Design vs Human Rights & Justice



What are really Human Rights & Justice?

These are pretty big words that embrace the idea of freedom and equality. Article 1 of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that: “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.” No matter what one’s race, religion, ethnicity, nationality, age, sex, political beliefs, intelligence, sexual orientation, or gender identity is, he or she has rights to be treated equally.



Most people in the United States have a consensus that human rights are so important matters that we all should care about and make laws to protect them. These laws state that no one (even governments) can take away people’s basic rights and whoever takes them away from others will be brought to justice.

Knowing that we have all kinds of rights as we were born, we should look into these lists of human rights issues. You will be surprised by the fact that there are so many different kinds. -> click this lists of human rights

Yet, every country wouldn’t necessarily have all these rights. Every country has different cultural backgrounds and diverse perspectives on this human rights issue. For instance, the government of China seizes strong control of the media in order to secure their political regime. Therefore, Chinese people’s rights to know the truth about what is happening around the world are taken away without them realizing.







What kinds of design action would promote human rights and justice to prevent from this kind of human rights violation happening around the world?

Finding a design solution to help minorities is one way to promote the human rights. This design company called, Eone, came up with this brilliant idea of accommodating both sighted and vision-impaired users equally. Bradley, which they call it as a timepiece instead of a watch, is a good example of how design can bring everyone together and allow them to be equal.




Paralympic gold medalist Brad Snyder is spokesperson for Bradley, a timepiece accommodates both sighted and vision-impaired users equally



On the other hands, design can also aggravate today’s human rights issues and leave the negative impact in our society. In a number of countries, policy makers came up with an idea of extra-wide parking spaces that are designated only for women. They designed this parking spot bigger than normal one and drew the pink line around it. This became a big issue and creates online buzz even today. People are having a huge debate over whether the parking spaces for women are sexist or not. Consequently, this design action led the chaos instead of promoting women’s rights. (Watch this video)

Parking spaces designed for female drivers in Hangzhou, China stirs up controversy.

As you can see from these examples, design actions can take us anywhere and will have impacts on our society. Therefore, all designers like you should be mindful of human rights and justice, and be considerate about the consequence of the design actions that you are about to make.


More readings for those who may want to learn more about what is happening around the world: Human Rights Abuses Happening in US,  Apple Ignores Human Rights Issues.

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