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A universal emblem for human rights

13 December 2011

What do you see when you think of human rights? This is what the Governments of Bosnia and Herze­govina, Canada, Chile, the Czech Republic, Mauritius, Senegal, Singa­pore and Uruguay, led by Germany, asked when they partnered earlier this year to launch a worldwide competition for the creation of a universally recognized human rights logo.

Some 15,000 entries from 190 countries were registered, demonstrating that people virtually everywhere are committed to the ideals enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This keen interest also revealed that an internationally recognized symbol for human rights was long overdue.                                                                                                                                            

Predrag Stakic of Serbia, the winner of the “Logo for Human Rights” competition, said that logo design was one of his greatest passions and that love and hope motivated him to enter the contest. His design is a mix of two symbols: a bird and a hand.                                                                                                  

“Human rights are the greatest human invention in history,” Stakic said. “As it says in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, they are the very foundation for a future world of freedom, justice and peace. They are also the ultimate tool for building such a world and without them it’s impossible to reach such level of human evolution and development of our civilization. If we don’t understand, respect, protect and fight for human rights, we don’t deserve to be called human.”

Speaking via video message at the unveiling of Stakic’s design in New York, the UN Human Rights chief, Navil Pillay, who was part of the jury of international human rights advocates, noted that a simple image could suffice to galvanise action in favour of human rights.

“The competition organizers remarked that there was no such image visible during the Arab Spring around which protestors could unify. The success of the peaceful protests in toppling dictatorships notwithstanding, they felt such an image would be helpful,” Pillay said. “The crafting of this universal human rights logo in such a short time frame is testament to people’s creativity and their ability to produce a wealth of ideas at the blink of an eye, or a click on a computer, when their imagination is being used for a good cause.”

6 December 2011