NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK, USA
7 September 2008
Youth representatives from 27 nations recently joined more than 1,000 human rights advocates, religious leaders, governmental officials and artists at the 5th Annual International Human Rights Summit in New York.
Sponsored by Youth for Human Rights International (YHRI) and the Human Rights Department of the Church of Scientology International, the summit was a packed series of events all aimed at getting the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights actually implemented by nations across the world—and the celebration of the 60th Anniversary of its adoption.
“There are over 300,000 children involved in armed conflicts as child soldiers in African and other countries. There are 800,000 children trafficked across borders every year, including an international sex slave trade that is one of the most lucrative black markets in the world. You only have to read the news to see the need for the Declaration to be enforced,” said Tracie Morrow, the Human Rights Youth Coordinator of the Church of Scientology International.
The summit began September 5th in UN Conference Room #1. A standing-room-only crowd learned firsthand what can be done to end human rights abuses and bring about fairness and justice.
Academy-award nominated actress and human rights advocate Anne Archer moderated a distinguished panel of human rights experts and leaders.
Jack Healey, former President of Amnesty International USA, told the youth delegates that they should have no patience with a government that fails to put into practice the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and should even get the declaration printed inside passports.
Ford Roosevelt, the grandson of the primary architect of the Universal Declaration, Eleanor Roosevelt, explained how the declaration resulted from Mrs. Roosevelt’s appreciation and respect for the differences amongst people and the insistence on mutual respect in human relations.
The efforts of Youth for Human Rights International were applauded by Ambassador Nathaniel Barnes of the Mission of Liberia to the United Nations and strongly supported by Ms. Lila Ratsifandrihamanana the Ambassador and Permanent Observer Mission of the African Union to the UN, both co-sponsors and members of this same influential panel.
The events that followed included a star-studded awards dinner, educational workshops, and an Interfaith Service featuring speakers across the religious spectrum. On the eve of the opening of the Annual United Nations General Assembly, the delegates returned to their home countries to activate their plans to educate and activate others on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
“I believe that, while celebrating our differences, we CAN focus on this common goal and UNITE to implement the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In the twenty-first century, our advances in human rights should exceed our greatest expectations of our technological advances. Our children deserve the best future we can give them,” said YHRI President Dr. Mary Shuttleworth.