Countries participating to date include Australia, Austria, Barbados, Cameroon, Canada, Colombia, Denmark, France, Germany, Holland, India, Kenya, Jordan, Mexico, Nepal, Nigeria, Slovakia, Somalia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Switzerland, U.K., U.S.A., and Zambia. Never before has there been such a global event to raise awareness of fundamental Human Rights amongst such diverse populations.
Organized by youth of different ethnics, religions, races, and cultures, the International Walk for Human Rights became a reality through hundreds of international emails. The youth range from students, to singers, to basketball players, and even to racecar drivers.
Twenty-two year old International FIA GT3 Championship driver Niki Lanik explains the walk like this. "The walk will unite not just my city, but will unite the world's cities, and its purpose is to make the population aware of their Human Rights internationally. I will be participating in the walk myself in London on 10 December with a large group of like-minded individuals, and am very excited to see people's reactions, feedback and help this walk will create. As a profession, I race for Human Rights.”
Youth for Human Rights USA representative Dustin McGahee said, “Awareness is the first step toward change. When you look back through every major, positive change in history, it came about by raising awareness. This walk will be a huge step in creating Human Rights awareness, a huge step towards making Human Rights a reality, and therefore, a huge step toward a world of peace and tolerance.”
Following the tragedies of World War II, a solution was needed to prevent such horrors from occurring again. On December 10, 1948, Eleanor Roosevelt led the General Assembly of the United Nations in constructing the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, a list of 30 rights that apply to everyone, everywhere. The General Assembly of the United Nations called upon the member nations "to cause it to be disseminated, displayed, read and expounded principally in schools and other educational institutions, without distinction based on the political status of countries or territories."
Yet 61 years later, these rights are still not required teachings in most schools around the world. Most youth, and people of all ages, still don’t know their 30 Human Rights.
Youth for Human Rights International (YHRI) is a non-profit, secular organization founded in 2001 by educator Dr. Mary Shuttleworth. "Having spent over 30 years working with youth, I saw that youth were vulnerable when they did not know their rights. It is important that they not only know they have these rights but that, according to Article 29 of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, they also have responsibilities to protect their rights and the rights of their peers. That is exactly what these youth organizing and participating in the International Walk for Human Rights are doing.”
Headquartered in the USA and with over 180 chapters around the world, the purpose of Youth for Human Rights International is to teach youth about human rights, specifically the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, so they become advocates for tolerance and peace.
The 30 articles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights are presented in dramatic public service announcements at http://www.youthforhumanrights.org/watchads/index.html.