Niki Lanik, Putting Human Rights Onto
The Fast Track
26 November 2010
Niki Lanik, human rights activist, puts human rights first in a race to the finish line.
A self-professed “speed freak,” professional GT race driver Niki Lanik has been whipping around race tracks since he was 16.
While becoming a top name in the racing world—including ending the 2009 season as the top Porsche driver in the European sports car series, scoring a Top 10 finish in the final race of the 2009 FIA GT3 European Championship in Belgium—Niki, now 23, knows his success allows him to forward a good purpose.
“The adrenaline you get is huge. It’s all about being the quickest out there but also about promoting a good message and I promote Youth for Human Rights,” says the Austrian, who now lives in the UK.
For Niki, it was the natural next step to choose human rights as the primary focus for his charitable work as he puts it, “I just decided to take it up and promote it because you have a right to any nationality, any religion and whatever you want to do.”
That’s why in 2007 he joined with fellow race car driver Andrew Chalmers and established the Youth 4 Human Rights Racing Team that now includes seven fellow race car drivers competing across Europe and Canada in the name of universal human rights.
Youth for Human Rights International (YHRI) is a non-profit organization with the purpose of teaching young people about their 30 human rights—as described in the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights—so they too can become advocates for tolerance and peace.
Niki’s promotion of human rights has taken him far beyond the race tracks of Europe, to as far as Colombia and Barbados. He was recently a delegate to the Seventh Annual International Human Rights Summit at the United Nations in Geneva. The Summit—hosted by YHRI every year since 2004—brings together young people from around the globe who volunteer in the human rights education initiative.