There are 7.5 billion people in the world. 3.9 billion people live under authoritarian regimes. HRF is partnering with international law experts and individual rights advocates throughout the globe to create a series of attractive, accurate, and accessible educational guides that explain and clarify the subject of human rights and basic human dignity. What are fundamental human rights? What do these rights mean? Through this effort, HRF will provide individuals in some of the world’s most repressive countries a useful and powerful tool to both inspire and inform.
HRF’s staff has established valuable relationships with dissidents from across the globe and is responding to the need for a better understanding of human rights by populations restricted to either hypocritical talk about rights or a total absence of such discussions. One theme consistently emerges in HRF’s research: people living in closed societies — where political parties are illegal, property rights do not exist, and authentic, independent journalism is not permitted — often don’t realize that their fundamental human rights are violated daily.
HRF has started working with experts on the ground to create, publish, and distribute country-specific guides on human rights. In places where information is suppressed and censored, educational materials that provide a clear understanding of fundamental human rights are essential in the struggle for basic human dignity and freedom. We have completed guides for the following countries: Angola, Azerbaijan, Burma, Gabon, Iran, Swaziland, Uganda, Vietnam.
Each guide is compact, engaging, and visually appealing, and includes sections explaining freedom of thought and expression; the rights to life and personal integrity; freedom of association and movement; the right to property; due process; the right to privacy; and the right to political participation. Because these guides are tailored to each country and culture, every section relates basic freedoms to examples of pertinent human rights violations in each particular country and culture. The final product for each country will be disseminated in online and print form and in addition to the guide, may include short videos, children’s books, and mobile apps.
History of the Global Guides project
In 2009, HRF regularly visited and supplied basic technology, educational human rights material, medication, and other humanitarian aid to human rights groups in Cuba, a police state that suffocates civil society and outlaws free expression and other basic rights.
HRF worked to increase the information digitally available to Cubans, who are hindered by internet access restrictions, government censorship, and prohibitively slow internet connections. HRF created educational materials about human rights for civil society leaders to use and distribute within Cuba, both digitally and physically.
Tus Derechos Humanos (TDH) was the first educational guide produced by HRF and distributed in Cuba. The compact, engaging, and visually appealing information about human rights, printed in pamphlet form, provides in-depth explanations of fundamental human rights, along with questions to provoke discussion and reflection for individual or group readings, in simple-to-follow language that appeals to a wide demographic.
The guide is highly popular on the island, and is used as a textbook by some Cuban civil society groups. Hundreds of thousands of both hard and digital copies are currently circulating around Cuba.