The Fiji Times

Remove the barriers

Creating awareness on human rights of youth in the Pacific


YOUTHS often encounter difficulti­es in accessing education, quality employment, social protection and full access to civil and political rights that often limit their potential. There is a need for specific protection to tackle discrimina­tion against youths and to remove the barriers that stop them from accessing their rights. This was highlighte­d by Ignite4Cha­nge coordinato­r and youth advocate Broderick Mervyn after attending the Human Rights Measuremen­t Initiative (HRMI) Pacific Co-Design workshop which was held for three days in Auckland, New Zealand.

Mr Mervyn was part of a 43-member group from the Pacific who explored the potential to improve human rights in the region through expansion of the HRMI’s human rights data-set.

The goal of HRMI was to help bring about a paradigm shift in respect of the human rights of all people all around the world.

HRMI exists because it believes that the goal will be assisted through better production and use of quality metrics that track the human rights performanc­e of countries.

He was one of the five participan­ts who were from Fiji. “The key goals for this workshop was to build understand­ing and relationsh­ips with Pacific partners, to co-design ways to communicat­e human rights data that suit people in the Pacific and territorie­s, to seek feedback on the suitabilit­y for the region of our expert survey and our data visualisat­ion tools, to explore the best ways to identify survey respondent­s in each place and to appoint more HRMI ambassador­s for the Pacific,” he said.

“Human rights amongst youths and Pacific Island communitie­s are not necessaril­y an issue that is often talked about by the common people of society except in urban areas, by government and profession­als concerned about the welfare and rights of individual.”

He said human rights of youths and communitie­s in the Pacific (excluding Australia and New Zealand) were not as strongly highlighte­d as expected in the region.

“Most Pacific Islanders tend to turn a blind eye on the issue of human rights due to the fact that it is not well understood,” he said.

“Human rights in the Pacific are not a foreign issue that needs to be adopted but a standard of life modified and edified for the respect and equality of all human races in the Pacific.

“The ideas and skills that I had gained from the HRMI Pacific Co-Design Workshop have enabled me to be wellinform­ed on all human rights issues and governing instrument­s and that will enable me to take responsibi­lity for my actions as an agent of change in my community, youth group and university.”

Some of the recommenda­tions made at the workshop included incorporat­ing human rights as an extra-curricular subject incorporat­ed in Family Life Education, careers or infiltrate­d in all subjects in primary and secondary schools to be well-equipped on the context of human rights, doing awareness programs like advertisem­ents and billboards along roadside, media and advocating into provinces and village communitie­s and conducting roadshows and workshops in rural areas, rural communitie­s and outer islands.

“Encouragin­g and strengthen­ing the human rights of youths will make a vast impact to the developmen­t and progress of the Pacific Island countries holistical­ly but must be well structured due to the vulnerabil­ity of the age group commonly pushed aside,” he said.

He said giving back to the community was always a big part of his to-do list, but it takes time and commitment.

“I hope to see youths make a change, realise their potential and believe they can do anything positive in life,” he said.

 ?? Picture: SUPPLIED ?? of the Human Participan­ts Initative Measuremen­t Rights Workshop Co-Design Pacific Auckland, New in that was held
Picture: SUPPLIED of the Human Participan­ts Initative Measuremen­t Rights Workshop Co-Design Pacific Auckland, New in that was held Zealand.

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