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Human Rights and Young Leaders

In a huge camp called Dynamo at the heart of Tuscany met 40 or so young people advocating for human rights. They came from around the world carrying different cultures and beliefs to learn and to share their knowledge and expertise. They were united for one value: human life. On their first day, they could hardly remember the names nor the countries where their peers come from. On the last day, they could hardly let go of each other. Streams of emotion overflowed. Some cried because of the sadness they felt about leaving the camp and their friends. Some were just too happy to experience the goodness that each one showed and promised to carry on. What happened there really?

The first night, it was just getting to know each other over dinner. In most cultures, eating is a sacred act not only because the food on the table is the gift of the earth but also sharing it with others makes people closer. In the Philippines, for example, it is considered a bad manner if you do not wait for all members of your family to be at the table and eat with them. The very act of enjoying the food with people you love is already a form of prayer.

Everyday, they shared meals together. In the mornings and evenings after meal, they would even dance together.Everyone participated in the dance including the lecturers, the visitors and the staff. The core of human rights, after all, is for everyone to enjoy life to the fullest. To dance and sing freely, to eat proper food, to express one's opinion without fear of being excluded, to access good education, to be happy because everyone deserves it, these were the things that happened inside the camp.

However, discussing human rights violations brought tears, anger and frustrations. They could not imagine why people do horrifying acts against their neighbours, their own family, or people they do not even know. They could only hope to speak about real issues and bring about justice and peace.

In the course of the forum, they all united to make a statement about human rights and how they want international institutions, governments and civil society to make a stand to make this world a safe and enjoyable place to live in.

(NB: Attached to this journal is the resolution which all the participants contributed through the resolutions committee, to which I was part of. We hope that you support us by sending your comments or suggestions.)

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