6 New Year's Resolutions for Human Rights

by Carolina Veloso

Unrealistic expectations and empty promises seem to make up most of new year’s resolution. In this blog, we offer you a list of objectives you can works towards to turn 2024 into a year centered on supporting and defending human rights. Give these suggestions a go and have a beautiful year with meaningful progress to your human rights advocacy.

Photo by Tairon Fernandez

As the clock reaches 00:00 on the 31st of December, you’re once again faced with an yearly question: What will your new year’s resolutions be? We may have a proposal for you…3…2…1… Human Rights. Take the chance of a new start and a new year to begin or reiterate your commitment to human rights. To help you, we have compiled a list that brings day-to-day action to the advocacy and protection of human rights.

(Numeration was used only for the purpose of creating a list)


#1 – Information is the key to change

Everyone has heard about human rights, mostly known by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. However, human rights has been a growing field in research from what do human rights mean practically or how can human rights stand undeniable and unquestionable in any society. From an empirical point of view, human rights have served as the basis of many advocacy movements for social justice and social action projects.

Being aware and knowledgeable of the work of advocacy and non-profit organisations will allow you to support and implement human rights centered-action in your life and work. For this you can follow and read the work of organisations like Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Freedom From Torture, among others. Although many newspapers and media outlets report on human rights related topics, their coverage includes political and geopolitical interest, whereas NGOs focus on the humanistic perspective of human rights. This means a wide variety of sources may give you a more complex and nuanced picture of the concern in question.


Resolution: Follow (and commit to reading) a new NGO account on your social media.


#2 – One voice can make a choir heard

“If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.”
– Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

Discouraged by a world that is “always burning, since the world’s been turning” (yes, we didn’t start the fire), many may believe that their voice, among so much noise, is useless and irrelevant. Some are forecasted, others hushed away, some are interrupted, others the interrupters, not all voices carry the same privilege and not all voices carry the voices of thousands. However, one voice carries little importance if there is no one listening or no one joining the choir. Millions of voices were responsible for the world recognition of the chant Woman, Life, Freedom, leading to Narges Mohammadi receiving the 2023 Nobel Peace Prize for her fight for gender equality.  Voices were required to gain global acknowledgment that police brutality is associated with the Black Lives Matter movement. Millions of voices are responsible for the calling out of injustice, sharing these events and pressuring the government to implement change. Voices are needed. Your voice is needed.


Resolution: Support worldwide movements for social justice by signing petitions, joining protests and sharing reliable information on social media.


#3 – To Do or to Donate (or both)

Supporting human rights and causes that you’re passionate about can have many formats. You may choose to work or volunteer for an NGO, advocate or promote on your platform or work, or donate to an NGO you trust. Donations play a crucial roll in guaranteeing that NGOs can continue operating and providing life saving support. It also recognises their work and incentive to the people and the mission of the organisation. By supporting organisations and their project, you are a contributing part in their mission. If you are looking for volunteering opportunities, check #6.

Resolution: Donate to an NGO that you believe
Resolution (if you’re in Portugal): Participate in IRS in solidarity and consign 0.5% of your IRS to an institution that works for human rights.


#4 – Think before you shop

Nowadays, it is likely that a product that you buy was probably touched by a person across the world. The distance between the maker and the buyer, usually removes the face and the life behind the product, and makes you compulsively trust that the supplier, company and employers respect the lives of the maker and their inherent human rights. As the consumerism networks get bigger and bigger it becomes more and more difficult to understand if the company you’re buying from is aligned with your mission of supporting human rights. However, there are some tools that can help you make better and more responsible choices. For instance, Sustainalytics measures sustainability of businesses, Business & Human Rights Resource Centre researches labor rights, and Behind the Brand measures agriculture policies.

It will always be harder to measure the ways in which larger international companies comply (or not) labor standards and human rights. So why not try to buy more local products from local businesses that you know better?

Why not “a bag full of compassion” tote handmade by Ana and Kate from @ana_kate_art_with_love, available here?


Resolution: Prioritise businesses whose labour and human rights policies you know and respect.


#5 – Practice empathy

Everyone has the capacity of empathy. Usually, this requires people to be in more contact with different realities so that diverse struggles may be comprehensively understood. Art can be one of the strongest bridge builders between people from two completely different contexts. It helps us understand through an informative and emotional lens. Our empathy is stronger for the people we know better and that we most socialize with, which means extending our empathy requires work, practice and commitment. I am a big fan of books so I will leave you with this resolution.


Resolution: Add to your wishlist (and read) two books by authors who are refugees (If you need any help, find cultural recommendations on our monthly newsletter. Sign up in the footer of this page)


#6 – Volunteer (why not at HOM? ;))

Volunteering includes a wide range of activities. It also comes with a long list of ethical considerations to reflect upon before embarking on this journey. Volunteering is essencial for the work of many organisations (including HOM). In a personal level, volunteering can influence your mental health, improve your skills and allow you to understand complex issues from a theoretical and practical perspective.

HOM is recruiting volunteers if you’re looking for the perfect opportunity. Our work consists in a wide range of projects from raising awareness initiatives to fostering social bridges and learning & development. We work mainly online and year long. If you’re interested please contact us, we are always looking for dynamic and curious people to join our mission of promoting justice and solidarity towards refugees by building and facilitating a positive environment that respects their human rights and encourages social unity.


Resolution: Join HOM’s team in advocating for refugees’ right