Youth for Human Rights International
Year 2015 in Review


This was a year of significant global expansion with a daily average of 12 events or presentations at schools and our campaign reaching more than a hundred million people. This included our World Educational Tour, our 12th Youth for Human Rights Day Celebration culminating in our 12th International Human Rights Summit at the United Nations headquarters, and so much more. Our volunteers, collaborators and supporters are the people who cared, worked and made this expansion possible. Thank you!

Youth for Human Rights International (YHRI) was formed in 2001 with the purpose to teach youth about human rights, specifically the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and inspire them to become advocates for tolerance and peace.

In 1948, the United Nations General Assembly signed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and called upon all member countries to “cause it to be disseminated, displayed, read and expounded principally in schools and other educational institutions, without distinction based on the political status of countries or territories.” We continue to do petitions in busy city centers, community events and workshops. This year, thousands more people signed the petition both online and during community outreach activities urging local governments to implement Human Rights Education in all educational facilities.

More than 4.5 million people visited our multi-lingual website, an average of 8 visits a minute, to watch our award-winning videos and more. Hundreds of TV stations around the world donated their airtime showing our videos to an estimated 78 million viewers, up by 20 million from last year. In addition, approximately six thousand teachers and professors received our education packages while our virtual education lessons online continue to serve as valuable resources in schools and colleges.

12th International Human Rights Summit 2015

The 12th annual International Human Rights Summit began with 43 youth delegates representing 32 nations proudly carrying their respective flags at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City. A highlight of the event was the presentation of four Human Rights Heroes Awards for outstanding work promoting Human Rights Education: 

  • Ms. Ella Torrey, former Aide to Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt, the leader in the writing of the UDHR was our first awardee. Ms. Torrey stated, “Each of you can look around your neighborhood, your school and surroundings to find opportunities to make sure every person is aware of his or her rights and freedoms as set forth in the Declaration” adding that “Youth for Human Rights offers excellent audiovisual and printed information to help all of us promote the human rights set forth in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.”
  • East Timor – The YHRI-East Timor team began by teaching their peers in schools, community centers and villages. Like most countries, East Timor has their share of gangs and gang-related crimes. Our teams reached out to those high-risk groups. Workshops were held and slowly but surely gang members were starting to learn and then teach human rights thus making former gang members into Human Rights Defenders. All in all, an estimated 300,000 people were directly reached in East Timor.
  • Germany – The YHRI-Germany team has been a valuable support team for the annual YHRI summits since 2009. Preparations started weeks before the summits. They wrote emails, made phone calls and grids were drawn up to keep track of details and logistics. They helped paint flagpoles and ironed delegate sashes. The team was there to greet the international delegates, got up early and went to bed a little too late. Their tireless support was invaluable to the success of our summits.
  • UK – Mr. Andrew Chalmers has been working with YHRI for years. A highlight has been the work he undertook in partnership with more than 60 Human Rights groups in South Asia. For example, our materials were translated in Nepali then printed locally in Nepal and distributed to the 35,000 members across the country. In the last five years the volunteer team across South Asia has achieved incredible results, reaching over 100 million people with the message of human rights via media – TV, radio, online, and print and educating over 250,000 young people directly in their human rights across the region.
  • USA – 14-year-old Demme Durret from Texas learned about YHRI and decided to host a Walk for Human Rights on Human Rights Day. Demme and her mom, Sherry, teamed up and produced an incredible walk and festival that featured everything including local allied human rights groups. Over the last five years this team of a young girl and her mom, who hosted numerous annual walks and events, has now grown into a dedicated team of volunteers, touching the lives of millions through their events and media exposure. Their media has ranged from radio interviews to primetime television coverage.

12th World Educational Tour 2015

Our Youth for Human Rights 12th World Educational Tour 2015, circled the globe 28,657 miles (46,119 km) to countries including Albania, Belgium, Kazakhstan, Kosovo, Macedonia, Mexico, Nepal, St. Kitts and Nevis, Taiwan, UK and the USA. In the spirit of the United Nations International Human Rights Day 2015, “Human Rights 365,” we worked toward making every day, 365 days of the year, a Human Rights Day. Events, workshops and meetings were held with distinguished officials. We also hosted 4 regional summits bringing youth delegates from the regions together for knowledge sharing and networking.

  • Mexico – Flags flew high during the opening session of the 1st YHRI Latin America Regional Summit in Queretaro. President of YHRI-Mexico, Raul Arias, and delegates from various States in Mexico welcomed international delegates including from Colombia, Ecuador and Guatemala. The following day, the House of Culture of the Supreme Court of Justice hosted the Human Rights Education workshop. Amealco City officials welcomed the delegates for a day of cultural celebrations including a photo exhibition depicting the 30 articles of the UDHR.
  • Taiwan – The 3rd Asia Regional Summit, hosted by the President of YHRI-Taiwan, Simone Hsu, included delegates from Australia, India, Japan, Malaysia, Nepal, Sri Lanka, also supported by delegates from Albania and the USA. The auditorium was packed with students, educators, law enforcement, community groups and the media. In addition, presentations were made in elementary and secondary schools as well as universities. Meetings were held with legislatures regarding the implementation of human rights education in the education system.
  • Nepal – Vice President Paramananda Jha of Nepal welcomed the team. The 3rd South Asia Regional Summit hosted by YHRI-Nepal President, Rahul KC and his team was held at the Armed Police Force Headquarters in Kathmandu where government officials, non-government organization leaders and educators welcomed the international youth delegates from Bangladesh, India, Italy, Pakistan and also from Spain. National TV broadcast the news to millions.
  • United States of America – The 12th World Educational Tour grand finale celebration was held on Capitol Hill in Washington DC. The US Presidential Volunteer Service Awards were presented to volunteers from Glendale, Los Angeles, Pasadena, Trenton, New Jersey and Washington DC. Proclamations and letters of support came from officials including Mayors, Senators and Governors.

International Human Trafficking Awareness Campaign

United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) cites 1.2 million children are trafficked across international borders annually. Workshops and presentations were held to raise awareness of the vital role of Human Rights Education in curbing this multi-billion dollar global black market. Conference locations included Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Japan, Slovakia, South Africa, Switzerland, UK and the USA. Actress and Chairperson of the YHRI Advisory Board, Marisol Nichols, produced a celebrity benefit red carpet event held in Hollywood to raise awareness about human trafficking in the USA and elsewhere. Awardees included Ms. Rivard, founder of Airline Ambassadors International; Mr. Ryan for his 15-year service as a Board Member and President/CEO of the National Center for Exploited Children—the leading nonprofit organization in the U.S.; Ms. Biddle, Founder of Saving Innocence—a nonprofit organization that provides 24-hour crisis response and long-term case management services for commercially sexually exploited children in the United States.

International Human Rights Day 2015

In honor of International Human Rights Day on December 10th 2015, we reached out through more than eighty events and the media in countries and territories including Australia, Bangladesh, Belgium, Canada, Colombia, Costa Rica, Denmark, France, Germany, India, Israel, Italy, Japan, Mali, Mexico, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, Russia, South Africa, Taiwan, Timor-Leste, Ukraine, United Kingdom, USA and Venezuela. Events included teachers doing workshops with their students showing the YHRI videos; others held grand celebrations with artists, musicians and cultural dances; many took to the streets for our 7th International Human Rights Walk bringing Human Rights Education out into the sunlight and to everyone in the community.


This list of dedicated volunteers and their inspiring Human Rights Education activities is hardly complete. This serves only as a cursory glimpse into the dedication, tenacity and creativity of our teams around the world. I want to thank each and every one of our volunteers, donors, sponsors, collaborators and supporters. Your help is extremely valuable and very much appreciated. Educators are encouraged to take advantage of the complimentary offer of our educational materials. Orders from educators should be placed directly through our interactive websites or

As a nonprofit organization we rely on memberships, generous donations and supporters, in addition to the on-the-ground work of our dedicated volunteers across the globe. We appreciate your help and encourage you to invite your family and friends to join in the global movement to teach human rights at or visit Youth for Human Rights International is the youth component of United for Human Rights, a nonprofit, tax-exempt organization headquartered in Los Angeles. Youth for Human Rights is a global movement, with groups, clubs and chapters in almost two hundred countries around the world. United for Human Rights strives to educate the public about human rights and to promote tolerance and peace among people of the world.

I want to especially acknowledge the Youth for Human Rights International Board Members as well as Chairperson of the YHRI Advisory Board, Marisol Nichols, and Advisory Board Members including Dr. Pouran Ameli, Dr. Mustafa Dorbayani, Dr. Marjan Abdi, Dr. Elizabeth McKinney, Mr. Raul Arias, Mr. Timothy Bowles, Ms. Simone Hsu, Ms. Huei-Fen Lee, Ms. Judith Lahai, Ms. Dottie Laster and Mr. Irving Sarnoff. Special acknowledgement goes to the Human Rights Department of the Church of Scientology International for their outstanding support.

Thank you and congratulations! Through your dedication, tenacity and support, hundreds of thousands of youth now know about the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human rights. Valuable lessons learned now form foundations for further expansion of human rights.

Wishing you a wonderful and productive 2016!

With kind regards,

Mary Shuttleworth, EdD