Four law firms are hosting this exhibition to celebrate International Human Rights Day

On 10 December, International Human Rights Day, four prominent law firms are opening the exhibition My Human Rights Hero in their buildings. Justice and Peace developed this exhibition to highlight the thirty articles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and the many people that dedicate themselves to improve human rights worldwide. With the exhibition NautaDutilh (Amsterdam en Rotterdam), Houthoff en HVG Law are emphasizing the importance of the universal human rights in their daily practice. With this they want to inspire both their staff and their clients. As affiliates of Pro Bono Connect the four law firms offer pro bono legal advice or support in legal proceedings to organizations and initiatives that promote human rights or the public interest.

The exhibition will be available in 2020 for other organizations, companies and educational institutions. Contact us for more information about the options and costs.

Thirty skins, five change makers

Worldwide, and in the Netherlands, countless people are committed to realising human rights, for themselves and for others. They do this, for example, by standing up against violations, by calling perpetrators to account, ensuring governments to stay true to their commitments, or by helping and teaching others to realise their rights. In some places, this can even be dangerous work. Who are these human rights defenders? What do they do to realise human rights? And how did they get inspired? What is the meaning of the 30 articles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) nowadays?

Artist Julia Brants depicted the answers to these questions on the basis of five unique portraits made by photographer Gregor Servais. In addition, thirty people from all over the world borrowed their skin as the background for the articles, emphasizing that human rights are universal and apply to everyone. Visitors to the exhibition can take and send postcards of the articles on the skins photographed by Arno Rotte.

The portrayed

“The UDHR has been translated by the UN into the Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers, the rights of the lawyer. These are specifically about the crucial role of the lawyer in the constitutional state. The extent to which the independent role of the lawyer is protected, is a measure of the rule of law and therefore also of human rights. I think the developments in recent months in the Netherlands illustrate that it is not a certainty that lawyers will always be safe. (Joost Italianer, NautaDutilh)

One of those portrayed is Joost Italianer, a former partner and currently working as an adviser at the NautaDutilh law firm. In the exhibition he makes a plea for respect for human rights and for the support and protection of those who defend them. The other people portrayed are: Kathleen Ferrier (former politician and (among others) human rights teacher at the Asian university for women in Bangladesh), Christina Moreno (human rights lawyer and founder of the She Matters foundation), Marcel Kleizen (co-founder of the social enterprise Humanity Cab ) and Paul Vriend ((former) employee of The Ocean Cleanup).

“That is the great message of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights: the basic realization that it should not make a difference where you were born, what you look like, what your way of thinking or sexual preference is, whatever – the fact that you are a human being gives you certain rights and that is something I think ‘yes, that still needs to be promoted very strongly’” – Kathleen Ferrier

Listen to the full interviews (Kathleen and Marcel are in Dutch only):

  •     Christina Moreno – 70 years UDHR
  •     Kathleen Ferrier – 70 years UDHR
  •     Marcel Kleizen – 70 years UDHR

My Human Rights Hero is an initiative of human rights organization Justice and Peace Netherlands in collaboration with the Nederlands Juristen Comité voor de Mensenrechten (NJCM) and Pro Bono Connect. Contact us via info [@] justiceandpeace.nl for more information about the possibilities and costs of hosting this exhibition.

Pass on the inspiration!

Kathleen Ferrier
Joost Italianer