Youth for Human Rights

The project Youth for Human Rights

Youth for Human Rights (YHRI) in Italy is the main project of the Association for Human Rights and Tolerance NPO.

Youth for Human Rights International (YHRI) is a nonprofit organization founded in Los Angeles in 2001 by Dr. Mary Shuttleworth, an educator born and raised in apartheid South Africa, where she witnessed firsthand the devastating effects of discrimination and the lack of basic human rights.

The purpose of YHRI is to teach youth about human rights, specifically the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and inspire them to become advocates for tolerance and peace.

YHRI has now grown into a global movement, including hundreds of groups, clubs and chapters around the world.

Youth for Human Rights International teaches human rights education both in the classroom and in nontraditional educational settings. We aim to reach people from diverse backgrounds, with materials which often appeal across generations. By teaching human rights through all means—from conferences and workshops to hip-hop and dancing—this message has spread around the world.

Our materials include the UNITED music video—a street-savvy, multiethnic, anti-bullying message that has captured the imagination of people around the world. Our 30 short public service message videos depict the 30 Articles of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In less than a minute, youth can learn one of their human rights—and all of them in less than half an hour. The videos have garnered media attention as well, airing on television networks in countries worldwide. But it doesn’t end there. The videos are now airing during halftime on stadium screens, within taxicabs, on supermarket screens, in theaters, railway stations, and many other locations.

We have inspired people to walk, race racecars, paint murals and hold small gatherings with youth groups and orphanages, as well as large open-air concerts.

Our human rights videos and curricula fill the schoolrooms and halls of learning with the simple messages of what our human rights are.

We realize the importance of collaborating with like-minded individuals and groups to expand our horizons and learn from them their hard-earned lessons, and so expand and reach youth on all continents.

Our Pourpose

The purpose of Youth for Human Rights International is to teach youth about human rights, specifically the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and inspire them to become valuable advocates for tolerance and peace.

Children are the future. They need to know their human rights and know that they must take responsibility to protect themselves and their peers. As they become aware and active in this cause, the message travels far and wide, and someday universal human rights will be a fact, not just an idealistic dream.

The United Nations General Assembly proposed that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights “be disseminated, displayed, read and expounded principally in schools and other educational institutions, without distinction based on the political status of countries or territories” (United Nations, 1948).

The charter of Youth for Human Rights International is to forward that aim with simple yet empowering, high-quality human rights education materials for youth, teachers, officials—anyone.

“We are here because we know that literacy is the key to unlocking the cage of human misery; the key to delivering the potential of every human being; the key to opening up a future of freedom and hope. We are here to open a decade that must translate that hope into reality.” —Kofi Annan, Former Secretary-General, United Nations.

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