1. Background

The theme for Humans Rights Day 2019 “Youth Standing Up for Human rights,” is encouraging galvanizing and showcasing youth all over the world to stand up for rights and against exclusion, deprivation, racism, hate speech, bullying, discrimination, and climate change, to name a few.

The theme for this year’s celebration hinges on the collective effort of youth standing up for Human Rights. Following closely the 30th anniversary celebrations of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, Youth Bridge Foundation (YBF) seeks to build on the current momentum and spotlight the leadership role of youth in collective movements to inspire the kind of future young people desire.

2. Human Rights and SDGs

Human rights are at the heart of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), as in the absence of human dignity we cannot drive sustainable development. Human Rights are driven by progress on all SDGs, and the SDGs are driven by advancements on human rights.

3. Why the focus on Youth?

  • Youth participation is essential to achieve sustainable development for all.
    Participation in public life is a fundamental principle of human rights. Young people are seeking to participate in all decisions that have a direct and indirect impact upon their wellbeing. They need to be heard to inform more effective decision-making and achieve sustainable development for all.
  • Youth can play a crucial role in positive change.
    Young people have always been major drivers of political, economic and social transformation. They are at the forefront of grassroots mobilizations for positive change and bring fresh ideas and solutions for a better world.
  • Empowering youth to better know and claim their rights will generate benefits globally.
    Young people are often marginalized and encounter difficulties in accessing and enjoying their rights because of their age. Upholding their rights and empowering them to better know and claim them will generate benefits globally.

5. Stand Up for Human Rights.

In our quest to stand up for human rights, we condemn all forms of human rights violations in Ghana and across the globe. We empathize with victims of Human Rights abuses and will continue our work to ensure Access to Justice for all bearing in mind that human rights are relevant to all of us, every day, our shared humanity is rooted in the universal values of human rights, equality, justice and freedom prevent violence and sustain peace, whenever and wherever humanity’s values are abandoned, we all are at greater risk, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights empowers us all and we need to stand up for our rights and those of others.

6. Relevance to the Access to Justice Project.

It is for this reason that the Youth Bridge Foundation with the support of the Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA) under its Access to Justice Project, embarked on the Access to justice for youth and persons with disabilities in Ghana to:

  • Introduce youth friendly innovative approaches to deepen awareness and knowledge of fundamental human rights among the youth.
  • Advocate for the inclusion and participation of persons with disabilities in decision-making processes.
  • To advocate the need for policymakers to produce policies in accessible formats for young persons with disability while consolidating key stakeholder engagements to deepen ownership.

Relying on the successes chalked under the project and in the words of Eleanor Roosevelt in which she states, “Where, after all, do universal human rights begin? In small places, close to home — so close and so small that they cannot be seen on any maps of the world. Unless these rights have meaning there, they have little meaning anywhere. Without concerted citizen action to uphold them close to home, we shall look in vain for progress in the larger world.”

We make the following calls:

  1. Government to facilitate and create the enabling platform for the participation of youth and persons with disability in decision making processes at the district and national levels.
  2. State agencies such as the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) to continue to investigate issues of Human Rights Violations including deprivation and ensure justice for the victims particularly youth and persons with disability.
  3. Law enforcement agencies to collaborate with young people to take action against social vices that endangers the peace and security of the state.
  4. Policies makers, CSOs, the media and youth groups to empower the youth to better know and claim their rights to ensure accountability from duty bearers.

The youth to take charge and understand their role as positive agents of change

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