Human Rights Day is observed every year on December 10th—the day the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948. A milestone document, it proclaimed the inalienable human rights which everyone is inherently entitled to regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, sex, birth, or other status.

The theme of Human Rights Day 2019 is Youth Standing Up for Human Rights. “Under [the UN’s] universal call to action ‘Stand Up for Human rights,’ we aim to celebrate the potential of youth as constructive agents of change, amplify their voices, and engage a broad range of global audiences in the promotion and protection of rights. The campaign . . . is designed to encourage, galvanise, and showcase how youth all over the world stand up for rights and against racism, hate speech, bullying, discrimination, and climate change.”

The following vital titles address today’s human rights crises, how the world’s youth are affected, and how they are fighting for a better future for all.

Universal Declaration of Human Rights; Convention on the Rights of the Child
Article 9:
“States Parties shall ensure that a child shall not be separated from his or her parents against their will . . .”

Baby Jails
The Fight to End the Incarceration of Refugee Children in America

by Philip G. Schrag

“Immigrant children are still children—human children—our children. This is a timely, thoroughly researched study of the United States’ ongoing struggle to ensure that migrant children in the custody of our federal government are protected and cared for in settings that are in the best interest of the child. It should be required reading and inspire calls to action right now.”
Marian Wright Edelman, Founder and President Emerita, Children’s Defense Fund

Universal Declaration of Human Rights
“Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including foods, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services . . .”

Environmental Justice in a Moment of Danger

by Julie Sze

“As veteran activist and scholar Julie Sze makes clear, the environmental justice movement knows what to do because it understands the climate catastrophe as the consequence of long-term policies of racism, dispossession, class exploitation, asset-stripping, organized abandonment, and privatization. With clarity and urgency, she tells the story of a movement whose visionary politics are not merely defensive but transformative.”
Robin D. G. Kelley, author of Freedom Dreams: The Black Radical Imagination

Universal Declaration of Human Rights
Article 7
“All are equal before the law and are entitled without discrimination to equal protection of the law.”

Advancing Equality
How Constitutional Rights Can Make a Difference Worldwide

by Jody Hetmann, Aleta Sprague, and Amy Raub

Advancing Equality focuses on the inclusion and evolution of human rights in national constitutions, filling a gap and bringing to the surface certain patterns in constitutionalism and showing how they can be instrumental in advancing equality. It is even more important at a time when the very notion of human rights, their place in and protection by law, is under attack by a number of powerful governments in the world.”
Mark Heywood, cofounder SECTION27, South Africa

Universal Declaration of Human Rights
Article 20
“Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association.”

We Demand
The University and Student Protests

by Roderick A. Ferguson

“Ferguson frames the recent history of universities as a site of struggle in which universities have transformed themselves in response to student protest. He thus offers inspiration that we all need in this moment of renewed struggle for democratic and inclusive universities that make and share knowledge in the interest of social justice.”
Miranda Joseph, author of Debt to Society: Accounting for Life under Capitalism

Universal Declaration of Human Rights; Convention on the Rights of the Child
Article 22
“States Parties shall take appropriate measures to ensure that a child who is seeking refugee status . . . shall receive appropriate protection and humanitarian assistance . . .”

Humanitarianism and Mass Migration
Confronting the World Crisis

by Marcelo Suarez-Orozco

“Perhaps the most disturbing challenge to our consciences in these days is the massive refugee crisis, which will not go away and whose solution calls for a wisdom, a breadth of vision, and a humanitarian concern that go far beyond short-term political decisions. Conscious of the dimensions of this humanitarian crisis, these essays pay attention to its effects on children, families, and those who are most vulnerable in the face of exploitation.”
His Holiness Pope Francis