The "Kids Campaign: A School for Iqbal" campaign leaders are proud to announce that this campaign is part of Kerry Kennedy Cuomo's amazing human rights project called "Speak Truth to Power." We are humbled and honored to be a small part of Ms. Kennedy Cuomo's project.

Here is an excerpt from the "Speak Truth to Power" web site. Please visit the site at http://www.speaktruth.org/

Speak Truth to Power is dedicated to the promotion of human rights awareness. We are a not-for-profit organization that seeks to proactively engage the general public in an ongoing series of issue-related programs and events. We believe that we can leverage the capacity of the internet to provide a forum for individual action and to foster communication between human rights-interested individuals and organizations. In short, we hope to encourage each member of our new online community to take up the defense of human rights. We hope that you will participate. Speak Truth to Power is in it's initial stages both on-line and as a not-for-profit organization. Please return often to keep informed of ongoing developments.

The Speak Truth to Power encompasses a wide range of projects--from the book, the traveling exhibition, the website, the play, and others yet to come--aims to bring much-need attention to forgotten heroes of the world, and the very real continuing problems they and their countries face. It serves as a poignant reminder of courage in the face of oppression, an extraordinary inspirational portrait of possibilities and resolve, and a sympathetic and strength-giving reminder of the power of a single voice in the face of tyranny and injustice.

An eighty-page education manual packaged and distributed in conjunction with Amnesty International to 10,000 schools and colleges throughout the country, with accompanying text materials for use as educational and advocacy tools to learn more about human rights and the original play by Ariel Dorfman. Packets will also contain information on how audience members can obtain additional information, become involved with defenders themselves, and become advocates for human rights internationally.

Download will be available for download on December 1, 2000.

Kailash Satyarthi gives us his thoughts on the educational packet:

It has become obvious that even the allegedlly most-advanced educational systems of the world are failing to meet the intrinsic human needs of the individual and of society as a whole. These needs have become obscured behind a cynical essentialism--an "us" versus "them" mentality that pervades and factionalizes children even before they are equipped to think critically about the facts of the world for themselves. If children are brought up first and foremost to evaluate the world through a filter of "isms," even before coming to recognize and celebrate the commonalities and potentials of the human race, then we are, in fact, handing our future over to cynicism and pessimism.

I am speaking of the necessity to include Human Rights Education in the classrooms of today. The problems that confront each and everyone of us, and each and everyone of our children, are unfathomably complex. To evaluate the inummerable shortcomings and crises of the world only through an endless and often-contradictory essentialist array of filters, however, can only end in defeat.

So how can we guide our children to act on the issues that confront them daily and can seem insurmountable? It is my belief that one of the most useful tools that we can give to our children today is a critical framework based on universal principles of Human Rights...specifically, on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This is a document that is both flexible enough to allow for the variety of human lives and human experiences that exist across the globe, yet strong enough, and just enough to provide for us all the parameters of what is and is not acceptable in our behavior towards one another. It is both a simple guard against a lacadasical and boorish relativism and a trustworthy standard of respect for human life in its many permutations. How can we give our children this tool and teach them to use it wisely?

I am pleased to say that the educational packet that is one more part of the Speak Truth to Power project is one tool that can be used to introduce the most basic principles of human rights to high school and university age children and young adults, and teach them to apply them to their own lives and situations they encounter. Developed in close collaboration with Amnesty International, Kerry Kennedy Cuomo, and Ariel Dorfman, this 60-page educational packet includes a definition of what we mean when we talk about "human rights," a brief history on the idea and international legislation of human rights, as well as an introduction to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights itself. Furthermore, 8 of the interviews from the book, Speak Truth to Power have been excerpted here, using the individual stories of people, like myself, who have found a calling in Speaking and Acting out against Human Rights abuses, as a lens through which to examine specific human rights issues. Also included are resources and guides for further investigation, discussion questions and excercises for classroom use in learning to apply the Human Rights framework to real-life situations. Equally important, there are stories of other young people today who have dared to stand up and begun to make a difference in their communities and beyond. And finally, the entire script of Ariel Dorfman's play: Speak Truth to Power: Voices from Beyond the Dark is included, complete with staging instructions that will allow schools and other organizations to put on this moving theatrical adaptation of the voices heard throughout the hardcover book. The inital 15,000 copies, in English, will be distributed free of charge to English-language high schools and univeristies by Amnesty International. The education packet will be available on-line, and can be downloaded free of charge by anyone who chooses. It is the goal of the STTP project that the packet will be translated into 5 more languages in the year to come.

CHILD RIGHTS LINKS found on "Speak Truth to Power" web site :

As human beings, children--formally defined as those under the age of eighteen--are entitled to all the rights guaranteed by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and the various treaties that have developed from it. UNICEF, an organization devoted specifically to the rights of children, reminds us that while governments must be sensitive to the rights of all their citizens, there are strong reasons for making a special case for children's rights. Namely that the healthy development of children is crucial to the future well-being of any society and that the costs to society of failing its children are huge. Also, children start life as totally dependent beings, needing special protection and care. They must be able to turn on the adult world to defend their rights and to help them to develop and realize their potential. As Marian Wright Edelman states, "There are millions of children who are depending on us-for protection, for guidance, for the basic necessities." Under the broad umbrella of protecting the right of children to have a fair and healthy start in life, many interconnected issues must be addressed-issues of healthcare, issues of education and literacy, as well as issues of race and class equalities.

In 1959, the UN Declaration on the Rights of the Child set up an initial framework for children's rights, but it was not legally enforceable at the time. In 1989, the Convention on the Rights of the Child was adopted by the UN General Assembly. This Convention deals not only with children's rights, but with the responsibility of the child to respect the basic rights of others in their family and community. According to UNICEF, it has become the most universally accepted human rights instrument in history. It has been ratified by every country in the world except two-the United States and Somalia. It is also the first legally binding international instrument dealing specifically with children to incorporate the full range of human rights - from civil and political rights to economic, social and cultural rights.

Sources: Amnesty International, the Children's Defense Fund, and UNICEF

Organization Links:

A Bullet Can't Kill a Dream:
The Kids Campaign to Build A School for Iqbal

Amnesty International Human Rights Network:
Campaigns for the rights of the child.

Casa Alianza:
Provides news related to children's rights in Latin America, a searchable database on bibliographies, and press information.

Centre for Europe's Children:
Information site for European's children's rights and related policies.

Child Rights Information Network:
Comprehensive site covering many issues relating to children's rights.

Children's Defense Fund:
The mission of the Children's Defense Fund is to "Leave No Child Behind."This site provides information on child care, health care, education, and the needs of underserved children.

Free the Children:
International organization run by children and teenagers that empowers young people to address issues related to children's rights.

Friends of Children:
Promotes public awareness of child sexual abuse.

Soldier Child International:
Organization providing relief to children who have been abducted and forced into being a child soldier in northern Uganda.

Stop the Use of Child Soldiers:
Ongoing campaign run by Human Rights Watch protesting the use of child soldiers. Includes news, reports, and interviews dealing with child soldiers.

Advocates and works for the protection of children's rights.

Working Group on Girls:
Organization that tracks the efforts of governments to improve the lives of girls.

Child Labor Organization Links:

Child Labor Coalition:
Organization that promotes the safety, education and well-being of working minors.

Child Workers in Asia:
Information about child labor issues in Southeast Asia.

International Child Labor Program:
Part of the US Department of Labor's Bureau of International Labor Affairs, the ICLP compiles reports on international child labor and administers grants to organizations seeking to eliminate child labor.

Rugmark Foundation USA:
Non-profit organization working to eradicate child labor around the globe.

Stolen Dreams:
Photographs by David Parker, MD, MPH of children working in a variety of occupations worldwide.

Bibliography and Publication Links:

Amnesty International:
Press releases and reports on human rights issues and children.

By the Sweat and Toil of Children: Volume V
Report provided by International Child Labor Program.

Convention on the Rights of the Child:
UN treaty adopted by General Assembly on November 20, 1989 and entered into force on September 2, 1990. Includes a link to "status of ratifications."

Human Rights Internet reports and articles:
Collection of resources related to children's rights maintained by Human Rights Internet.

UNICEF Publications:
Listings of comprehensive reports on children's rights.

World Organization Against Torture:
Country by country reports on the rights of the child.


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