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United for Human Rights

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Boom. On the 9-10 May 2009, during the music festival of Mano Mundo, the Belgian chapter of Youth for Human Rights (YHR) with its booth decorated with two “United” banners was promoting to the passer-by the importance of having the youth and the teens educated on the principles laid in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). TheYHR team was distributing to youth and families a little booklet entitled “What are human rights ?.” The team was also successfully collecting signatures to be sent to the government to enforce the teaching of human rights in schools. Indeed, YHR considers that only a responsible education on human rights can contribute to build a better world where everybody can live with dignity and justice.

Despite the UDHR was signed in 1948, and 192 countries are members of the United Nations, 90% of people are unable to name more than 3 of their 30 rights. Meanwhile, millions of people continue to suffer because their rights are not respected. 15 000 children are dying of starvation and 27 million people live as slaves. For that reason the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Mrs N. Pillay decided that 2009 will be “the Year of learning human rights”. YHR International, to back up the UN High Commissioner, decided to organize worldwide a public petition signature to get the basic human rights principles from the UDHR taught in all the schools of the planet.

“Human rights are very important in order to have a happy life and justice for all, to live in peace and harmony” said this woman in her 40'ies, met in Mano Mundo. If we go back in the history, more than 2500 years ago the first principles for human rights were already laid down. Cyrus the Great, founder of the Persian Empire stated : “I will respect the traditions, customs and religions of the nations of my empire,…I never let anyone oppress any others,… I prevent slavery and my governors and subordinates are obliged to prohibit exchanging men and women as slaves within their own ruling domains. Such a tradition should be exterminated the world over.” He freed over 40,000 captive Jewish from Babylon.

This can be done again if the people and the youth can learn and then apply to their life the principles of human rights. To help educate youth on human rights and tolerance, YHR International, established in 2001, has produced a DVD illustrating the 30 articles of the UDHR under the form of 30 short video clips. Any teacher, educator, association can get a copy of the YHRI DVD on simple request.

Information : www.youthforhumanrights.org www.jongerenvoormensenrechten.be