United for Human Rights: A Vibrant Addition to the Spirit and Dynamic of SXSW EDU Conference and Festival

uyhr and austin reps

Sharing United for Human Rights and Youth for Human Rights educational materials at SXSW EDU—the South by Southwest educator conference

SXSW EDU is an educator conference in Austin, Texas, “designed for the brightest minds in education to change the future of teaching and learning.” United for Human Rights set up a booth at the conference, where human rights was a recurring topic in presentations, conferences and workshops. Educators, entrepreneurs, and members of civil society from across the U.S. around the globe visited the booth to learn about the program, order its materials and educator’s guide, and receive help putting the program into use in the classrooms, their communities and countries. The truth is, the importance of raising awareness of human rights cannot be overstated.

We live in an era of human rights violations that rival any earlier time: More people are enslaved today than were sold into bondage over 400 years of the transatlantic slave trade. According to the World Bank, 648 million people live in extreme poverty. Some 78 million children have no access to school and an estimated 2 billion people, a quarter of humanity, are affected by violent conflict or war. How does human rights education fit into this equation? The UHR program is based on the belief that the UN had the answer, with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). But the UDHR will only be as effective as it is known, understood and implemented.

Educators who already use the United for Human Rights (URH) curriculum visited the booth to share why they use and appreciate the materials. Not only do the booklets and videos capture student attention, they also make a difference in the way youth treat the subject in their personal lives. Bullying, hate speech, hate crimes, assault, and gun violence are all too common in schools. One educator shared how the students who attend her classes based on the UHR curriculum become outspoken advocates of the rights of others, even pulling out their copy of the What Are Human Rights booklet to show kids how they are violating the rights of others by their actions.

Stellar examples of humanitarians who use this program are featured in episodes of Voices for Humanity on the Scientology Network:

  • In South Africa, human rights activist Glory Matipile uses the URH program for
    young people, Youth for Human Rights, to educate youth and help protect
    them from being lured into jobs that are human trafficking traps.
  • Growing up in Nepal, where domestic violence and forced child
    labor were a normal way of life, Rahul KC discovered Youth for Human Rights when he was 12. He has
    since educated thousands on human rights, and used these materials to
    speak truth to power, helping change Nepal’s constitution to include
    protection and promotion of human rights.
  • In Costa Rica, Braulio Vargas made it his personal mission to
    help his country counter poverty and protect youth from trafficking by helping pass a bill that mandates
    educating every child in the country on the Universal Declaration of Human

“It is so gratifying to hear about the difference our program is making,” says Emma Sims, Human Rights Coordinator at United for Human Rights. “We are committed to getting these materials into the hands of educators and students everywhere.”

United for Human Rights and Youth for Human Rights are supported by Scientology Churches and Scientologists. The program was inspired by humanitarian and Scientology Founder L. Ron Hubbard, who believed “Human rights must be made a fact, not an idealistic dream.”

“The best way to achieve this,” says Sims, “is through education.”

For more information, visit the website of United for Human Rights or watch The Story of Human Rights and Thirty Rights Brought to Life on the Scientology Network.

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