Global Campus Alumni Engage at "Human Rights 75 Youth Dialogue" in Geneva
A delegation of Global Campus Alumni (GCA) recently took part in the "Human Rights 75 Youth Dialogue" held at the UNHCR headquarters in the Palais des Nations, Geneva on 11 December. In commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the event brought together youth activists and advocates to amplify the HR75 initiative and reaffirm their commitment to human rights.
The delegation was composed of alumni who are already working in Geneva, and others who came from other regions specifically for the event. They brought together their knowledge of human rights monitoring, child rights, advocacy, and human rights law with a spirit to represent the GCA. The GCA coordinator, Hazem Mizyed, and the head of the GC Capacity Development unit, Adriano Remiddi, also took part in the event.
The OHCHR event not only celebrated the Universal Declaration's milestone but also marked the launch of a Youth Declaration and a Youth Rights Advocacy Toolkit , which aims to inspire and empower young people globally to actively advance human rights causes. The event provided a valuable networking space for the participating Global Campus Alumni, fostering connections and creating lasting memories in the beautiful city of Geneva.
Key Themes and Insights from the Event
The opening remarks by Mr. Volker Türk, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, set the tone for the event, emphasizing the role of the Universal Declaration to encourage people to pursue their rights, the importance of youth voices in promoting human rights, and the need for youth to participate in decision making. He mentioned the issue of safety for human rights defenders, and how important education is, especially human rights education, to inspire young people and provide them with an understanding of their fundamental human rights.
Several key themes emerged during the discussions:
1) Youth Activism and Empowerment –The dialogue underscored the critical role of youth activism in advocating for human rights. Participants highlighted the need to protect human rights defenders and emphasized concrete actions by decision-makers to secure their safety. The launch of the Youth Rights Advocacy Toolkitwas highlighted as a valuable resource to empower young advocates.
2) Addressing Global Challenges –Wars, discrimination, gender bias and violence, the scarcity of housing, resources, and the impact of climate change on young people were significant concerns. Participants called for accountability for those responsible for climate change and stressed the importance of putting people before profit.
3) Inclusive Decision-Making –The event emphasized the necessity of inclusive decision-making, especially for vulnerable populations. Representatives of Qatar and the Philippines shared insights into their efforts, including aiming to engage youth in decision making, the development of learning resources, advocacy tools, and policies promoting youth participation.
4) Human Rights Education –Participants stressed the importance of human rights education, advocating for its inclusion in formal and informal education mechanisms. The Youth Dialogue discussed ways the UN can support and connect young people with governments to ensure meaningful participation.
Youth Declaration and Advocacy Toolkit
A group of 12 youth, selected by OHCHR from over 2000 applicants, presented the Human Rights 75 Youth Declaration. Each participant spoke about various causes, including the end of wars, discrimination, child marriage, and climate change. The Youth Advocacy Toolkit, introduced during the event, is poised to be a valuable resource for young advocates worldwide.
The event featured the screening of "Changemakers: Stories of young human rights educators," a documentary developed by OHCHR, Amnesty International, and Soka Gakkai International. The documentary showcased inspiring stories of young human rights educators from around the globe.
The "Human Rights 75 Youth Dialogue" was a platform for meaningful discussions and collaboration. The participation of the Global Campus Alumni not only gave alumni the space to connect with those at the forefront of youth activism and decision making, it also gave them space to have their voices united with other youth calling for putting human rights forward during these troubled times. The participating alumni had the chance to enjoy Geneva and explore parts of it quickly, before departing back. Till next time.
Written by Hazem Mizyed and Ana Teresa C. Khatounian
Human Rights 75 Youth Dialogue: Amplifying the HR75 initiative among young people
Organised on the margins of the Human Rights 75 High-level event, this event allowed young people to express their concerns and expectations about the future of human rights and share their vision of what States, the UN and young people should do to strengthen human rights in the coming years.