Human Rights Public Service Announcements — Now Playing Everywhere

19 October 2006

Sit down in a Paris café or a restaurant in Florence with in-house monitors and you may be impressed by powerful audio-visual messages that truly teach human rights.

Released in June of this year, these thirty- or sixty- second spots bring to life all 30 Articles of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Their appeal was instant and within weeks they were showing on over 1,000 TV stations around the world.

Three months after their debut, word of mouth caused expansion to more venues than just TV airwaves. This week alone saw new showings on screens at gas stations in Johannesburg, South Africa; in sixty-four theatres in Buffalo, New York State; and on two dozen screens in the largest bookstore chain in Rome. They are being played in city storefront windows in London and on a bus line in Frankfurt, Germany.

On a more official level, the 30 PSAs premiered last August as part of an international human rights summit held at United Nations headquarters, where they received a standing ovation from UN officials and human rights delegates representing 49 nations. That same evening they met with enthusiastic response from 2,000-plus New Yorkers who thronged New York’s Union Park Square for a human rights concert that rocked the city. Two weeks later they were the highlight of a presentation given by a 18-year-old Youth for Human Rights representative from Austria at the Palais Wilson, seat of the UN High Commissioner of Human Rights. The event was the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child’s annual “Day of Discussion.”

The uses for these messages are limitless. A representative for one UN nongovernmental organization wrote of his organization’s intention to “spread your short films in the best way we can, since we are working in about 60 countries with like-minded friends.”

These PSAs are part of a package of the audiovisual and written materials produced by Youth for Human Rights International.