Local Interim UNESCO Youth for Human Rights Executive Formed

(NATCOM) – St. Kitts, March 02, 2016: An interim executive committee has been formed coming out of a one day workshop held with youth leaders in St. Kitts and Nevis to carry out the work of the Youth for Human Rights Project on Saturday February 27th at the Bird Rock Beach Hotel.  This cadre of young individuals will work closely with the St. Kitts and Nevis National Commission for UNESCO and the UNESCO Youth for Human Rights International (YHRI) based in the United States of America. Officials set the stage by answering fundamental questions in the movement including what are human rights? Do they really exist? How well are they known?  The amount of recognition given to human rights as they sought to establish the St. Kitts and Nevis Chapter of the Club was also highlighted.

Youth For Human Rights Activist, Mr Terry Morris, outlined the history behind the development of the organization.  “The UNESCO funded Youth For Human Rights Awareness Project was officially launched in St. Kitts and Nevis on November 20th, 2014,” he said. It was designed to raise awareness, generate interest and educate and stimulate youth about their human rights.”

The project is currently acknowledged and presented in 196 countries exclusive of the Caribbean Region making St. Kitts and Nevis is the first Caribbean nation to initiate the Youth for Human Rights Project.

According to Morris, “A local chapter of the Youth For Human Rights organization will act as a vehicle for the sustainability of achievements made through the implementation of the Youth for Human Rights Awareness Project.  ... Youth of the Federation will gain exposure to a number of personal and institutional capacity building opportunities that can only augur well for the advancement and development.”      

Mr. Vernon Connor, Special Advisor to the Minister of Youth, expressed the hope of the Ministry of Youth in a presentation to the gathering of young ambassadors; representing youth of every strata of Kittitian and Nevisian society.  He called on those present to be vanguards for their community applying basic tenets as they consider what their lives should look like when proper human rights are being practised.  “I am asking us to use very deep consideration or make very deep consideration for the tenets of peace, decency, morality, and religion within our community.” Mr. Connor underscored his Ministry’s continued commitment to the development of youth and respect for their human rights.

Mr. Antonio Maynard, Secretary General of the National Commission, for said the YHR project is part of a larger project by UNESCO to champion the cause of human rights. Mr. Maynard explained UNESCO’s substantial contribution and support to the human rights initiative. “The Universal values are at the heart of UNESCO’s Mandate,” he said. “Its contribution is therefore considerable. Education in human rights has become a priority for UNESCO which is now recognised as a leader in this field in the United Nations System.”

The Secretary General divulged that a priority for UNESCO is the mainstreaming of human rights in all of its areas of action. “UNESCO has integrated a human rights approach into all of its programmes, projects and activities thereby increasing its contribution to the advancement of human rights.” He added that the protection of human rights is assured by the Committee on Conventions and Recommendations working alongside countries concerned. This committee examines cases and issues in relation to complaints of alleged violation of human rights.

Youth for Human Rights International spokesperson, Mr. Ken Webber, who visited the Federation on the launch of the project, was on hand to share with workshop participants the importance of implementing and being part of such an organization. Mr. Webber showcased the very strong media tool created by the programme which comprises Public Service Announcements and handouts. He said it has been very successful in the delivery of the message and extremely attractive to youth and its target audience, from a packaging standpoint.

Featured presenter, Apostle Dr. Allen Isaac in addressing the Social Impact of Youth for Human Rights Organizations, stated that “Human Rights Violations have been prevalent even before 1948 with the infamous holocaust up to present day (2016). He stated that achieving the objectives of the advancement of Human Rights would require deep introspection. “We will have to start working on ourselves individually because we have a very low level of tolerance. We would have to first become tolerant of the people who are not like us.  I am not talking about expatriates from different cultures. I am talking about among ourselves.”

The UNESCO Youth for Human Rights Chapter of St. Kitts and Nevis will coordinate the process for establishing member clubs for all secondary schools across the Federation. The organization also intends to take a lead role in the creation of network of human rights clubs across the Caribbean Region.

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