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"Youth can take an active role in human rights"
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"Youth can take an active role in human rights"

Madusha ErandiThousands of youth took part in Sri Lanka’s Human Rights Day, writes Madusha Erandi, 21, a Correspondent from Colombo in Sri Lanka, where they demonstrated the vital role young people can play in promoting basic human rights.

It is a very basic fact as humans that all of us should know that human rights are inherent to all human beings. Regardless of the nationality, religion or any other disparities all of us are equally entitled to human rights without any discrimination. Human rights are the foundation of justice and peace in the world.

“Life is not a matter of place, things or comfort; rather, it concerns the basic human rights of family, country, justice and human dignity,” said Imelda Macros, the Filipino politician, maybe because it is a handful of people who are aware of their rights. 

Everyday should be a day of human rights. The specific Day of Human Rights was chosen for the honour by the United Nations General Assemblies and adopted on 10 December 1948. Countries all over celebrate the Day of Human Rights with all dignity and passion. As Sri Lankans we, who respect human rights legislation and humanity, will be creating a huge platform for people’s rights and the voices of individuals.

The national celebration of the International Human Rights Day was held at Diyatha Gardens, Battaramulla on December 10. This was a glamorous night filled with all happiness and joy, beauty and knowledge as well. There was a walk organized by the National Youth services council and the Road to Rights organization to highlight the significance of the event. 

For this “white night” thousands of people in all age groups representing all races, religions and every corner of the country participated in white to celebrate their human rights.  The event was attended by many important persons including honorable minister Dallas Allahaperuma, the chairman of the youth services council.

There was an amazing concert highlighting the talents of the youth, starting with trilingual recitation of an oath to protect and honor human rights. The concert featured some of Sri Lanka’s famous artists like Dushantha Weeraman, Victor Rathnayaka, Neela Wickramasinghe and our very own Miss Sri Lanka, Stephanie Siriwardena. 

 Now a question rises, why youth for human rights? Why are all these youth-led organizations participating in this event in a greater capacity? Youth makes up 26 per cent of the country’s population and has a say in every major action. A vast topic like human rights can be discussed in several standards. Various academics and writers can discuss human rights in a broader and more philosophical style while professionals and human rights activists will speak about human rights in a more radical way. So what is the ideology of the youth? Youth is the fruitful future of the country and the emerging young leaders are also the property of youth.

Thus human rights are simply the voice of youth, strength of youth, and the dream of youth. The youth can preserve human rights for generations and implant the importance and value of human rights in people’s hearts. Youth is the nexus between children and adults. The message of human rights will be conveyed to these two groups by the youth. As youth, we should convey the message of human rights to society. We should give more opportunities to the marginalized groups in society respecting human right values and showing the value of equality.

What we believe is that since the origin of the human race, diverse ideologies about human rights came in to action so the people changed their attitudes accordingly.  However, although the change has affected the livelihoods of people still there are violations of human rights occurring in public, which is an utter disgrace to the norms of humanity. Activists work for child rights, sexual and reproductive rights and against torture. Our responsibility should be creating a platform for basic human rights to develop and then accelerate public access to those rights in a deliberate manner.

The change that we make in the society will be durable as long as it amends and alters according to the needs of time. To conclude with a memory of the father of freedom, Nelson Mandela: “For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.”

 Photo Credits: Sudith Devdun Mendis

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 About me: I am determined and ambitious; ready to take up any challenge. A former journalist, I’m studying law at University of Colombo and doing freelance writing. I believe the youth is the fruitful future of any country and the positive anticipation of the developing world.

I love observing people, their nature and writing about them. I am a wannabe photographer. I swim, do athletics, and sing. I consider myself as a genuine social worker. Writing is simply my passion. 

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Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the Commonwealth Youth Programme. Articles are published in a spirit of dialogue, respect and understanding. If you disagree, why not submit a response?
To learn more about becoming a Commonwealth Correspondent please visit:
http://www.yourcommonwealth.org/submit-articles/commonwealthcorrespondents/
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