During the eighth annual Youth Day celebration, held recently at Yonge-Dundas Square, Youth for Human Rights’ (YHR) large and colourful spinning wheel was hard to miss. At the event which drew people of all ages and backgrounds, the wheel would spin and land on one of 30 fundamental human rights.
Youth Day is a free festival which celebrates the positive achievements of young people by showcasing their music, dance, art, photography, fashion and film. The event is considered the largest youth festival of its kind.
YHR is an organization committed to teach youth about human rights, specifically the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), and inspire them to become advocates for tolerance and peace. It has grown into a global movement including hundreds of groups, clubs and chapters around the world.
“We were very impressed with the people’s willingness and interest in finding what their human rights were,” said Nicole Crellin, Youth for Human Rights Toronto director. “The majority had no idea that they had these rights. Some had already heard about it and were already using the materials in their classrooms, in their community centers and other venues to engage others in building a better world.
“The educational materials include the UNITED music video including an anti-bullying message that has captured the imagination of people around the world. There are also 30 short public service message videos depicting the 30 Articles of the Declaration. They can be used by any individual or group from any denomination who wants to educate others that these fundamental rights and freedoms must be respected and protected by all nations of the world, starting with our own country.”
During the festival, volunteers collected nearly 300 signatures for a petition calling on governments and public and private sector organizations to promote the Universal Declaration of Human Rights through education campaigns, events, broad publication and dissemination of the Declaration to children and adults throughout the world.
The signatures collected at the Youth Day celebration will be added to some 4,000 that were previously received, which YHR will be present to the government in the near future.
For more information about YHR, visit: www.youthforhumanrights.org.