Human Rights Day 2011 Goes Viral

NEW YORK (8 December 2011) – An unprecedented social media campaign built around the Universal Declaration of Human Rights has been gathering momentum in the run-up to Human Rights Day, which is celebrated every year on December 10.

Citing new viewing statistics, the UN human rights office said Thursday that during the month of the campaign’s daily postings, the UN Facebook and Weibo pages running the campaign have been viewed more than 8 million times.

“Never before have we seen such a vibrant discussion on human rights and the Universal Declaration,” said UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay. “I encourage as many people as possible to join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter using #CelebrateRights.”

“2011 has been an extraordinary year for human rights, especially in the Middle East and North Africa, but also in many other countries where people have mobilized, often with the help of social media, to demand their basic human rights,” Pillay said. “In 2011, human rights went viral.”

The "Celebrate Human Rights" social media campaign has engaged a rapidly expanding online audience since the first element – a discussion on Facebook and Twitter in English, French and Spanish called “30 Days and 30 Rights” – was launched on 10 November. The campaign is also being carried in Chinese on Weibo. It counts down to Human Rights Day with a daily posting about one specific article of the Universal Declaration’s 30 articles.

The “30 Days and 30 Rights” Facebook pages, in English, French and Spanish, have already received nearly 2 million views. The top ten cities from where people have accessed the Facebook pages are currently Tunis, London, Giza (Egypt), Cairo, Geneva, New York, Dhaka, Jakarta, Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur. On Weibo, the Chinese equivalent of Facebook/Twitter, the UN page has had more than 6 million views.

The UN Human Rights office said hundreds of questions have been pouring in via different social media platforms for a global human rights dialogue Navi Pillay is hosting in New York on the eve of Human Rights Day, during which she will answer questions from all corners of the world. More than 800 questions were received within the first three days via Weibo alone. A sampling of the questions can be seen on Storify at:

A second element in the “Celebrate Human Rights” campaign involves a special interactive microsite, that encourages people to choose their favourite human right from the Universal Declaration, blow out the birthday candles and make a wish for everyone, everywhere to enjoy that right. 10 December is the birthday of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, created 63 years ago, and holder of the world record for most translated document in the world - currently into 382 languages.

The campaign also features a specially produced “mash up” video, which can be viewed at produced by electronic music and video artist Pogo whose material has been watched more than 35 million times on the Internet.

The creative concept for the campaign was developed by Lowe and Partners, the global advertising agency.
“Our hope is that through the various elements of this campaign – which we plan to extend well beyond Human Rights Day – we will engage large numbers of people all across the world, who up until now have not been aware we all have the same rights,” Pillay said. ”As the viewing statistics and questions pouring in for the Human Rights Day event show, the campaign is already bearing fruit.”

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