Francisco Vera at UN Human Rights HQ
During his visit to Geneva in July, 13-year-old Colombian activist Francisco Vera presented the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Volker Türk, with a manifesto signed by over 3,000 children in defence of a healthy environment.
Francisco’s Guardianes por la Vida (Guardians for Life) organisation seeks to influence public policies to reduce pollution and mitigate the effects of climate change. On Mother Earth Day this year, with the support of UN Human Rights in Colombia, he and hundreds of children planted 750 trees to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Universal Declaration and demand the right to a healthy environment.
Advocacy work as a child is not easy, but Francisco said age is no barrier to fight for the environment. "It doesn't matter if we are children or not, really. We can all be part of the change,” he said. Read more.
December’s high-level event includes a Generation Mix dialogue [PDF], with children and students.
Call for Liberia to pledge on women with disabilities
Nearly 100 women with disabilities shared the challenges they face and success stories at a dialogue held on 4 July. The global theme for Human Rights 75 activities during the month of June was Women’s and girl’s participation in public and political life. Liberia was home to the first female President in Africa, but has since struggled to bring more women into key positions of power while women with disabilities are even more underrepresented, participants heard. Solutions can come from the education curriculum, within communities, economic empowerment and at the political party level, it was underlined.
The event was organised by UN Human Rights, Liberia’s National Commission on Disabilities (NCD) and the National Union of Organisations for the Disabled, the country’s ministries of Labour and Justice, and the UN Resident Coordinator. The NCD will now recommend a Human Rights 75 pledge for the Liberian government to consider presenting at December’s high-level event in Geneva.
#NotoHate in Montenegro
Around 60 young people in Montenegro have taken part in a dialogue on the causes and consequences of hate speech affecting the youth. The event was inspired by young actors’ short performances and the ‘Love and Violence’ film with real-life situations of gender-based and other types of hate speech and violence experienced by adolescents. “Hate speech is used at every step and every day, on any possible ground – gender, sexual orientation, nationality, political affiliation, wealth status, popularity in the group… all of these,” said 17-year-old Asmir. The ‘Prazan prostor’ drama studio, Ombuds institution, Council of Europe and Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe took part in the event, held on 19 June as part of the Human Rights 75 Initiative. Read more.
Short film competition in Somalia
Somalian filmmakers have the chance to showcase their talents while addressing human rights issues by taking part in a short film competition. Films of up to ten minutes in length can be submitted until 30 September on the theme of Dignity, Freedom and Justice for All. Learn more about the competition organised by UN Somalia and the country’s National Theatre.
Zimbabwe places gender-based violence under the spotlight
Progress has been made on gender equality and eliminating gender-based violence in Zimbabwe, but much work remains to be done, participants heard at an event held in the country’s capital Harare in June. In line with the month’s theme of the Human Rights 75 Initiative – women’s rights –participants heard from a beneficiary how the UN Human Rights SPOTLIGHT initiative has helped her and her community, including by building her leadership skills to participate in public life. Zimbabwe’s Ministry of Women Affairs took part in the event, which is being complemented by a social media campaign.
The UDHR and youth
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights can be an important instrument to solve new human rights challenges, participants heard at a roundtable on ‘Looking to future generations’ organized by UN Human Rights' New York office. Over 100 participants participated in the event, which included speakers from UN agencies, civil society, the Dutch Permanent Representative, H.E. Yoka Brandt, and a member of the UN Human Rights Youth Advisory Board, Mario Galbert.
Human rights as a solution for peace in Cameroon
On 14 July, a round-table discussion on conflict prevention was held in Cameroon’s capital, Yaounde. The aim was to generate ideas and suggestions on how early warning and early response can promote non-violent, peaceful and resilient communities – especially in conflict and post-conflict settings. Early warning and response was seen as a prerequisite for peaceful and non-violent communities to take root in Buea, one of the crises regions in Cameroon.
Consultation on the extractive sector in Mozambique
UN Human Rights held a consultation in Maputo, Mozambique, under the Human Rights 75 campaign with 12 representatives of the private sector, including three women. The companies mostly operate in the extractive sector and the consultation was an opportunity to understand the influence of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on the firms’ work, policies and impact. The consultation was held in the margins a workshop on the implementation of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights by private companies in Mozambique.