One Young World: Human Rights Plenary

by Darah Patterson    /  October 26, 2012  / No comments

Whose responsibility is it to make sure that human rights are upheld?


This past Saturday, at the David Lawrence Convention Center in downtown Pittsburgh, serious questions were proposed to a large crowd of One Young World (OYW) ambassadors, “Whose responsibility is it to make sure that human rights are upheld? Are human rights absolute? How can we better advocate human rights to be upheld?” Forty-nine percent of ambassadors don’t believe human rights are upheld in their country and sixty-one percent of those ambassadors think that the human rights of the poor are especially unprotected. Hans Reitz, founder and managing director of Grameen Creative Lab, along with Miller Matola, CEO of Brand South Africa, and Christine Ockrent, a prominent journalist and writer, facilitated the Human Rights Plenary Session. Seven delegates from all over the world spoke on the topic.

Namarata Poddar from India, for example, focused on violations against women in her country. She revealed that 1.7 million girls have disappeared and there has been an increase of crimes against women. She suggested to abolish dowries, increase education on women’s rights, and make inheritance laws stronger.

Delegates Carolina Bonin from Germany and Simon Rodgers from UK discussed gay rights and pointed out that homosexuality is illegal in 77 countries.

Chris Senesi from the USA addressed the problems of homeless youth in America and how the US leads the world in incarceration rates. He labeled this a worldwide problem and stressed the importance of self-worth and confidence in combating it.

After the panel discussion 28 people from the crowd shared their experiences with human rights violations in their respective countries. One of the points made during the session was that now in a world with international social media there is no excuse for not spreading the word. On October 19 OYW was the top trending topic in Pittsburgh. The Kofi Anan Foundation tweeted “healthy societies are built on peace and security, sustainable development, and respect for the rule of law and human rights.”

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