Youths highlighted at human rights forum

  • Youth Forum: Young people debate what human rights means to them living in Bermuda, as part of Human Rights Day. Pupils from senior schools with Governor John Rankin (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

    Youth Forum: Young people debate what human rights means to them living in Bermuda, as part of Human Rights Day. Pupils from senior schools with Governor John Rankin (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

Pupils from senior schools told the Governor and his guests about the importance of freedom of expression on International Human Rights Day.

The 13 teenagers were invited to Government House for a youth forum on Tuesday to highlight the leadership role of young people in promoting human rights both locally and around the world.

CedarBridge Academy and the Berkeley Institute were each represented by six pupils and the panel also included a Somersfield Academy student.

The forum — moderated by Rajai Denbrook — was held in front of John Rankin, the Governor, and an audience made up of people from a variety of organisations.

Lisa Reed, the Human Rights Commission executive officer, said: “This global commemoration is an annual reminder to everyone, that everyone is entitled to a life where their civil, economic, social, political and cultural rights are upheld each and every day.

“The opportunity to join with these talented young people crystallises the meaning of our work at the Human Rights Commission.

“We must be reminded that we have a duty to remain steadfast and determined as advocates for the promotion and protection of human rights in all their complex, distinct and intersected forms.

“We must honour and respect their voices as young people and fight for their future.

“The decisions that we make today impact their tomorrow.”

Anushka Jayathunga, of the Berkeley Institute, said it was important to listen to “troubled students”.

She added: “Opportunities like this, where children are allowed to converse with each other and have a voice, we also have to look at those students who maybe their grades aren’t as good, maybe their behaviour isn’t as good but their story and their voice is just as good as each and every one of us sitting here.”

Quadre Emery, a CedarBridge Academy pupil, said he believed young people should be “on equal footing” with adults.

He said: “We are the future, we are coming up as the next generation.”

Mr Rankin said later: “International Human Rights Day reminds us of the importance of promoting and protecting the fundamental human rights that all should be able to enjoy.

“This year marks the 30th anniversary of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and this was a useful opportunity to hear and learn from young people in Bermuda, gaining their perspective on what rights mean for them now and for the future.

“The participants spoke with real passion and all those present were, I believe, were inspired by what they heard.”

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Published Dec 12, 2019 at 1:48 pm (Updated Dec 12, 2019 at 1:48 pm)

Youths highlighted at human rights forum

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