Human Rights activists gathered on Wednesday [10th December 2008] to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the International Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization took part in ‘Right Now’ – a festival that took place in its base city of The Hague. The event was designed to raise awareness of the work of NGOs in The Hague and to encourage people to introduce the concept of equality and human rights into their daily lives.
A plethora of NGOs held stands at the event highlighting their work. The UNPO stand captured attention with a wide array of its member flags draped across the wall and with the presence of Tibetan artists who exhibited Tibetan calligraphy. The Mapuche were given a strong voice in a powerful presentation made by Rafael and Maria Railaf – two members of the Mapuche diaspora in the Netherlands. During an hour long presentation Maria spoke of her father’s imprisonment during the Pinochet dictatorship and of Elena Varela – a Chilean filmmaker who documented the Mapuche struggle and now faces trial. The presentation was followed by the showing of a UN documentary that depicted the daily life of rural Mapuche communities in Chile.
The ‘Right Now’ Festival gave great insight into the work that many passionate activists and NGOs are undertaking but it also highlighted the work that needs to be done. Around the world countries continue to ignore the provisions laid down in the UN Human Rights Declaration. The societal duty to protect and to speak out were exemplified on the 60th anniversary of the International Declaration of Human Rights but the ongoing need for interventions from bodies such as NGOs demonstrates the need for greater state and institutional responsibility and for the further implementation of the rule of law upon those who commit human rights abuses.
UNPO thanks all those who took part in the event especially the organizing NGOs, its member representatives and volunteers who made the evening such a success.