Youth Takeover at United Nations

New York
31 August 2015

The 12th annual International Human Rights Summit began with a flourish of flags and 43 young people representing 33 nations in a procession signaling the start of the three-day Summit at United Nations Headquarters in New York.

Youth For Human Rights International 12th Annual International Human Rights Summit

The Summit’s purpose: Bring young people together from around the world who share the goal of changing their nations through human rights and arm them with further knowledge, experience and plans so they make that goal a reality.

The venue afforded these youth the opportunity to meet top-level members of the UN and dignitaries from across the globe to discuss the state of human rights in their countries.

These delegates are leaders who have already delved into their countries’ systems, confronted their human rights abuses and taken action to educate their fellow citizens. They come from all walks of life, ethnics and faiths, from Armenia, Bangladesh, Colombia, Congo, Egypt, Israel, Italy, Japan, Nepal, Pakistan and Russia and dozens more.

Also attending the August 2015 Summit were teachers, human rights activists, university students, lawyers, representatives from UN member countries and staff of the Office of the UN High Commissioner on Human Rights.

On the agenda was a screening of the United for Human Rights documentary film The Story of Human Rights, as well as the Youth for Human Rights 30 Public Service Announcements, each illustrating one of the 30 articles of the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR).


Honored guest of the Summit was Ella Torrey, former aide to Eleanor Roosevelt, chair of the post-World War Two committee that drafted the UDHR that was released in 1948. Ms. Torrey told the youth delegates, “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…. 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.”

As important as affording the young delegates the opportunity to interact with UN human rights officials was to send them home with skills and tools needed to accomplish their goals. To that end, a leadership workshop was an important component of the Summit, demonstrating exact use of the Youth for Human Rights materials and providing practical information and skills to establish and expand their home chapters.

All sponsors, speakers and youth delegates signed the 12th Annual International Human Rights Summit Resolution, calling all UN Member Nations to implement human rights education in their countries.

The Summit was sponsored by Youth for Human Rights International, Friends of the United Nations, the Human Rights Department of the Church of Scientology International, Africa Diaspora Foundation, Artists for Human Rights, Ferguson Humanitarian Foundation International and Global Education Motivators.

Youth delegates to the 12th annual International Human Rights Summit in New York, New York