Youth for Human Rights Volunteers at Hull Freedom Festival

Hull, United Kingdom
11 September 2010

The Youth for Human Rights booth was a popular attraction for festival goers. The Youth for Human Rights booth was a popular attraction for festival goers.

Volunteers from the Youth for Human Rights International (YHRI) UK chapter took their message and educational materials to the Freedom Festival in Hull, United Kingdom, where some 50,000 people packed into the city's Queens Gardens and Marina. The annual festival has become the largest mixed cultural event in the region, playing host to a number of famous British pop and rock acts as well as local artists.

The festival was first staged in 2007 to commemorate two hundred years since the abolition of slavery in Britain, a cause championed by politician, human rights advocate and Hull native William Wilberforce—one of the most important human rights advocates in Britain.

Freedom from slavery is just one of the thirty human rights guaranteed by the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which forms the backbone of Youth for Human Rights International's human rights education campaign. And so, 183 years after Wilberforce first declared his anti-slavery arguments in the British parliament, YHRI volunteers were at the Freedom Festival with education materials for local teachers, What Are Human Rights? booklets for youth and families, and the celebrated human rights public service announcements that played for everyone who visited their booth. At the same time, volunteers gathered signatures for a petition to make human rights education mandatory in UK schools.

Melanie, one of the local Youth for Human Rights volunteers from Hull, said she was very pleased with their participation in the Festival. "Hundreds of people came in, signed our petition, watched the videos and learned about human rights," said Melanie.

The day was rounded out with live performances from British pop acts and Mercury Prize nominees, Foals. The Hull Festival successfully brought together talent from a variety of artistic tastes that united the tens of thousands who turned out to support the message of freedom and human rights. Plans for next year’s celebration are already underway and Youth for Human Rights volunteers say they too will be there.