Youth for Human Rights International (YHRI), an NGO of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), was represented at Europe's largest human rights conference by YHRI Founder and President Mary Shuttleworth, Ed.D.
Dr. Shuttleworth joined government officials, diplomats and other NGO representatives at the conference, held in Warsaw, Poland, where she urged the OSCE governments to mandate human rights education. Her full address is included below.
The OSCE Human Dimension Review Conference was held from September 30 to October 8, 2010. With 56 participating countries, the OSCE is the largest regional security organization in the world. The conference reviewed the progress of the 56 OSCE participating States in implementing their human rights and democracy commitments.
Presentation by Mary Shuttleworth, Ed.D.
Human Dimension Committee Chair, Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, thank you for the opportunity to address the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).
Discrimination was the law when I was born and raised in apartheid South Africa. As a young child I saw firsthand the devastating effects of discrimination and lack of the most basic human rights. As a teenager I had the privilege to travel through many European countries. During those travels I witnessed discrimination and realized that discrimination was not limited to apartheid or my country. Discrimination is a global issue.
Youth for Human Rights International Founder and President Dr. Mary Shuttleworth addresses the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE): "I urge the OSCE governments to mandate human rights education. The mandate would give the legal structure to muzzle instigators of discrimination and facilitate obtaining resources for human rights education."
Working toward a pluralist democracy with more than one center of power, there is no place for discrimination. The United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) sets out basic human rights as a sound foundation. In 1948 the United Nations 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." Youth for Human Rights International (YHRI) was started because surveys showed that people in countries around the world, including Europe, did not know about the UDHR or what their human rights are. The purpose of YHRI is to teach youth about human rights, specifically the UDHR.
Since 2001 our NGO has researched and developed human rights education materials. We have grown and expanded because of the support of like-minded individuals, groups and organizations. Because of this support we have been able to see how easy it is to teach those 30 human rights. We have learned that most people, once they know that they have human rights, want to know what those human rights are and realize that with human rights comes responsibility, as set out in Article #29 of the UDHR.
As an NGO we have faced difficulties mainly due to opposition from those with vested interests, who thrive in a cesspool of discrimination and ignorance. As stated by the United Nations in 1948, government support is needed to realize the goals of human rights education.
I urge the OSCE governments to mandate human rights education. The mandate would give the legal structure to muzzle instigators of discrimination and facilitate obtaining resources for human rights education.
As this is the first part of the Human Dimension Review Conference I urge you to expedite the implementation of human rights education by mandating human rights education in all educational institutions throughout Europe, thus raising the bar on human rights and ultimately facilitating peace and stability.
(Youth for Human Rights is a non-profit organization with the aim to educate children from up to 16 years in the 30 articles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Originally estblished by the Human Rights Department of the Church of Scientologyit is now the largest non-governmental human rights education initiative of it's kind in the world, making human rights a fact, in accordance to the intention of humanitarian L. Ron Hubbard)
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