Activists March for Mandatory Human Rights Education

Human rights advocates march to accomplish the goals of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on its 70th anniversary.

Young advocates at Lincoln Memorial

As the new year approaches, human rights violations are a fact of life internationally: poverty, illiteracy, persecution of populations based on ethnic or religious differences, and more victims of human trafficking than during the peak of the slave trade of the 1880s and 90s. What's more, no country has a passing grade on its human rights "report card" for 2018. 

To raise awareness on the subject of human rights, a group of young advocates gathered at Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., to march in support of mandatory human rights education.

The march was organized by Youth for Human Rights International (YHRI) and was joined by members of Peace Lights and the Pan-African Diaspora Youth Association (PADYA). 

The activity was part of a global movement in honor of the 70th Anniversary of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR): If widely applied, the UDHR would end human rights abuses everywhere.

"The more awareness we bring to human rights, the more people will realize how little they know about them," said a fashion model from Somalia who participated in the walk. "If we are taught early on about the non-negotiable human rights listed in the UDHR, we will be encouraged to stand up for what we deserve and carry those habits into adulthood."

Youth for Human Rights D.C. and other national and international chapters have been champions on this campaign. Erica Rodgers, U.S. National Director of Youth for Human Rights International and organizer of the march said, "We stand here united as human rights defenders from around the world, determined to bring about freedom for all, starting with awareness of these basic human rights."

Youth for Human Rights International (YHRI) is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to inspire young people to become valuable advocates for tolerance and peace by educating them on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. YHRI educational materials are used in classrooms, at conferences and international summits, and through art programs, concerts and interactive community events. Recent campaigns have included #KnowYour30—a campaign to increase awareness of the 30 human rights and how they are a part of everyday life. To learn more go to or watch a documentary on how Youth for Human Rights began.

The Church of Scientology and Scientologists support United for Human Rights and its program for young people, Youth for Human Rights International. United for Human Rights has developed highly acclaimed human rights curricula for use in primary schools, high schools, and universities. The Church makes these human rights educational materials available free of charge to educators, mentors, community programs and individuals seeking to make this world a better place. United for Human Rights has grown into a truly grassroots movement—the world’s largest nongovernmental human rights education campaign, reaching out in 195 countries in 27 languages and embraced by thousands of activists, officials, groups and organizations.


Related Media