“All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.”
– Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, December 10, 1948
65 Years ago, the United Nations declared December 10th as Human Rights Day, commemorating the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights resolution set in 1948. Human Rights Day promotes awareness of human rights issues around the world, and highlights the efforts of the United Nation in improving global human rights conditions for all.
POV invites you to commemorate Human Rights Day in your classroom or community with documentaries exploring some of today’s most pressing human rights issues. You can borrow full DVDs from our free Lending Library, or visit our Educators Page for access to standards-aligned lesson plans and streaming clips for use in the classroom. POV films explore a wide range of topics including solitary confinement, genocide, discrimination, and freedom of the press. Here are some recommended titles:
- The Act of Killing: An Oscar® nominee and the most honored documentary of 2013, this dreamlike, terrifying film asks Indonesian death-squad leaders to dramatize their roles in genocide. In a mind-bending twist, they play both themselves and their victims.
- Beats of the Antonov: Sudanese civilians facing government bombing campaigns celebrate their heritage through music, finding hope and a common identity.
- Enemies of the People: The Khmer Rouge slaughtered nearly two million people in the late 1970s, yet the Killing Fields of Cambodia remain largely unexplained. Until now.
- Give Up Tomorrow: A riveting exposé of corruption and injustice in the Philippines, chronicling a sensational murder case that ends a nation’s use of capital punishment — but fails to free an innocent man.
- Herman’s House: Herman Wallace has spent more than 40 years in a 6’ x 9’ prison cell. He works with artist Jackie Sumell to imagine his “dream home,” questioning justice and punishment in America.
- Special Flight: The plight of undocumented immigrants at a detention center in Geneva, Switzerland, points up contradictions between compassionate social policies and intractable immigration laws.
- The Storm Makers: An eye-opening look at the cycle of poverty, despair and greed that fuels human trafficking in Cambodia.
Borrow the films for free by signing up or logging in to the POV Community Network.