MAKING HUMAN RIGHTS A REALITY (CONTINUED...)
HUMAN RIGHTS MARATHONS
Making the public aware of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and urging its use have been central to human rights campaigns funded by the IAS and carried out by its members. Beginning in 1998, the IAS sponsored a series of five human rights marathons in Europe which brought the Universal Declaration to the attention of both individual citizens and their elected representatives.
The first of these, the 1998 European Journey for Religious Freedom, celebrated the 50th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration. Starting out in southern England, a team of athletes traveled through eight countries to Frankfurt, Germany where thousands welcomed them at a human rights rally. On their journey, the runners carried a Proclamation for Religious Freedom which embodied the ideals of the Universal Declaration and called upon European governments to respect those rights. Thousands signed the proclamation during the six-week journey and through personal contact, events and media coverage this human rights message was heard or seen by an estimated 33 million people.
The European Marathon for Human Rights of 1999 began its 13-week, 4,500 kilometer journey in Athens and culminated in Hamburg, Germany at a thousands-strong multi-faith rally for human rights. The even larger Marathons for Human Rights in 2000 and 2001, and the Multathlon for Human Rights in 2002 each introduced more and more citizens and officials across Europe to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Concurrent with the marathons, rallies and conferences were held to both spotlight human rights violations and to formulate solutions.