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Promoting human rights through technology

I came to law school to learn the skills that will allow me contribute to the promotion of human rights around the world. I believe that human rights law offers us the best opportunity to live in peace and harmony in an increasingly globalized world. The universal declaration of human rights (UDHR), replicated in regional human rights instruments, is perhaps the most important document that humanity has created through universal consensus. The document is a safety net for all human beings, especially the most vulnerable among us. Where the greatest religions have failed to unite us, the universal declaration has.

Unfortunately, it seems to me that the UDHR does not have as much exposure as the instruments that are taught in our churches and mosques and synagogues. Perhaps it is because the UDHR is relatively late in arriving. But after seventy years of its existence, I sometimes wonder if the UDHR will ever have the prominence that it deserves. I believe that there are enough people who care about spreading the universal message of human rights, provided that they have the logistical means. This is particularly difficult because, unlike religious prophets, human rights campaigners do not usually pretend to be vicegerents of God or that their message is divine. And since many people who need the protection provided by the UDHR trust God more than their fellow human beings, they would rather seek deliverance in their places of worship and wait for their reward in the afterlife.

I think this trend can be reversed through technology at least for two reasons. First, the human rights regime is not in any way late in the technology market. In fact, it should have advantage over other global regimes given that it emerged about the same epoch as the internet. Second, I believe that human rights language is more compatible with technological advancement than other global regimes because both human rights and technology inherently promote one thing: the equality of human beings. I therefore believe that through the development of free human rights apps, interactive websites, and social media outlets, the work of human rights campaigners should become much easier, and the UDHR should become the “New Bible” of the world.

-Musah Abubakar