Human Rights Day 2019: Youth standing up for human rights

Dear Editor,
The United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on December 10, 1948, envisioning a world where “all members of the human family” enjoy “freedom, justice, and peace in the world.” These efforts are the responsibility of the state, but no Government can do it on their own. This is a call for youth involvement in the pursuit of human rights. Young people represent the majority of most developing countries’ population, where we are often directly exposed to the effects of climate change, conflict, exclusion or economic instability. Moreover, in many parts of the world, it is still difficult for youth to garner a place in the decision-making processes. In Guyana, young people under the age of 35 make up at least 65 per cent of the population.
Despite these challenges, every day, young people stand up for rights and against racism, xenophobia, hate speech, bullying, discrimination and other forms of human rights violations. We also take a lead role in many areas – including advocating for climate action. On Human Rights Day, we recognise the leadership and courageous efforts of “Youth Standing Up for Human Rights” in light of this year’s theme. The aim is to celebrate the potential of youth as productive agents of change, magnify their voices, and involve a comprehensive range of global audiences in the protection and promotion of human rights. The contribution of our youth is invaluable.
Youth participation is essential to achieve sustainable development for all. Involvement in public life is an essential principle of human rights. Young people are pursuing involvement in decisions that have a direct and indirect impact on their lives and wellbeing. We need to be heard to inform current decision-making and realise sustainable development for all people.
Youth can play a crucial role in positive change. Young people are the key drivers of political, economic and social revolution. We are at the forefront of grassroots mobilisation for positive change and bring modern ideas and solutions for a better world.
Empowering youth to better know and claim their rights will generate benefits globally. Regularly, young persons are marginalised because of our age. Safeguarding our human rights and empowering us to better know and claim them will generate benefits at country, regional and global levels.
On this Human Rights Day, let us commit as individuals and organisations to doing all that we can to guarantee that young people have safe and inclusive spaces and can contribute in all decisions that have an influence on our wellbeing and our communities’ development.

Yours faithfully,
Sarah Bovell,
Human Rights
Guyana’s Society
Against Sexual
(SASOD Guyana)

Kobe Smith
President, Youth
Advocacy Movement
(YAM), Guyana
Association (GRPA) a