mardi 10 août 2010


By Tikum Mbah Azonga

Surely, we have all heard of human rights, especially when there are so many Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs) out there championing the cause. However, such bodies are usually adult ones in the sense that they are set up by adults and run by adults. As might be expected, some of these organizations have focused on the protection of the rights of children and youth, thus making this vulnerable group a major beneficiary of human rights protection initiatives.


However, that status quo is set to be reversed now because one NGO is already on the field and working all out with youth as its target group. Not only is the organization championing human rights for youth, it is actually also involving youth and empowering them by encouraging them to step in and run the show by themselves. The NGO is called Youth for Human Rights International (YHRI) and is based in the United States.

In its publicity publication entitled What Are Human Rights?, the NGO states that it “is a non-profit, tax-exempt organization headquartered in Los Angeles and with chapters across the world. YHRI was founded in 2001 to educate youth in human rights so they can become advocates for tolerance and peace.”


YHRI has a practical hands-on approach which consists of sending out carefully prepared and packaged audiovisual and printed human rights materials to those who request them. It does not mater in what part of the world the interested person is. The organization distributes its materials to anybody anywhere. The ultimate aim is to sensitize young people worldwide and get them actively involved in human rights advocacy, each participant working in his or her region.


The first thing to do to get involved is to order the package from the organization. This can be done by either telephoning the organization or by emailing it, or even in writing. The contact details of the organization can be found at the end of this article. Once you receive your package, there are a number of things you can do. According to the recommendations spelt out by YHRI in the publication entitled The Story of Human Rights, you can visit the website in order to find out what other youth are doing in support of human rights. You can watch the CD that was enclosed in your package. It is a captivating well designed and executed piece of work depicting activities in human rights advocacy. You can start your own youth human rights group in your area, with YHRI supporting you every inch of the way. Having done all the groundwork, you can now start teaching other youth about human rights issues. If you need more CDs or booklets or the entire package, you can always contact YHRI.

What are human rights?

According to YHRI, “these are the rights to which everyone is entitled – no matter who they are or where they live – simply because they are a human being.” YHRI goes on to point out that there are thirty human rights which include the right to live in freedom and safety, the right to travel, the right to belong to a country, the right to own things and share them, the right to believe what you want to believe and the right to say what you believe. These rights also include the right to do the things you enjoy doing.

The YHRI publication states: “Over the centuries, the idea that everyone should have rights became more accepted. But it wasn’t until after World War II, the most terrible war in history, that the leading nations realized they had to create a document to include all human rights. That document is called the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and it contains the thirty rights to which all people are entitled. The first of these rights states that everyone is born free and equal. Everyone has their own thoughts and ideas. And everyone should be treated the same way.”

Contact details

Youth for Human Rights International (YHRI)
1954 Hill Hurst Ave # 416
Los Angeles
CA 90027

Copyright 2010

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