|Jump to General Background on Human Rights Day|
HUMAN RIGHTS DAY (Dec. 10)
The National Religious Campaign Against Torture (NRCAT) invites you to mark Human Rights Day during worship services and through advocacy activities during either the weekend of December 6-8, December 13-15, or another time of your choosing. Download our free Human Rights Day Toolkit now.
This year, NRCAT’s Human Rights Day focus is on Solitary Confinement in an Age of Mass Incarceration. We invite your congregation to focus on the human rights crisis faced by over 80,000 people being held in long-term solitary confinement in the U.S. Prisoners in solitary confinement are locked in a cement cell alone 23-24 hours a day, seven days a week, sometimes for months, years, even decades. The United Nations Special Rapporteur Against Torture, Juan Mendez, has stated that to keep an adult in solitary confinement for more than 15 days constitutes torture, and has called for a prohibition on the use of solitary confinement for youth and those with mental illness.
STUDENT CALL FOR ART
The National Religious Campaign Against Torture (NRCAT) is providing a special opportunity for college and seminary students inside and outside the prison walls to participate in the movement to end torture in U.S. prisons through a Call for Art entitled Life in a Box - Solitary Confinement: Torture in Your Backyard.
The student artwork will be used to honor the upcoming 65th anniversary of the adoption and proclamation of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights Day (December 10th). Visual and written art submissions deadline extended through Nov. 15, 2013.
Information about the Call for Art, including guidelines, can be found at www.nrcat.org/call4art.
HUMAN RIGHTS DAY TOOLKIT
To help you and your congregation observe Human Rights Day, NRCAT will provide a Human Rights Day Toolkit, including a bulletin insert with educational and advocacy material, and an interfaith prayer; a poster for promotion of Human Rights Day; and suggestions for integrating these concerns into sermons and prayers during worship on that weekend. NRCAT will also provide resources for engaging in advocacy to confront the use of solitary confinement in U.S. prisons and detention centers. The toolkit will be available here on October 25. Sign-up today to get it delivered to your inbox.
Will your congregation participate? Please tell us what you're planning!
MORE INFORMATION ABOUT HUMAN RIGHTS DAY
On December 10, 1948, the UN General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), which affirmed this basic tenet of the UN charter. The nations of the world and several faith groups now celebrate December 10 as Human Rights Day. There are 30 short articles in the UDHR. The first article states, "All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and human rights." The third article adds, "Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person."
Article 5 states clearly, "No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment." So the prohibition against torture derives from the agreement by the nations in the UN that the principle of honoring the dignity of human beings – a principle shared by all major religions – is an underlying principle for both nations and individuals. Thirty-six years later, on December 10, 1984, the UN General Assembly adopted the text of the Convention Against Torture, an international treaty ratified by the U.S. in 1994. The nations of the world and several faith groups celebrate December 10 as Human Rights Day. December 10, 2013 will be the 65th anniversary of the signing of the UDHR.