Human Rights Advocacy

This was a school project to create three different pieces advocating for human rights. I chose Articles 18, 25-1, and 05. The deeper I got into this project, the more and more I realized it has opened my own eyes to the world around me. I do hope this will make you think, just like it did to me. You may find the Universal Declaration of Human Rights here.

 
Bus Stop Ad
Bus Stop Ad Close Up
Bus Stop Ad Close Up 2
 

The first piece in the series conveys Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

My concept for this image began when I came across a poll that said the majority of US citizens wouldn't vote for an atheist presidential candidate. I was trying to convey that these candidates running for elections shouldn't have to hide what they religiously do or don't believe in order to get votes—they should be elected on their character, work ethic, and community values. The figure in the image is hiding behind an American mask, but his true beliefs are still showing through. The quote "Don't make him a 'true' politican" is a statement to the public meaning don't make your judgements revoke his human rights of free thought and religion. Don't make him lie about himself to get your vote...like a true politician would do.

 

 
Article 25-1 Magazine Spread
Article 25-1 Magazine Spread Close Up
Article 25-1 Magazine Spread Angle 2
 

The second piece in the series conveys Article 25-1.

My concept for this second image came to me while watching commercials about the starving children not only in third-world countries, but throughout the entire world. I realized that I would watch these commercials and think about how much pain those poor children are in, but once the commercial was over I would grab a bag of chips and continue watching whatever television show was playing. I wanted to address this issue of ignorance by creating an image striking enough to grab your attention.

The intense boy seems to peer at you with eyes that ask, "Why?...Why are you doing this to me? To you? To us?" while his skeletal body holds himself together. You can see the pain in his heart—literally. With the phrase "We allow ourselves to suffer in silence" I'm trying to say that we (humans) are allowing ourselves (other humans) to suffer in silence. Nobody really wants to talk about it because they're so focused on themselves. We all need to find our humanity and reach out a hand.

 

 
Article 05 Poster
When a man accuses his wife, she must prove her innocence. That is the law. On the other hand, if a wife accuses her husband, she must prove his guilt. Do you understand?
— David Diaan's character, Ebrahim, in "the stoning of soraya m."
Article 05 Close Up 1
Article 05 Poster Close Up 2
 

The final piece in the series conveys Article 05.

The concept for this piece is based off a film called The Stoning of Soraya M.—a true story adapted from the 1990 book La Femme Lapidée by French journalist Freidoune Sahebjam. It's about an Iranian woman that gets wrongly accused of adultery by her husband for his own selfish reasons. Her husband wanted to frame her so that she would be killed and he could go marry a 14 year-old girl and not have to pay child support. The husband goes around the village threatening people to be "eye witnesses" to Soraya's fictitious adulterous acts so that the mayor has "proof" in order to condemn her to death by stoning. Ali, Soraya's husband, is unfortunately successful with his malicious plan and the men of the village condemn her to death. 

After multiple failed attempts to escape and plead her way out, Soraya regrettably accepts her fate and decides to wear her wedding dress to the execution. She is then buried waist-deep in the earth, and her father decides to disown her and throw the first rock. That rock is followed by more thrown by her husband, her own sons, and the rest of the village men. She gets hit over and over again until she eventually falls limp.

This story hit me hard... It was the only thing I could think about for the next few days, mostly because I was completely oblivious that cruelty like this still existed in the world. It's such a patriarchal society that the woman didn't stand a chance. The illustration pictures Soraya buried waist-deep in her bloodied wedding dress with a gaping gash in her forehead pouring over her face. The rocks and lies are scattered below. The violet flower in her hair symbolizes humility and faithfulness.

 
 
 

Created at Minnesota State University Moorhead.

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*This project is student work and for educational purposes only. It is not affiliated with Amnesty International in any way.