Attendees packed the International Auditorium in the heart of Brussels with the purpose to teach youth about human rights, specifically the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights and inspire them to become advocates for tolerance and peace. Youth for Human Rights International joined Jongeren voor Mensenrechten Belgium in hosting the 9th annual International Human Rights Summit 2012. Co-sponsors included Village Suisse ONG, The Ariel Foundation International, Grain de Sable ASBL, Human Rights Department of the Church of Scientology International and Des Jeunes pour les droits de l’homme Genève.
Flags were held high on September 7th, as Youth Delegates from around the world carried their flags side-by-side during the opening ceremony of the 3-day summit including Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Central African Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Liberia, Mexico, Morocco, Nepal, Russia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States of America and the Vietnamese community. During the Official Youth Ambassador Presentation, the delegates shared power point presentations and accounts of their Human Rights Education work in their local communities. Accounts included how the Youth Delegates used their skills such as art, performing, filmmaking, networking, translations, presentations at schools, workshops in the communities, organizing international walks for human rights and the list goes on and on. This year’s 30 youth delegates were selected from the nearly 1,000 applicants who submitted human rights essays with photographic evidence of their work to promote human rights in their local communities.
Mistress of Ceremonies Dr. Mary Shuttleworth, Founder and President of Youth for Human Rights International (YHRI), welcomed the honored guests including UN officials and UN country mission representatives, human rights and religious leaders, NGOs, local community activists and the community at large.