Activism and Human Rights

As citizens who live and work in their communities, every day we are in contact with are fellow citizens and friends, colleagues and neighbours and we are in a position from which we can recognize our problems and needs. We have a unique opportunity to be in solidarity and to contribute to the resolution of social problems and the protection of human rights and dignity.

Why is a collective and solidary engagement in the protection of human rights important?

A society that connects people, emphasizes their dignity and equality and importance of respecting human rights of all people is a society where we are all accepted , we all have our place and can lead a quality life. In relation wo that, it is very important to recognize social engagement focused on an inclusive and solidary society. Solidarity as a readiness for mutual support, inclusion as engagement for the protection of equality and participation, as well as the care for equalizing the opportunity for participation for every person are important elements of a connected society. There is a great difference between the actions of certain interest groups for their own interest and rights (even at the cost of harming others) and an all around social engagement that respects differences  and builds a society that is respectful of every persons dignity and human rights.

Is my engagement going to mean anything?

Often we may feel as if our own personal actions can not contribute much to the answer on people's needs and the resolution of social problems. That feeling that we can't do anything and the lack of participation in resolving social problems can seriously endanger the quality of democracy as the „governance of people“ beacuse it is based on readiness of the people for participation. Problems of the society we live in can be resolved solely by the strengthening of solidarity  and participation of citizens who are the key link in the functioning of democracy.

Nonetheless, the truth is that individuals alone can do little. If we are not very powerful and wealthy, and most of us are not, we ask ourselves what mechanisms do we have to work from? With solidarity and joined actions we have a greater opportunity to impact the quality of life and the quality of the democratic social regulation we live in. Citizens are and must be the correctiv of government.

How to act?

Additionally, one of the important ways of civil participation is engagement in CSO's (organizations of civil society) - organizations and initiatives started by our fellow citizens. The civil society represents an area of voluntary, spontaneous association of citizens that are trying to accomplish some goals (political, economic, cultural, educational, sport etc.) CSO's have different goals but they all include areas in which citizens can express their desires, needs and interests and in that way contribute to the participation of active citizens. Their advantage is in the fact that we seize to be alone, we become a part of a network that has more resources and more possibilities which isthen followed by more impact. In such a way, through networks, mutualism and trust we are building a social capital of the community that Robert Putnam describes as „a resource that originates from the existence of trust in a certain society or some of its parts“ and that has shown to be very important for the quality of life and the social development.

The way we spent our money, the products that we buy or refuse to buy  and the donations we give also have a great impact on society.

There are different ways of citizen participation - from the protests where citizens show their disapproval like petition signing, participation in public gatherings, civil disobedience, to where citizens are involved in informing others or pointing out the problems: campaigns, discussions, art projects that carrie a social responsibility note, interventions in the public space, to the forms of participation where citizens actively help through humanitarian actions, donations, volunteering and direct actions.

If we do not want to depend solely on the people in power from elections to elections, there are different kinds of social engagement we can be involved in and it can be continous ili periodical and all of them will have positive impact on the society and our own personal and social development.