LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA, USA
10 December 2007
Over fifty events were held around the world to celebrate the United Nations International Human Rights Day on 10 December. Sixty years ago, on 10 December 1948, the United Nations established the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) with the intention of preventing the atrocities that led to World War II from ever happening again.
But if one looks at the newspapers or watches the news, they are hit daily by the human rights violations that occur around us without respite, including the 6 million children who are tortured and mutilated in armed conflicts, the 9.5 million people who cross international borders to live in safety and the 800,000 people who are trafficked across borders each year, mostly women and children.
Therefore Youth for Human Rights International (YHRI) has taken on the mission to educate young people in the UDHR thus ending these atrocities through the education of our future leaders. So it was only appropriate to celebrate the launch of the 60th Anniversary year of the UDHR in a truly international way.
With events spanning the globe from the United States to the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Taiwan to the United Kingdom, YHRI reached thousands with their message of the importance of human rights.
Launching off from their home base in Los Angeles, YHRI joined leaders of many faiths in an interreligious conference held at the Church of Scientology Celebrity Centre International. Speakers included Dr. Michael Crosby of the Interfaith Christian Fellowship Church, member of the LA Unified School District and member of the Police Clergy; Alfreddie Johnson, Baptist Minister; Pandith Kolitha, Buddhist monk; Rev. Beth Akiyama from the Human Rights Department of the Church of Scientology International and Pastor Sandra Jones of the Worldwide Church.
In Taiwan YHRI volunteers joined members of the Chinese Association for International Human Rights at the Taipei Train Station where people signed a human rights petition to make human rights education a part of every child’s education. They then took off to Chung-Lun Primary School where they were joined by 150 students for a Human Rights Day event.
In Melbourne, YHRI Australia was joined by celebrity singer, Kate Ceberano, for a concert held at Federation Square in the heart of Melbourne. At the event Kate Ceberano presented a YHRI Human Rights Hero Award to Hugh Evans, the Founder of the Oak Tree Foundation, a youth driven aid group.
In Ottawa, Canada, YHRI joined a gathering of religious leaders outside of City Hall in an event co-sponsored by the World Conference on Religions for Peace and the National Capital Peace Council. The theme was “Freedom to Believe.”
In Berlin, Germany, over 100 human rights supporters signed YHRI’s petition, while YHRI Paris was off to Trocadéro Square near the Eiffel Tower where other human rights associations joined them to pass out over 800 human rights booklets and raise awareness about human rights violations around the world.
YHRI Greece danced for human rights at the KYTTARO Club in Athens with a concert and the showing of YHRI’s human rights ads.
In Brussels, YHRI Belgium teamed up with the Church of Scientology International’s European Human Rights Office for a human rights event. Attendees included father Van Der Biest, a Catholic priest who has worked on human rights his entire career; Alfredo Canete, former Ambassador of Paraguay; Mr. Muttiath Korasanathan, of the Embassy of India; Mr. D. Obelle, of the Embassy of Nigeria and Antoine Abdallah of World for Development.
YHRI Washington DC held an event at the National Press Club, while YHRI Buffalo in New York held a Human Rights Hero Awards event where the awardees were: Chief Apostle Pastor Hunely; Barbara Hale, the Genessee County Executive Director of YWCA; Peaz Molson, a hip-hop artist; and the Brundige family for their work in human rights.
In New Haven, YHRI held an event with the Rivera Memorial Center After-school Program and in Philadelphia they did the same with the Ludlow Elementary School Afterschool Program. YHRI Atlanta, Georgia, visited Lakeside High School to get human rights petitions signed and to distribute booklets to 1,600 students.
In Seattle, Washington, an event was held at the downtown library with keynote speaker coming from Yale Law School and a visit by the mayor.
In Padova, Italy, interviews with YHRI Padova about the importance of human rights were broadcast on Free Channel Sky 855 and Veneto Satellite.
To cap it, the United Nation’s headquarters in New York recognized the work of YHRI by displaying YHRI’s materials in their bookstore.