Re­move the bar­ri­ers

Cre­at­ing aware­ness on hu­man rights of youth in the Pa­cific

The Fiji Times - - FEATURE -

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 Zealand.

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