Things Don’t Have Rights – OHCHR

Date: 09.05.2018
Category: Human Rights

By Raj Yagnik

In October 2017, we began work on a project for the Office of the High Commission for Human Rights for launch in Spring 2018.

Although people have a vague idea that they have human rights, they seemed ignorant of the role of the Human Rights Treaties and Treaty Bodies that oblige governments to respect those rights. The OHCHR wanted to have a film which would appeal to 16-25 year- olds who were already starting to engage with civil society.

I came up with an idea of having a number of short films or GIFs representing individual rights (one from each core treaty) for use in social media, linking to a longer film which would explain the concept of the treaty bodies in an entertaining way.

Working with visionary animator Nicolai Troshinsky, we developed a concept based around bad things happening to objects. ‘Things do not have rights’.

The concept was inspired by the work of Serge Bloch, but using objects for their qualities, rather than their shape. By late March we had 11 finished films: ten short 30 second films – one for each core human rights treaty –  and one longer film explaining the role of Governments and the United Nations in safe-guarding your Rights.

You can watch these in below or at ohchr.org/TreatyBodies where you can also find versions in French and Spanish.

Things Don’t Have Rights – 10 x 30 seconds
Animation by Nicolai Troshinsky
Produced by Raj Yagnik
Music by Roma Yagnik
Sound design by Ruth Rainey.

These very short films are very clean, with a clear and uncomplicated message. The longer ‘explainer’ film about the complex Treaty Bodies was rather more challenging.

Starting with the concept of the objects we developed the idea of the glove as government and Tim Drage added the idea of an amalgam of “expert” objects coming together to form the ‘hero robot’ Treaty Bodies:

The United Nations Human Rights Treaty Bodies –  3 minutes 15 seconds
Produced and Directed by Raj Yagnik
Animation Tim Drage
Music by Roma Yagnik
Sound design by Ruth Rainey.

We’re really proud of how the films have turned out and are hoping that they can find an audience outside the NGO bubble, perhaps in schools where they can help provoke discussion and curiosity about how humans should treat one another.