Youth Walking for Human Rights in Copenhagen-Denmark
For the fifth year in a row, a Walk for Human Rights took place in Copenhagen. This year, it was in celebration of the 65th anniversary for the Universal Declaration on Human Rights. It was Tuesday 10th of December that the Walk started at Vesterbro Torv and ended in StreetMekka, a youth community centre near Enghave Station. Around a hundred school students and other human rights activists participated. Inside StreetMekka, there was speeches from Copenhagen City Council member, Klaus Mygind, Youth for Human Rights and entertainment from both Lior Kojo, who is one of the faces of the Copenhagen City anti-discrimination campaign and other young artists.
In his speech Klaus Mygind said, “I am very happy that Youth for Human Rights celebrate this day every year. Especially as we look at a Denmark, which just had elections, but not everyone participated, and because human rights are important in relation to the right to work, education and to live in safety and freedom. I appreciate this initiative.”
Youth for Human Rights organized the event in partnership with European Network Against Racism (ENAR) and Tænk med Hjertet (Your Global Heart). Nina Christensen, daily leader of Youth for Human Rights explained, ”We are walking to draw attention to the Universal Declaration for Human rights, which was signed today 65 years ago. However in spite of many countries having signed the declaration, there are still human rights violations in many places around the world and many people don’t even know what their rights are. So the work to make human rights known through education is very important and that is what we are working on.”
That human rights problems exist right here in Copenhagen and also in the area, where the walk took place is very clear from a recent example, where a Nigerian woman, who had been subjected to human trafficking, witnessed against and helped get one of the masterminds behind a ring of prostitution convicted. Despite her actions, she is now to be sent back to Nigeria even though the prostitution ring there has made threats to her life.
When it comes to knowledge regarding the rights, a study from the Danish Institute of Human Rights confirmed that human rights education should be strengthened and their 2013 status report recommends that human rights be added to the public school mission statement.
During the event in StreetMekka, youth were inspired by performances of dance and rap about anti-discrimination. At one point all participants were invited to put their hand print and signature on an enormous banner, in support of making human rights law.
Bashy Quraishy, Chairman of ENAR in Denmark and Secretary General of EMISCO-European Muslim Initiative For Social Cohesion remarked, ”An activity that teaches, defends and gets young people to spread the message of Human Rights should be supported, because only by everybody knowing, respecting and practicing these rights will these, eventually be respected everywhere.”
Youth for Human Rights in Denmark is a branch of an International movement, which has branches all over the world -from South Africa to Denmark and Indonesia to USA. It is primarily engaged in teaching and organizing events that teach young people about human rights. The 14-year-old Layal Sarhan, who is a member of the Youth for Human Rights Youth Club, said in her speech, ”Remember that everything starts with yourself. Because if you are unable to realize how much your rights mean, you cannot talk to others about them. With determination and a goal you can do anything.”
Nina Christensen also stated: “We have an educational kit that make human rights real and understandable to young people through short films, tasks and role models – they among other things learn about advocates for human rights like recently deceased Nelson Mandela and his fight against oppression.” Another inspiration for her is L. Ron Hubbard, who once said, “Human rights must be made a fact, not an idealistic dream.”
Professor Claus Haagen Jensen, former chairman of the board at the Danish Institute for Human Rights has seen the materials and says, “Human rights as a subject is not easy to understand, so I find this material good and important, because it strives at reaching young people where they and in their own language. It stimulates interest among young people about an important topic, so they feel that human rights is not just something for the older generations.”