Youth forms HR alliance

BAGUIO CITY — The young generation of Baguio is ready to face the new year with the resolve to forge a tough group of human rights defenders come 2009.

“Our resolve to provide avenues for the promotion of human rights by the first quarter of 2009 is as ready as our fireworks for this new year,” said Anjo Rey Cerdeña, member of the committee formed to prepare for the first general assembly of Young Defenders.

He says their generation has read, heard and seen so much about the country’s poor human rights record in the past years. “It is a record too dirty to reflect our generation’s history. We thought, it is about time we forge a wide network of young and fresh defenders who would take on the task of countering this bad record,” he said.

Before going home for vacation, the committee had already mapped out preparations for the assembly. These include the release of promotional materials and the first wave of invitations through campus visits early next year.

“Human rights is a matter of life and dignity. It is everybody’s concern and we aim to involve a broad spectrum of the youth sector in this cause,” Cerdeña said. This spectrum, according to him, includes indigenous youth, students, out-of-school youth, civil society, religious youth and much more.

The initiative is a brainchild of the Indigenous Peoples Day Youth Coordinating Committee which gathered different indigenous youth groups in the city to learn about the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in line with the celebration of its first year last August 9. Months later and 60 years since the Universal Declaration of Human Rights last December 10, they meet again for the Youth Leadership Training on Human Rights Education and Advocacy. This is where the preparations for a general assembly was formally launched.

“It is amazing to finally have this initiative that will redeem us from the grim record of our country in human rights. With this, we are sure to start the new year with a bang,” Cerdeña claims. # IPDYCC Release

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