In 2000, Freedom House, an organization based in Washington, D.C., described the dire state of repression in Sudan, so perilous for human rights that it was the only place in the world where we were asked not to reveal the identity of the defender: “The Sudanese government and its agents are bombing, burning, and raiding southern villages, enslaving thousands of women and children, kidnapping and forcibly converting Christian boys, by sending them to the front as cannon fodder, annihilating entire villages or relocating them into concentration camps called ‘peace villages,’ while preventing food from reaching starving villages. Individual Christians, including clergy, continue to be imprisoned, flogged, tortured, assassinated, and even crucified for their faith.”
Ethel Kennedy was born into a large Catholic family in Chicago in 1928. A bright and active young woman, Ethel grew up in Connecticut and married Robert F. Kennedy in 1950. Ethel and Bobby would share a passion for politics, service to their country, and social justice that they would pass on to their eleven children. As the wife of a rising political star, Ethel was often at the forefront of many pivotal events in the mid-20th century such as the McCarthy hearings, the Civil Rights movement, the Cuban Missile Crisis, the groundbreaking political elections of the 1960’s, and the battle for labor rights. During this time, she encouraged her children to understand the historical importance of the times and be actively involved in improving the lives of others.
Bullying: language, literature and life
A Legacy of Leadership in Non-Violent Activism and Community Organizing for Social Change
Non-violence Political Participation Freedom of Expression Equality Justice Change Social Movements Compromise
Multi-National Corporate Responsibility
Ka Hsaw Wa is the founder of EarthRights International, a nongovernmental organization that filed a precedent-setting lawsuit against a U.S. corporation for torture committed by its agents overseas. The suit charges that Burmese government agents hired by Unocal, a U.S.-based oil company, to provide security, transportation, and infrastructure support for an oil pipeline, committed extortion, torture, rape, forced labor, and extrajudicial killings against the local indigenous population. Ka Hsaw Wa knows about the abuses committed by the military regime firsthand. He has spent years walking thousands of miles through the forests of Burma, interviewing witnesses and recording testimonies of victims of human rights abuses. He has taught hundreds of people to investigate, document, and expose violations of international human rights. As a student leader in the 1980s, Ka Hsaw Wa organized pro-democracy demonstrations in Rangoon. He was seized and tortured by agents of the Burmese military regime, in power since 1962 (and renamed SLORC or State Law and Order Restoration Council in late 1988). When police opened fire on peaceful demonstrators, one of Ka Hsaw Wa’s best friends died in his arms. Ka Hsaw Wa fled into exile along the Thai border.
Children's Rights and Child Labor
Advocacy Bonded Labor Parliamentarians Solidarity Fair Trade Boycott Migrant Worker Emancipate Caste System Untouchables
Partecipazione Politica e Diritti dell’infanzia
Political Participation Justice Change Human Rights Power Decision making Civic values Political systems Citizenship
Born on October 4, 1942, Kek Galabru received her medical degree in France in 1968. She practiced medicine and conducted research in Phnom Penh from 1968 to 1971, and continued her work in Canada, Brazil, and Angola. In 1987– 88 Galabru played a key role in opening negotiations between Hun Sen, president of the Cambodian Council of Ministers, and Prince Sihanouk of the opposition. That led to peace accords ending the civil war in 1991, and elections held under the auspices of the United Nations. Galabru founded the Cambodian League for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights (LICADHO) during the United Nations transition period. LICADHO promotes human rights, with a special emphasis on women’s and children’s rights, monitors violations, and disseminates educational information about rights. During the 1993 elections, LICADHO’s 159 staff members taught voting procedures to 16,000 people, trained 775 election observers, and produced and distributed one million voting leaflets. Since then, LICADHO has remained at the forefront of human rights protection efforts in Cambodia by monitoring abuses and providing medical care, legal aid, and advocacy to victims. LICADHO offers direct assistance to victims of human rights violations, especially torture victims, children and women from its headquarters in Phnom Penh and its twelve provincial offices. In 2005, Galabru was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize as part of the 1000 Women for the Nobel Peace Prize project.
The Continuing Struggle of farmworkers in the United States
Librada Paz defends the dignity of immigrant farmworkers in the United States. At the age of 15, she left her indigenous community in southern Mexico in search of an opportunity to improve life for her family. She eventually made her way to New York where she found work in the fields picking vegetables and fruits. Working conditions were harsh and Librada labored in the fields ten hours a day seven days a week just to survive. For ten years, she experienced the harassment, abuse and discrimination that prevail in U.S. agriculture where the dignity and rights of farmworkers are routinely ignored.
Health Care and Potable Water
Justice Human Rights Global citizenship Government Power Individual responsibility Health Care Potable Water
Farm Workers Rights Migrant Labor Factory Farm Agribusiness Family Farmer Coalition of Immokalee Workers
Justice Human Rights Empathy Decision making Civic values Microcredit Economic systems Values Choice Needs and wants Factors of production
Founder of the Grameen Bank, the world’s largest and most successful microcredit institution, Muhammad Yunus was born in one of the poorest places on earth, the country (then part of Pakistan) of Bangladesh. As a professor of economics, he was struck by the discrepancy between the economic theory taught in universities and the abject poverty around him. Recognizing that the poor remained poor because they had no access to capital, no collateral for loans, and borrowing requirements so modest that it was not cost-effective for large banks to process their needs, Yunus started experimenting with small collateral-free loans to landless rural peasants and impoverished women. In 1983, he founded the Grameen Bank. Its rules were strict and tough. Clients find four friends to borrow with. If any of the five defaults, all are held accountable, building commitment and providing community support. Initial loans are as little as ten dollars, and must be repaid with 20 percent interest. Nearly twenty years later, this revolutionary bank is flourishing, with more than 1,050 branches serving 35,000 villages and two million customers, 94 percent of them women. Ninety-eight percent of Grameen’s borrowers repay their loans in full, a rate of return far higher than that of the rich and powerful. More importantly, the clients are transforming their lives: from powerless and dependent to self-sufficient, independent, and politically astute. The real transformation will be felt by the next generation: a generation with better food, education, medication, and the firsthand satisfaction of taking control of their lives, thanks to Yunus’s vision, creativity, and confidence. Among many awards, Dr. Yunus was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006 and the U.S. Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2009. Together with Nelson Mandela, fellow Defender Archbishop Desmond Tutu and select other prominent statesmen, human rights leaders and public figures, Yunus has been a member of the “Global Elders” group.