In recognition and celebration of the United Nations’ annual global campaign to mark International Human Rights Day (10 December), the second edition of the annual Human Rights Cup will be held at the University of the Western Cape, Cape Town, South Africa from 1-10 December 2019.
The historic inaugural Human Rights Cup 2018 was held in December in Johannesburg at the Bosmont Stadium, South Africa, and was a great success. The official local organising partner for the 2019 edition is uLoyiko, based in Cape Town.
uLoyiko is a youth-led organisation that seeks to promote human rights through theatre and the arts.
Seventy-one years after its adoption by the UN General Assembly, the values enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) are as relevant and timeless as ever. Whilst the UDHR continues to be a source of inspiration at national, continental and global level, this is a challenging time for human rights around the world. The upcoming United Nations International Human Rights Day is an opportunity to reaffirm the universal values and enduring principles enshrined in the Declaration, mobilise people around the world, and take stock of human rights today. The principle of standing up for human rights, and the notion that human rights abuses anywhere are the concern of people everywhere, is an immensely powerful and inspiring ideal for the 21st century.
Busani Sibindi, the founder and chairperson of the Human Rights Cup, commented that the tournament “will appeal to a broad audience in Africa and all over the world in a language the world understands – the universal language of football. Football brings people together across boundaries, cultures and religions to promote peace, tolerance and understanding.’’ Sibindi also added: “Our football players are a new generation of human rights champions and will play a central role in the campaign. Via the Human Rights Cup, they help promote understanding of how the Universal Declaration empowers us all, and encourage engagement in ways that each of us can stand up for rights, every day.”
The Human Rights Cup brings together a group of inspirational football teams that represent the power of hope for a better future and human rights, as well as the empowerment of women and of young people, individuals and communities for health, education and social-inclusion goals. In particular, gender equality is at the heart of human rights and United Nations’ values. The 2019 edition will host 12 teams in all; six teams in the men’s category and six teams in the women’s category. Teams that are expected to grace the 2019 edition are:
* Blue Bird Ladies FC, based in Alexandra Township, Johannesburg. The team is using soccer to empower and develop young girls in the township The Blue Bird Ladies are the current champions of the cup in the women’s category.
* Blue Bird Ladies FC will be joined by a team from the same community, the Malandela Mighty Heroes Football Club, which plies its trade in the third tier of the South African league system. The team is also holding champions of the 2018 edition, after defeating the Matabeleland men’s team on penalties.
* The Matabeleland representative teams will also return to contend for the titles again after losing the finals on penalties to the teams from Alexandria. The Matabeleland teams use football to rebuild their community who, after decades, have not yet healed from decades of oppression and genocide by the late Mugabe regime.
* Debuting in 2019 is the Livingstone Youth Football Academy Ladies, based in Zambia, who are using sport to lift girls from poverty and support their realisation of human rights as well as community development.
* Also expected to make it for the first time is a women’s team from Somalia – the first of its kind. Should they make it, the Golden Girls Sports Centre team will be an interesting addition to the tournament, as they would play all their matches covered in their traditional dress. Beyond all cultural barriers, the team has managed to stay together and excel in playing football and reiterating the need to empower everyone.
Today, at least 10 million people around the world are denied a nationality and statelessness remains a huge problem. Members of marginalised communities and minority groups are often victims of discrimination and exclusion. The teams that participated in the inaugural Human Rights Cup are a positive example of overcoming challenges of marginalisation. In times of war and post-conflict, football can provide youth with a sense of hope. Football can help with programmes focused on peace and reconciliation, and can help rebuild and inspire communities.
Furthermore, there is a growing contribution to the realisation of sport and human rights. Recently, the Human Rights Council held the 2018 UN Social Forum to focus on the possibilities of using sport to promote human rights for all and to strengthen universal respect for them. The Human Rights Cup will also provide a platform for the global moment of sport and human rights.
The cup still does not have a major sponsor, and the international management committee appeals to all human rights champions and well-wishers to come and support this worthwhile initiative. The cup is a growing opportunity for sponsors to benefit from major news and media coverage. It is expected that, as it grows, the event will appeal to media all over the world, including television, newspapers, and magazines, digital and social media. All press releases and publicity for the event will give huge branding and recognition to the sponsors; in addition 2019 sponsors will receive recognition through all marketing and tournament materials including ticketing, advertising, public relations and signage and social and digital media.
On the special occasion of the annual celebrations of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the 2nd Annual Human Rights Cup in South Africa is a unique opportunity to inspire and unite the people of Africa and the world to #standup4humanrights through the beautiful game.
To support the initiative, please donate here.