Monday, September 12, 2011

8th Annual Human Rights Youth Summit Creating Leaders through Human Rights Education

15-year old delegate from Sussex wants to educate others about human rights and help make this world a happier and safer place for everyone

Georgia May Todd with Dr. Mary Shuttleworth at the 8th Annual International Human Rights Summit in Geneva

Geneva — 15-year-old Georgia May Todd of East Grinstead, West Sussex joined United Nations representatives, human rights NGOs, leaders of civil and other youth delegates from 30 countries at the 8th Annual International Human Rights Summit in Geneva, August 26-28, 2011.

With the United Nations estimating $7 billion dollars is generated by human trafficking annually, with 700,000 to 4 million women and children sold into forced prostitution, labor and other forms of exploitation each year, human rights education has never been more urgent.

The theme of this year’s summit was, “to create leaders through human rights education,” and included an entire day devoted to training youth delegates in leadership, communication and audio-visual skills to help them maximize their efforts.

Some 250 attendees packed the Hotel President Wilson event hall to capacity August 26—the very room where Youth for Human Rights International (YHRI) was launched 10 years ago.

The youth delegates set the tone of event with a procession featuring the 30 flags of the countries they represented. Master of ceremonies Dr. Mary Shuttleworth, Founder and President of Youth for Human Rights International (YHRI), welcomed the youth and honoured guests.

The Summit featured multi-media presentations covering the human rights activities carried out by the youth delegates in their countries over the past 12 months.

Georgia May, who has recently been campaigning for human rights and educating other youth, said, “If we were all educated in human rights, the world would be a better place. It would be a world full of people that respected one another. There are 30 human rights stated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Before I got involved with YHRI, I was totally unaware of what these were. Because I am now educated in them, I see people differently and respect them more. Now I want to educate others and help make this world a happier and safer place for everyone.”

Speakers included a former U.N. Assistant Secretary General, several representatives of permanent missions to the U.N. and non-government organization (NGO) consultants to the United Nations, and youth delegates from Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Central African Republic, Congo, Denmark, France, Germany, Ghana, Holland, India, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Kenya, Mexico, Morocco, Pakistan, Panama, Russia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, UK, the USA, and the Vietnamese Community.

A highlight of the event was the presentation of Human Rights Hero Awards to five humanitarians for their work to guarantee the rights of others and promote human rights education:
  • Mr. Antonio Lopez, Human Rights Undersecretary of Chiapas, Mexico accepted a Human Rights Hero Award on behalf of Juan Sabines Guerrero, Governor of the State of Chapias, for his work to incorporate the 30 articles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in the new state constitution giving it the force of law to the people for his constituents.
  • Mr. Martin Ponce Rubio, Territorial Director of Jalalpa, Mexico, for nearly two decades of championing youth and for establishing educational and art programs to inform young people of their rights and combat crime and drug trafficking.
  • Ms. Eleonora Frigerio, Vice President of the Association for Human Rights and Tolerance in Italy, for building schools in Ghana for thousands of young children who would otherwise not benefit from the right to education and for providing human rights education to the Tibetan Children in Exile in Dharamshala, India.
  • Ms. Joanne Tawfilis, Founding Executive Director of the Art Miles Mural Project, for promoting peace by involving children from countries throughout the world in painting murals.
  • Dustin McGahee, director of Youth for Human Rights for the Tampa, Florida, for involving YHRI chapters from around the world in the International Walk for Human Rights he established to commemorate Human Rights Day on December 10.
Speaking of the importance of the Annual Human Rights Summit, Mr. Rubio said, “We must build youth leadership to disseminate and defend the Universal Declaration of Human Rights towards a more viable society for present and future humanity.”

The 2011 Summit was co-sponsored by the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Haiti; the Human Rights Department of the Church of Scientology International; Village Suisse NGO/ECOSOC; the Ariel Foundation International; and the Youth for Human Rights Chapters of Geneva and Vaud, Switzerland.

This year’s 30 youth delegates were selected from the nearly 1,000 applicants who submitted human rights essays with evidence of their work to promote human rights education throughout the past year.

For more information, please contact:

Georgia May Todd
South East England YHRI Coordinator
40 Morton Road
East Grinstead
RH19 4AG

+44 (0)7578 320546

No comments: