Handwriting by Marisa Mangum
Human rights are the basic rights that every person is entitled to regardless of gender, nationality, religion, and race. On December 10, 1948, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was proclaimed in Paris, France by the United Nations General Assembly. The creation of this document marked the first time human rights had been called to be universally protected. The Declaration has since been translated into more than 500 languages. Examples of human rights listed within the Declaration include the right to a nationality, social security, equal pay for equal work, an education, freedom of opinion and expression, and life, liberty, and security of person.
At The Little Market, we seek out partnerships with artisans in marginalized and disadvantaged populations. Many of our artisan partners work in communities that experience inequality, including gender inequality, discrimination, and lack of equal access to education.
We work with artisans throughout Guatemala. Guatemala has signed and ratified many human rights treaties and has obligations for several standards that require the nation to protect its residents against gender-based violence. But human rights violations still occur, including violence against women, discrimination against individuals with disabilities, and child abuse.
Photo by Jacob Taylor
We also partner with groups that employ female refugees who have moved to the United States to escape conflict in their home countries and to work toward a brighter future for themselves and their families. Based on U.S. law, a refugee is located outside of the United States; is of a special humanitarian concern to the United States; can show that he or she was persecuted or fears persecution based on nationality, membership in a certain social group, political opinion, race, or religion; is not firmly resettled in another nation; and is admissible to the United States. In many cases, refugees are fearful of returning to their home countries or cannot do so due to reasons such as persecution, violence, or war.
Three members of The Little Market’s team have worked at the Human Rights Watch, a nonprofit and nongovernmental organization that defends the rights of individuals throughout the world. Although progress has been made in human rights laws, there is more that can be done to ensure equality and safety. Each of us can do our part and stand up for the rights of others every day to work toward achieving equal rights and human rights for everyone. Whether it’s working with organizations such as Human Rights Watch or speaking up in our own communities — you can find a way to get involved.
United Nations Human Rights – Office of the High Commissioner
United Nations – Universal Declaration of Human Rights
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
USA for UNHCR – What is a refugee?