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8th Annual Human Rights Youth Summit Creating Leaders through Human Rights Education
by Tracie Morrow Wednesday, Sep. 07, 2011 at 2:42 PM
Geneva—Dustin McGahee the Youth for Human Rights Florida President joined United Nations representatives, human rights NGOs, leaders of civil and other youth delegates from 30 countries at the 8th Annual International Human Rights Summit in Geneva, August 26-28, 2011. The theme of this year’s summit was, “to create leaders through human rights education,”
With the United Nations estimating $7 billion dollars is generated by human trafficking annually, with 700,000 to 4 million women and children sold into forced prostitution, labor and other forms of exploitation each year, human rights education has never been more urgent.
Dustin McGahee has been campaigning for human rights and educating students throughout Florida and as far away as Taiwan. McGahee said, “Youth are experiencing violations of their human rights by being discriminated against, emotionally and physically tortured and not having their right to privacy respected, daily at schools under the title of bullying. This is why it is important for everyone to understand human rights. It not only makes people stand up for their rights, but it opens the door to youth understanding the importance of respecting others rights.”
Speakers at the summit included a former U.N. Assistant Secretary General, several representatives of permanent missions to the U.N. and non-government organization (NGO) consultants to the United Nations, and youth delegates from Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Central African Republic, Congo, Denmark, France, Germany, Ghana, Holland, India, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Kenya, Mexico, Morocco, Pakistan, Panama, Russia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, UK, the USA, and Vietnamese Community.
A highlight of the event was the presentation of Human Rights Hero Awards to five humanitarians for their work to guarantee the rights of others and promote human rights education:
• Dustin McGahee, President of Youth for Human Rights Florida, for involving YHRI chapters from around the world in the International Walk for Human Rights he established to commemorate Human Rights Day on December 10.
• Mr. Antonio Lopez, Human Rights Undersecretary of Chiapas, Mexico accepted a Human Rights Hero Award on behalf of Juan Sabines Guerrero, Governor of the State of Chapias, for his work to incorporate the 30 articles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in the new state constitution giving it the force of law to the people for his constituents.
• Mr. Martin Ponce Rubio, Territorial Director of Jalalpa, Mexico, for nearly two decades of championing youth and for establishing educational and art programs to inform young people of their rights and combat crime and drug trafficking.
• Ms. Eleonora Frigerio, Vice President of the Association for Human Rights and Tolerance in Italy, for building schools in Ghana for thousands of young children who would otherwise not benefit from the right to education and for providing human rights education to the Tibetan Children in Exile in Dharamshala, India.
• Ms. Joanne Tawfilis, Founding Executive Director of the Art Miles Mural Project, for promoting peace by involving children from countries throughout the world in painting murals.
Dustin closed the 2011 Summit with a live performance of his Human Right’s song “10,000 Voices” which had youth and diplomats alike standing up and singing along.
The 2011 Summit was co-sponsored by the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Haiti; the Human Rights Department of the Church of Scientology International; Village Suisse NGO/ECOSOC; the Ariel Foundation International; and the Youth for Human Rights Chapters of Geneva and Vaud, Switzerland.