Circling the globe to bring home the importance of human rights education, this year’s Youth for Human Rights World Tour made an impact in 11 countries.

In Japan, World Tour events explored solutions to various human rights infringements, such as bullying and religious intolerance, while also training new trainers to forward the movement.

In the words of the late freedom fighter, Nelson Mandela: “To deny people their human rights is to challenge their very humanity.”

While we may all agree with that truth in principle, the only way individuals the world over can defend that “very humanity” is to know their rights.

That is the mission of Youth for Human Rights International: to reach and enlighten the bulk of the world’s population who live in ignorance of the fundamental freedoms they are guaranteed.

To that end, Youth for Human Rights International conducts its annual Educational World Tour, presenting the program as a resource to national and local leaders, officiating at regional summits, developing new human rights groups, and inspiring youth to become advocates for peace and tolerance, thereby leaving a new generation of freedom fighters in its wake.

Here is a brief summary—just the highlights—of this year’s four-month journey around the world in the name of those goals.

That is the mission of Youth for Human Rights International: to reach and enlighten the bulk of the world’s population.

In late February, the World Tour launched with a summit in Washington, DC, USA, with a ceremony honoring five human rights champions—from Alabama, California, Florida, Georgia and Maryland—whose more than 100 hours of service to others earned each the prestigious Presidential Volunteer Service Award.

The World Tour next flew to Mexico, officiating at a regional summit held in the House of Congress of Nuevo Leon.

In Guatemala, the Tour’s third stop, Youth for Human Rights International joined with the Office of the Guatemala Attorney General to celebrate International Women’s Day on March 8th in Guatemala City, and officiated at an event hosted at the headquarters of the national military highlighting the contribution of women in the armed forces.

Colombia next welcomed the YHRI team, who educated Bogotá students on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and modern-day violations of Human Right #4: No Slavery, to raise their awareness and responsibility for their fellow man.

Next up was Brazil, a nation whose people say it is “torn apart,” and where many believe human rights only serve to defend criminals. To dispel with that fallacy, the World Tour team met with the General Secretary of Brazil’s largest information syndicate, who now plans to promote YHRI tools through his company’s far-reaching website and newsletter.

The World Tour team then met with representatives of the National Secretariat of Human Rights, the Ministry of Education and the Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs himself. And to top it off, the Commander-in-Chief of a multi-award-winning Brazilian military school, now plans to implement a pilot program with YHRI, to export nationally from there.

Guests at a Youth for Human Rights exhibit in Trinidad and Tobago.
YHRI President Mary Shuttleworth is interviewed on Trinidad and Tobago television.

In the Caribbean islands of Trinidad and Tobago, the World Tour joined forces with the US-based National Association of Blacks in Criminal Justice, the Pen or Pencil Program and the Commissioner of the Trinidad and Tobago Prisons to introduce juvenile and adult inmates to their fundamental human rights. “We Are All Born Free and Equal,” “Don’t Discriminate,” “The Right to Life” and “The Right to Responsibility” were all brought home in a seminar that will air to every prisoner on the islands.

The team further made history, with the first-ever human rights course delivered to Trinidad and Tobago prison staff-in-training—some 200 in all—during which the Deputy Commissioner of Prison Programs spoke about the importance of respecting prisoners’ human rights.

Austria’s UN Office of Drugs and Crime in Vienna serves as the headquarters for the Human Trafficking and Migrant Smuggling Section, whose senior officials met with the World Tour on its way to India, where a human rights summit featured delegates from Afghanistan, Malaysia and Nepal. Youth for Human Rights’ Malaysian delegate serves as the youngest government official in his country, and hopes to host the World Tour there in 2017.

South Africa’s World Tour summit was featured in our August newsletter, while in Taiwan, delegates from India, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Nepal, Sri Lanka and the United States came together for a three-day conference. The Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the New Taipei City Education Bureau all participated in an event featured in more than 34 newspapers across Taiwan.

Finally, in Japan, World Tour events explored solutions to bullying, discrimination, child labor and religious tolerance, while training the trainers to pass on the torch.

All told, traveling 48,835 miles through 11 countries, meeting with dozens of national officials, delivering training to hundreds and opening many new doors, this year’s World Tour team counts its trip a success—for it embraced the spirit of that “very humanity” human rights serve to protect.


Become a member of United for Human Rights and join the international human rights movement. UHR assists individuals, educators, organizations and governmental bodies in all parts of the world to raise awareness of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.