crafted the social currency it deserves," Gabriel Reilich, VP of Content and Development at GOOD, said. "We want the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to enter the public consciousness as easily as any viral post or highly photographed moment can."


Via GOOD


"Our goal is to insert human rights values into the public conversation in a fun, visual and social media-friendly way," Human Rights Watch Campaign Director Liba Beyer said in a statement. "We want people to take this amazing offline experience and start an online movement about what being a member of the Human Family means to you."

In 1946, as the horrors of WWII began to slowly come to light, the United Nations realized its charter did not go far enough to help protect the world's citizenry. The next year, the U.N. established a committee, chaired by former first lady Eleanor Roosevelt, to draft the UDHR to protect everyone, everywhere. Ratified by the U.N. in December 2018, it's the first to ever declare fundamental rights for all of humanity.


Eleanor Roosevelt and United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights in Spanish text. Via Wikimedia Commons.


The document outlines 30 articles affirming an individual's rights which include: dignity, liberty, brotherhood, and the prohibition of slavery and torture. It also affirms the right to freedom of thought, opinion, religion, conscience, and peaceful association.

It's been translated into 500 different languages and served as the basis for customary international law for over 50 years and served as a precursor to the International Bill of Human Rights, which came into force in 1976. The celebration of its anniversary comes at a time when Americans need to recommit themselves to human rights, especially given the current administration's track record on the matter.



One of the installations is currently on display in Los Angeles, California. It debuted on the University of California, Los Angeles campus and has since moved to Pershing Square, where it will remain until August 19. A second installation can be found in Tijauna, Mexico and will be back on display at Friendship Park starting August 14.

People have been posting their interactions with the art installations under #HumanFamily.







This is just the beginning for the #HumanFamily movement. Human Rights Watch and GOOD look to expand the campaign to more cities across the globe. To show your support for the UN's continued commitment to human rights, you can download the graphic below which depicts the UDHR's 30 articles and post them to social media. To learn more about the project, and where it's on display, visit humanfamily.com





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