15 inspiring human rights quotes

Credit: Jurgen Schadeberg www.jurgenschadeberg.com
Credit: Jurgen Schadeberg www.jurgenschadeberg.com

1. “To deny people their human rights is to challenge their very humanity.”

Nelson Mandela, South African civil rights activist
Credit: © Anders Hellberg
Credit: © Anders Hellberg

2. “Activism works. So what I’m telling you to do now, is to act. Because no one is too small to make a difference.” 

Greta Thunberg, Swedish climate change activist and Amnesty International Ambassador of Conscience
Credit: Amnesty International Norway
Credit: Amnesty International Norway

3. “It means a great deal to those who are oppressed to know that they are not alone. Never let anyone tell you that what you are doing is insignificant.” 

Desmond Tutu, South African civil rights activist

Credit: © Pablo Mekler
Credit: © Pablo Mekler

4. “If you want to improve your quality of life and the quality of life for all women, never stop questioning society or calling for change.” 

Justina De Pierris, Argentinian student activist
Credit: Getty Images
Credit: Getty Images

5. “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

Martin Luther King, African-American civil rights activist
Credit: Stig Michaelsen
Credit: Stig Michaelsen

6. “The candle burns not for us, but for all those whom we failed to rescue from prison, who were shot on the way to prison, who were tortured, who were kidnapped, who ‘disappeared’. That’s what the candle is for.”

Peter Benenson, founder of Amnesty International
Credit: Amnesty International / Ilya van Marle
Credit: Amnesty International / Ilya van Marle

7. “Peace can only last where human rights are respected, where the people are fed, and where individuals and nations are free.”

14th Dalai Lama
Credit: Amnesty International
Credit: Amnesty International

8. “Letters aren’t just a simple gesture of solidarity, they become a source of hope and they have the potential to change people’s lives. I am living proof.” 

Nestor Fantini, former political prisoner in Argentina
Credit: Blair Millar/Amnesty International
Credit: Blair Millar/Amnesty International

9. “People put up walls between each other – and it’s largely down to ignorance or negative media portrayals. We fail to realize there are so many good things and so many good people in this world.”

John Sato, World War Two veteran who took four buses to join an anti-racism march in Auckland after the March 2019 Christchurch shootings
Credit: AFP/Getty Images
Credit: AFP/Getty Images

10. “A political struggle that does not have women at the heart of it, above it, below it, and within it is no struggle at all.”

Arundhati Roy, Indian author
Credit: Amnesty International
Credit: Amnesty International

11. “Let us remember: One book, one pen, one child, and one teacher can change the world.”

Malala Yousafzai, Pakistani education activist
Credit: Amnesty International
Credit: Amnesty International

12. “My government makes me angry. The police force makes me angry. Homophobia makes me angry. Luckily, anger is what motivates me.” 

Zhanar Sekerbayeva, an LBQ activist from Kazakhstan
Credit: Amnesty International
Credit: Amnesty International

13. “I never thought I’d be talking about police brutality and standing up for human rights. You never know what people are going through until it happens to you.” 

Monicah Njoroge, Kenyan civil rights activist whose brother Evans was murdered after taking part in a peaceful protest
Bob Marley, Jamaican reggae singer
Credit: Cover/Getty Images

14. “Get up, stand up, Stand up for your rights. Get up, stand up, Don’t give up the fight.”

Bob Marley, Jamaican singer
Credit: Private
Credit: Private

15. “Humanitarian work isn’t criminal, nor is it heroic. Helping others should be normal.”

Seán Binder, volunteer who was detained after provided life-saving assistance to refugees in Greece 

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