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Youth Human Rights and Education

Posted by peacedevelopmentnetwork on November 25, 2013

Youth Panel - Human Rights and Education 450The final conference session of the ‘Human Rights: Are Democratic Nations Upholding a Better Standard?’ was organised by Youth UPF and entitled ‘Youth Human Rights and Education’. It was held in the House of Lords Committee Room 4A and hosted by Professor Lord Bhikhu Parekh on Friday November 22nd. This conference was partner of Parliament Week and was one of many events held during the week.

Ilaria Esposito, a member of the Advisory Council for Youth on the Council of Europe spoke about aspects of the Youth Policy, which aims to provide young people (boys and girls) with equal opportunities enabling them to develop their skills and knowledge. The Council of Europe intend to promote access to rights as a lot of the existing tools lack a solid framework to reach young people, as well as increasing cooperation and promoting social rights. I found this talk enlightening as I never knew how much these resources had previously existed.

David Hayward, from University of Glasgow put a few terminologies under the microscope and made us really think about what we are doing with regards to human rights to education and how our understanding of it affects how it is implemented. He first raised the question of what defines a young person as well as pointing out what rights we have to education and what we should be thinking about going forward.

Dr Neil Falzon, Director of Human Rights at Aditus Foundation spoke about the marginalised and excluded groups, and how examining those subsets of the population can give us a new perspective on human rights. Various scenarios were presented, such as refugees who often found themselves at conflict with a system that is so out of touch with the reality of a refugee that far too many relevant cases are deemed irrelevant simply because the system was not appropriately designed. The importance of being acknowledged was raised as well as using a subject’s perception of their limits as a way to gauge the disparity of their available rights.

Kanchan Jadeja, Chair at National Council for Voluntary Youth Services UK, delivered a speech on how social mobility can be achieved through education. Every country makes provisions for education, but what Jadeja illustrated is that a child’s education is a fundamental driving force in their social mobility (or non mobility). Because of this children who receive a private education are disproportionately represented in the higher echelons of society, while children who did not receive private education are much less likely to find themselves in those same positions, not as a result of their own limitations as a human being but through the lack of continual educational development that cannot be addressed in conventional state schools.

Professor Lord Bhikhu Parekh, Professor of Political Philosophy at the University of Westminster, brought a more philosophical perspective on human rights as he delivered a speech that invoked a great deal of contemplation on the topic of human rights and democracy as a whole. Parekh pointed out that democracy is more than a system but is also a way of life. It requires the people to behave differently towards the running of their country and is not easily transported to a nation that is new to the concept of democracy. “There are no all-encompassing solutions,” an important message that Lord Parekh reminded us of, and that we run the risk of liberating nations from tyranny to become democratic, assuming that things will just work without considering any shortcomings of a system subject to interpretation and subjectivity. (Link to Speech)

Christa Kamga, Director of Youth UPF UK delivered a speech on living within the spirit of the law. In this speech Kamga presented the philosophy of working from the bond of heart and conscience while learning to respect different people as a core focus. This enables us to address human rights not by following a written declaration but by use of the human heart: caring and living for the sake of the other person. Sadly there is a contradiction within human beings who desire to be selfless and invest in another person’s development but that desire clashes with our tendency to focus purely on ourselves at the potential expense of others.

Keldon Alleyne

One Response to “Youth Human Rights and Education”

  1. […] Youth Human Rights and Education […]

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