December 10th, 2019, marks the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It was on this day in 1948 in which inalienable rights, regardless of race, color, religion, sex, language, economic, or political status, were engraved in a single document.
Shia Rights Watch observes this day with pride because all humans deserve to live with dignity.
SRW uses this internationally recognized day to renew its goals of raising awareness against human rights violations, promote grassroots advocacy, and empower communities to overcome adversity.
In correspondence, this year celebrates the 30th anniversary of the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Thus, the 2019 Human Rights Day is an opportunity to showcase the galvanized role youth have in the sphere of Human Rights promotion and protection.
On this day, Shia Rights Watch highlights youth of minority groups, children of those who are frequently marginalized from their larger society.
Frequently, broader integration and minority-rights based endeavors fail to account for the needs of the minors. The multitiered barriers that inhibit their empowerment can go long unnoticed.
Minority children not only live under the pressures of adolescents, but they also spend their days with the realization that they differ from other occupants in the places they call home. The children who are most affected by this marginalization are those of minorities who are stigmatized.
For instance, take the case of Shia Muslims. While they make up the largest minority religion in the world, Shia Muslims are also one of the most targeted groups. In countries such as Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Malaysia, cultural violence is propagated against Shia Muslims through public education systems. Moreover, political systems show no support for their Shia communities in cases against violence or discrimination based on religious identity. Thus, as young children, Shia individuals are pushed to the margins of society with signals that they do not belong.
Research in various fields notes that marginalization affects the development of such youth disproportionately.
Thus, in recognition of December 10th as the International Day of Human Rights, Shia Rights Watch calls for the empowerment of children as first-movers in the strive for social equality. This organization highlights the need for increased social support for this group as well as interventions that empower youth to initiate change in their immediate surroundings.
Here are some research-backed ways communities and organizations can uplift the leaders of the future:
- Recognition that youth are key stakeholders in peacebuilding is the first step in building a comprehensive human rights program. Today’s youth are the leaders of tomorrow. Thus, their current needs and grievances must be addressed in ensuring sustainable change in society.
- At a young age, children must be familiarized with their rights and the rights of others. Initiate education of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in your community. Moreover, teach children to recognize rights and to voice violations of those rights.
- Children are members of our communities with inherent dignity and rights. Parents and guardians are essential determinants in the harmonious development of children. Thus, they, too, must be educated in the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
- Youth understand what youth need, so include them in peacebuilding! Empowering children to be the primary change-makers should be a key goal in human rights endeavors. Create avenues in which children can ask for their rights and stand against human rights violations. Moreover, create grounds for which children can voice concerns and then promote peaceful conflict resolution.
As always, Shia Rights Watch calls on the international community to share their thoughts on social media through #StandUp4HumanRights and @ShiaRightsWatch