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

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