The Guardian

Human dignity is in danger. In 2019 we must stand as one to survive | Ai Weiwei

Persecution, censorship and environmental destruction are on the rise – but resistance is possible
A footprint of a Rohingya refugee at a camp in Bangladesh, 2018, by Ai Weiwei. Photograph: Ai Weiwei Studio

What does it mean to be human? That question sits at the core of human rights. To be human has specific implications: human self-awareness and the actions taken to uphold human dignity – these are what gives the concept of humanity a special meaning.

Human self-awareness and human actions determine the interplay between individual thought and language and the wider society. It is our actions as humans that deliver economic security, the right to education, the right to free association and free expression; and which create the conditions for protecting expression and encouraging bold thinking. When we abandon efforts to uphold human dignity, we forfeit the essential meaning of being human, and when we waver in our commitment to

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from The Guardian

The Guardian2 min read
Sky-high Selfies: Japan Warns US Over 'Outrageous' Antics Of Military Pilots
Marine corps pilots took photos and read books while flying, according to a US military investigation
The Guardian5 min readPolitics
‘The Scene Has Exploded’: China Gets Set To Be Leading Global Centre For Art
Shanghai is fuelling China’s transition to world’s biggest art market – despite the thorny issue of censorship
The Guardian3 min read
Scientist Who Takes On Firms Causing Wildfires Wins John Maddox Prize
A scientist who takes on the companies responsible for massive wildfires across Indonesia has won the prestigious John Maddox prize for standing up for science in the face of harassment, intimidation and lawsuits. Bambang Hero Saharjo, a fire forensi