United Nations Hosts 12th Annual International Human Rights Summit

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Youth from 33 nations attended the three-day 12th annual summit of Youth for Human Rights International at UN headquarters in New York to hone their skills for human rights advocacy. The summit was co-organized by Youth for Human Rights International and the Human Rights Department of the Church of Scientology International.

Youth delegate Amanda Abeyshinge of Sri Lanka: "My belief is that it is never too soon or late to speak up and stand up for one's own rights and the rights of others."

Youth delegate Amanda Abeyshinge of Sri Lanka: "My belief is that it is never too soon or late to speak up and stand up for one's own rights and the rights of others."

Truly, human rights based society can be achieved if we strengthen youth participation, ensure inclusion and non‐discrimination, and create a culture that promotes accountability and social justice

Youth representing 33 nations selected for their outstanding accomplishments in human rights proudly entered UN Conference Room 4 carrying their country flags in the opening ceremony of the 12th annual Human Rights Summit at United Nations Headquarters in New York.

With limitless energy, optimism and promise, the youths inspired UN staff, NGO representatives and other dignitaries attending the event. The final day was an open house and a special farewell concert hosted by the Church of Scientology of New York, honoring the Youth for Human Rights delegates and sending them off to their countries to apply what they learned at the summit.

“Young people, the youth of today, should be helped to truly understand what human rights mean for every living person,” said Ambassador Ireneo Namboka in his keynote speech to the youths. “They are the answers to the ills that are the root cause of greed, hate, cruelty, as well as wars and misery today."

General Madame Kwamu Nana of the Cameroon National Commission on Human Rights and Freedoms emphasized the importance of the work the youths are doing and encouraged them to persevere. “As you continue with the struggle for Human Rights across the globe, place all your trust in success and you will succeed,” she said. “Peace is not the absence of challenges. Peace is the ability to maintain stability in the midst of challenges.”

Ravi Karkara, Strategic Adviser Partnership Beijing+20 to the Assistant Secretary-General and Deputy Executive Director UN Women told the delegates, “Truly, human rights based society can be achieved if we strengthen youth participation, ensure inclusion and non‐discrimination, and create a culture that promotes accountability and social justice.”

Former aide to Eleanor Roosevelt Ms. Ella Torrey captured the imagination of all in attendance when she described the standing ovation Ms. Roosevelt received from the General Assembly on their unanimous adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), recognizing her work as the chair of the UDHR drafting committee and the driving force behind the creation of the world’s premier human rights document.

Dr. Mary Shuttleworth, Founder and President of Youth for Human Rights International, presented Torrey with one of five 2015 Human Rights Hero Awards for the legacy of her many years of human rights advocacy. Other Hero Awards recipients were Andrew Chalmers from the UK for seeing to the human rights education of 250,000 young people in India; Joao Maria Tapel and Clinton Domingos Guterrer for their work in East Timor to turn former gang members into human rights activists; Youth Ambassador Demme Durrett from the USA and her mother Sherry for their work in staging human rights events and promoting human rights education through TV and radio programs; and Youth for Human Rights Germany for their tireless promotion of human rights education for the past seven years.

Day two of the three-day Summit was the Youth for Human Rights Leadership Workshop at the UN, where seasoned human rights activists ran individual sessions, sharing their own experience with the delegates, answering questions, and giving them direction and tools they can use to accomplished maximum impact in their work.

Delegates then gathered in focus groups to discuss goals and strategy followed by each delegate drafting a plan for his activities over the coming year.

Youth for Human Rights International (YHRI) is a nonprofit organization founded in 2001 by Dr. Mary Shuttleworth. Its purpose is to inspire youth to become advocates for tolerance and peace through education on the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Right s.

The 12th annual International Human Rights Summit was organized by Youth for Human Rights International in partnership with Global Education Motivators, Africa Diaspora Foundation, Artists for Human Rights, Ferguson Humanitarian Foundation International, the Human Rights Department of the Church of Scientology International, and Irving Sarnoff, Friends of the United Nations.

The Scientology religion was founded by author and philosopher L. Ron Hubbard. The first Church of Scientology was formed in Los Angeles in 1954 and the religion has expanded to more than 11,000 Churches, Missions and affiliated groups, with millions of members in 167 countries. Learn more at http://www.Scientology.org

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