We asked Alexandra Haas, Executive Director of Oxfam Mexico and an IWF Fellow, the following question: What are 3 ways we can all defend human rights? She simplifies the actions we can take by using 3 memorable words that make a big impact: Learn. Say. Do. Read more to learn about actions you can take to make a difference and defend human rights globally.

1. Learn

We are all exposed to data and news from all over the world, but it is often difficult to keep up and focus on topics outside of our immediate work and interest. But if globalization has shown us something, it is that inequality and lack of access to rights that has consequences for all of us. If we are to build a better, more equal world, we need to know what happens in other latitudes (or sometimes, even down the road from us), who wins and who loses with inequality, and how we can tackle this worldwide problem. Here are some academics, novelists, and filmmakers to look out for.

Invisible Women: Data Bias in a World Designed for Men, Caroline Criado-Pérez (2019)
Tax, Inequality, and Human Rights, Nikki Reisch and Philip Alston (2019)
Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents, Isabel Wilkerson (2020)

The Handmaid’s Tale, Margaret Atwood (1985)
Americanah, Chimamanda Ngozie Adichie (2013)
Hurricane Season, Fernanda Melchor (2017)

Selma, Ava Duvernay (2014)
Dukthar, Afia Nathaniel (2014)
La Vocera, Luciana Kaplan (2020)

2. Say

Prejudice and stereotypes prevent social change for good. We tend to normalize unfair assumptions about certain people and that contributes greatly to inequality. Whenever you hear somebody say something racist, homophobic, or macho, call them out. It is acceptable (and desirable) to make somebody uncomfortable by expressing prejudice because it is the only way we have of changing power dynamics and social narratives.

3. Do

There are a number of ways in which each of us can contribute to building a better world. Many of you are already doing it in creative and wonderful ways. You can recognize your own privilege, pay fair wages, enact policies that promote diversity and inclusion, raise socially conscious kids, or vote for candidates to office that advance human rights in their agendas. If you feel like you want to do more, join our communities at Oxfam, Amnesty International, or Doctors Without Borders to mention just a few international organizations that have worked for decades on human rights and equality.

Alexandra Haas
Executive Director, Oxfam Mexico
Tw@ahaasp & @oxfammexico