Youth for Human Rights Nigeria Takes on the Challenge of a Better Future

Nationwide campaign mobilizes youth to defend and protect the rights of Nigerians

Youth for Human Rights Nigeria

More than 20 chapters of Youth for Human Rights International use education to raise the bar on human rights in Nigeria — a country of tremendous potential but grave humanitarian situations.

Although possessed of a wealth of natural resources and Africa’s largest economy, some 87 million, almost half of Nigeria’s population, live in extreme poverty — more than in any other country in the world. Five years of insurgency from the Boko Haram have left some 2.4 million people uprooted, including over 1.9 million internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the northeast of the country. Some 43 percent of girls are married before their 18th birthday — 17 percent by 15. 

These and other human rights crises inspire youth from across the country to stand up for human rights. In celebration of the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Nigeria’s Youth for Human Rights groups organized street events, marches and celebrations in partnership with human rights commissions, educators, law enforcement and community leaders. Their goal is empowerment by informing people of their rights. 

In Abuja, Youth for Human Rights (YHR) worked with the Human Rights Commission of Nigeria, the Ministry of Education and the Netherlands Embassy on a human rights quiz for students age 10 to 16 from five Abuja schools. Youth for Human Rights presented the winners with sets of the Youth for Human Rights educational materials. The YHR group also organized a 5K human rights march through the city.

In Badagry, a coastal town in Lagos State, Youth for Human Rights visited two orphanages where they educated children on their rights. Also in Lagos, Youth for Human Rights participated in a human rights ceremony at the United Nations Information Centre. Representatives of the Nigeria police, civil defense corps, customs and immigration service pledged to support and protect human rights and signed a copy of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Youth for Human Rights Ebonyi State chapter organized a human rights summit in Abakaliki. In Ibadan, the third most populous city in Nigeria, Youth for Human Rights held a symposium in collaboration with American Corner Ibadan, a cultural exchange program established by the U.S. Embassy at the Nigerian Society for Information. Speakers encouraged those attending to seek justice for young girls who have been abducted by Boko Haram and sold into slavery. 

In Kaduna, Youth for Human Rights organized an interfaith music concert and helped stage a human rights “freedom walk” with the Cyrus Centre for Human Rights Education, the Nigerian Peace Corp, Triumph International School, Piety High School, Campaign for Democracy and the Empowering Women for Excellence Initiative (EWEI). The walk aimed to create awareness of human rights in a state where an understanding of these rights is severely lacking. 

Youth for Human Rights is a grassroots movement reaching out in 195 countries in 27 languages and embraced by thousands of activists, officials, groups and organizations. The story of Youth for Human Rights International is featured on the Scientology Network in an episode of Voices for Humanity. Founder and president Dr. Mary Shuttleworth, a compassionate educator and passionate human rights advocate, has traveled 590,000 miles on 15 annual Youth for Human Rights World Educational Tours, meeting with officials, educators and youth and helping to establish hundreds of YHRI clubs and chapters in 90 countries. 


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