How to Prevent Human Rights Violations as a Young Person

How to Prevent Human Rights Violations as a Young Person

Quynh Nguyen

Read Time:10 Minutes


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Every human on the planet shares the same rights but is often subject to different mistreatment. However, a child born in Africa, a female university student in America, and a Swiss retiree can face completely different human rights challenges. And there are also some common human rights violations you might not be aware of. So we had to ask: How can you prevent human rights violations as a young person?

Preventing human rights violations as a young person starts with understanding these. Avoid violating them and speak up if you notice any threat, join forces with others through peaceful protests and petitions, vote for those who fight for human rights, and don’t buy products made from forced labor.

In this post, we’ll have a look at the five human rights most often violated and map out strategies for you to avoid such violations. 

What Are the Most Common Human Rights Violations for Young People

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) was agreed by many countries at a United Nations General Assembly in 1948 and has been the backbone of human rights understanding ever since. This milestone document set out common standards for fundamental human rights and its 30 articles incorporate views of representatives from different legal and cultural backgrounds.

The UDHR recognizes that respecting every person’s inherent dignity and equality is the basis of freedom, justice, and peace in the world. It especially highlights the human rights that require protection.

ArticleHuman Rights DeclarationHow to prevent violations
2Freedom from discriminationLearn the laws to avoid committing violations and report if others do. Join peaceful protests and online petitions against discrimination. Vote for candidates who promise to address systemic racism in America. 
4Freedom from slaveryAvoid consuming products made in forced labor and boycott companies that exploit their workers. Voice your opposition to slavery through online petitions and peaceful protest. 
12Right to privacyRespect other people’s privacy and protect your private data with the proper privacy settings for online tools. 
19Freedom of expressionStay alert and report any threat to freedom of speech. Support organizations that fight for this freedom. 
20 Freedom of assemblyUnderstand your right and encourage others to exercise their freedom of assembly. 

Amidst major life changes and in this volatile time, you might find yourself in a situation where you face a threat of human rights and have an opportunity to prevent it. Let’s now have a look at those five most common Human Rights violations and how you can help prevent them. 

How to Prevent (the Most Common) Human Rights Violations as a Young Person

Violations of equality, freedom of slavery, privacy, freedom of speech, and assembly are prevalent. You will find hereafter the strategies to prevent such breaches from happening to you and other people. 

How to Prevent Human Rights Violations of Discrimination

“Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, color, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. Furthermore, no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it be independent, trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation of sovereignty.”

Article 2, Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Why Are There Violations of Discrimination 

Discrimination, especially based on sex and race, is still sadly everywhere you look. 

Worldwide, women struggle to earn equal pay as their male counterparts. For example, in South Korea, the average hourly income of women is 33,59 % lower than that of men. In the U.S., women will have to work an additional amount of days into the next year to earn as much as white men. How many you ask?

  • 42 additional days for Asian women
  • 100 additional days for White women
  • 226 additional days for Black women
  • 307 additional days for Hispanic women. 

Racial distinction prevails in every facet of American life, from childbirth to schooling to the workplace, from healthcare to the justice system

  • Schools are highly segregated, with only a small percentage of white students attending high-poverty schools or schools where most students are students of color. Segregation causes disadvantages for black students before they enter higher education and the workforce. 

The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated the inequalities that have long existed in the U.S. In a similar manner to the aftermath of Katrina, the government responses were inadequate and discriminatory based on race and economic status. Systematic racism is expressed in the frontline health workers, job security, and healthcare

Discrimination based on sexual orientation is an increasing problem. Incidents of hate crimes against LGBTQ groups have remained way too high for way too many consecutive years already. 

How Can You Prevent Violations of Discrimination 

The government is responsible for the laws and orders that prevent human rights violations. It must hold everyone (and itself) accountable. 

You need to gain knowledge of the nation’s discrimination laws and how it protects everyone’s rights. Only with that can you be aware of the acts that might violate certain freedom to correct yourself and inform others. Avoid spreading bigotry and misogyny online and speak out if you see others doing so. 

If the government itself fails to protect the rights of its citizens, peaceful protests and online petitions are good ways to express your concern. You can also express your support for human rights through your votes.  

How to Prevent Human Rights Violations of Freedom from Slavery

“No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms.”

Article 4, Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Why Are There Violations of Freedom from Slavery

Modern slavery is the worst in human history, yet a problem often kept out of sight in rich nations. An estimated 40.3 million people worldwide are living in some form of modern slavery. That is a figure more than three times higher than during the transatlantic slave trade. 

Today slaves are forced to work against their will, are refused the freedom of movement, or are dehumanized. 

Worldwide, 24,9 million people, including children, are, among others, forced to 

  • make clothes sold on high streets
  • pick the fruits and vegetables in abundance in supermarkets
  • trawl for shrimp in the ocean
  • mine for minerals
  • build skyscrapers in the harshest environment

They are paid next to nothing, if at all, and endure inhumane working conditions. 

While forced labor often happens unofficially in the private sector, 15% of laborers are abused by their governments. In Mauritania, some people are still born into slavery

Victims of modern slaves also include people living in a forced marriage or being sexually exploited. Women and girls comprise 71% of all today’s slavery victims. Children make up 25% and account for 10 million of all the slaves worldwide.

Though most slavery victims are from Asia and Africa, the rampant practice is far from non-existent in the West, including America. Besides, goods made in forced labor in poorer countries are often consumed in rich countries, which means the responsibilities to prevent this violation fall upon us all. 

How Can You Prevent Violations of Freedom from Slavery 

Avoid consuming products that are the fruits of forced laborers, such as unethical clothes and foods picked, collected, and prepared by workers in slave-like conditions. You can boycott companies that exploit their workers, not just in America but worldwide, with strikes, petitions, and joining in movements like Grab Your Wallet

If you notice anyone who might be the victim of forced marriage or sexual exploitation, offer help and speak out.

How to Prevent Human Rights Violations of Right to Privacy

“No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home, or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honor and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.”

Article 12, Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Why Are There Violations of Right to Privacy

As we spend more and more time on our computers and smartphones, online privacy violations are a significant threat to our human rights. 

While black-hat hackers continue to look for loopholes to profit from breaching data privacy, big corporations fail to protect the private data that users trust in their hands

Since the pandemic, video conferencing tools like Zoom have become an essential part of life in lock-down. Such an increase in Zoom usage comes with the unveiling of allegations over their engagement in undisclosed data mining during user conversations. 

Another infamous and much larger scale case involves Facebook. Cambridge Analytica used a third-party app to harvest data from a Facebook quiz for political purposes. A court fined Facebook for its lack of effort to safeguard its users’ data, but it remains to be seen if Facebook would be more committed to users’ private data as the number of Facebook accounts continues to grow. 

Some other tech companies that have been found to violate data privacy include Google, Uber, WhatsApp, and VTech

On a personal level, examples of privacy violations are going through others’ personal belongings (e.g., smartphone and laptop) or sharing their information like photos on social media without their consent. 

How Can You Prevent Violations of Right to Privacy

Don’t share information about others (such as the photos of their children) on social media without asking for permission. 

When it comes to tools that we use, some of the following steps will help to protect your own private data include: 

  • Read privacy and user agreements before signing up for a service or an app (And yes, we know they are boring!) 
  • Be aware of the permissions you grant to an app when you install it on your device and limit the high-risk ones if possible
  • Regularly review your privacy settings, make necessary changes and delete past data (like your Google history) 
  • Keep up to date with relevant violations of privacy laws and who are breaching them

How to Prevent Human Rights Violations of Freedom of Expression

“Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek receive and impart information and ideas though any media and regardless of frontiers.” Article 19, Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Why Are There Violations of Freedom of Expression 

Because the internet is such an amazing tool for expressing one’s opinions freely, with anonymity when necessary, some governments violate such freedom by slowing down the internet speed and blocking websites carrying dissenting views

Other interferences include:

Some fighters for freedom of expression faced the worst violence against them. The murder of Jamal Khashoggi and Daphne Anne Caruana Galizia, Charlie Hebo shooting, Chelse Manning’s prison sentence and Edward Snowdon in exile are (sadly) only a few examples of such extreme against journalists and whistleblowers who expose the truth and use their rights to freedom of expression. 

How Can You Prevent Violations of Freedom of Expression 

You need to stay alert to any threat to free speech and report any possible violation. It’s your right to voice your opinions and concerns about other interferences to freedom of speech. You can do so by organizing or joining petitions and protests, and supporting or volunteering at organizations that advocate and fight for freedom of speech. 

How to Prevent Human Rights Violations of Freedom of Assembly 

1) Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association.

2) No one may be compelled to belong to an association.

Article 20, Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Why Are There Violations of Freedom of Assembly

Between May 26, 2020, and June 5, 2020, there were 125 separate incidents of unlawful police violence against protesters in 40 states and Washington, D.C., documented by Amnesty International. 

The Black Lives Matter movement assemblies have been met with violent responses from law enforcement, from beatings with batons to misuse of tear gas and pepper spray, kinetic impact projectiles. Protesters, organizers, and even media and legal observers were targeted, arrested, and detained. 

Under Trump’s administration, this right was greatly assaulted. Besides physical violence against protesters in events such as Lafayette Square, laws were discussed and passed to penalize protesters of disfavoured causes, such as making protest organizers liable to lawsuits if anyone present in a protest commits an illegal act.  

How Can You Prevent Violations of Freedom of Assembly 

Know your rights and encourage others to exercise theirs. Peaceful protests are a powerful tool to bring out changes, especially for systematic problems like racism and the climate crisis.  

Promote and Protect Human Rights As A Young Person

There are many ways you can promote and protect human rights. Learning about them is the start. 

Then you get involved in helping others by joining a human rights group, organizing talks at your school to encourage discussions about the widespread violations of basic human rights. Some young people become human rights advocates. You can speak up about issues that matter to you and your community in gatherings, conferences, and even international events. 

Worldwide, some groups work to protect human rights independently from governmental influences. You can get in touch with them to report a violation or to volunteer. They include: 

Final Thoughts

Though fundamental human rights have long been declared by the U.N., governments, private companies, and individuals have repeatedly failed to follow the standards. With the climate crisis looming over the generations to come, young people face an unstable future where extreme governmental interference targets their rights to speak out and demand changes for a better future.

The recent COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way the world functions, so now, it is more important than ever to learn about your rights, strive to prevent any violations, and work to protect what fundamentally reserves for you and any other human beings.

Stay impactful,


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