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Human Rights World Tour 2019: Returning to its Roots

The 16th annual Human Rights World Tour begins its journey with a visit to South Africa

Youth for Human Rights International launched its 16th annual World Educational Tour in South Africa. Arriving February 22, the visit was a homecoming—as South Africa was one of the stops of the first World Educational Tour in 2004. But even more, the country played a critical role in the creation of the program.

“I was born and raised in a country where discrimination was the law and enforced by the law,” says Dr. Mary Shuttleworth, president of Youth for Human Rights International, referring to apartheid South Africa. It was here that she first saw the devastating results of discrimination and determined to do something about it personally.

Although apartheid ended nearly 25 years ago, the impact of the suppression is still felt today. Unemployment, poor education, inadequate infrastructure and healthcare—these are all violations of one or more of the 30 articles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The Human Rights World Tour addressed this on two fronts.

  • It delivered seminars to local educators, officials, ministers and representatives of nongovernmental organizations and traditional indigenous leaders who wish to implement human rights education broadly through their own groups and organizations.
  • It demonstrated how to deliver the educational program in a classroom setting by providing workshops to students and teachers at the Tswelelang Higher Primary School in Soweto and the Bovet Community School in the impoverished Alexandra township.

The workshop helped young people realize it is their right to have enough food to eat, to have an education—to break free from the cycle of poverty they see around them by gaining the tools they need to change their own lives and the lives of others.

The Human Rights World Tour is an annual program of Youth for Human Rights International, a grassroots movement reaching out in 195 countries in 27 languages and embraced by thousands of activists, officials, groups and organizations.

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