With the world coming together to celebrate Human Rights day on Thursday, December 10, One Young World wishes to honour a few of its young leaders fighting for the rights of others, especially refugees and migrants, around the globe.
The 2015 Summit in Bangkok highlighted the impact of migration on human rights issues, as it stems from turmoil at home and places refugees at risk of exploitation. The One Young World community identified immigrants as the world’s least protected group, with 80% of responses naming migration and refugee crises as a major global issue. A further 74% called on governments to do more to foster the healthy social and economic conditions that discourage emigration, and 71% stated that the international community does not do enough to protect asylum seekers.
The Human Rights session in Bangkok framed the issue through the principles of common humanity, the responsibilities of both individuals and governments and how young people in particular can help secure safety and protection for others.
Kamolnan Chearavanont, Thailand
Kamolnan fights to protect orphans, abused women and children and stateless migrants through her foundation the Voices Organisation. She works to provide shelter for stateless women and children in Northern Thailand, providing funding, medical resources and educational materials for the over 3.5 million stateless people in Thailand (over ¼ of the global stateless population). Kamolnan learned of the acute vulnerability of stateless people to abuse, rape and trafficking through her volunteer work and hopes to eventually grow her organisation and start her own CSR consulting firm focused on fighting against these atrocities in Asia. She also currently serves as a UNESCO Youth Peace Ambassador, organising several events to promote engagement with legal and social issues amongst young people.
Yeonmi Park, North Korea
Yeonmi Park fled North Korea at 13, risking everything at the hands of frontier guards and human traffickers to escape the oppressive Kim regime. Yeonmi’s speech at the One Young WorldSummit 2014 went viral and launched her as an international voice in the struggle for human rights in North Korea. Yeonmi’s harrowing and moving story has drawn international attention, with the Guardian describing her as “the human face of North Korea’s oppressed.” She regularly appears on the South Korean television program “I’m on My Way to Meet You”, which serves to build understanding between North and South Korean citizens, and works as a reporter for New Focus International, an organisation that utilizes North Korean contacts to spread the realities of its government to the world. She currently collaborates with Liberty in North Korea, co-hosts “North Korea Today, featuring Casey Lartigue and Yeonmi Park”, serves as the Ambassador of Teach North Korean Refugees, and works with both “Students For Liberty” and “Young Voices Advocates” to spread ideas of global liberty.
Danijel Cuturic, Bosnia
Daniel is passionate about human rights as his childhood was marked by the Yugoslav wars and education was the only opportunity to escape from its harsh reality. Danijel firmly believes in the transformative power of a great education. He currently works as Relief International's Education Program Manager in Jordan. He currently works to educate 6,000 Syrian refugees living in Jordanian refugee camps - where there are 600,000 young displaced people with no access to education.
He is also the Executive Director of the Association for Development of Knowledge Society LUMINA, which he founded to provide education to youth in Bosnia. LUMINA’s grassroots projects have helped more than 500 Roma children to receive high quality basic education. For several years he worked for different NGOs as an Educational Project Manager. Through these posts, he was initiating and managing projects that were targeted at reducing academic corruption at public universities in Bosnia, empowering young females though education and improving the quality of primary and secondary education through information literacy. As a result of Danijel’s work, most of the public universities have regulated their academic integrity, 4 young females have entered local and national parliaments and more than 1,000 students have increased their information literacy skills.
After attending the 2014 One Young World Summit in Dublin, Eddy Musoke founded the Happy 4 Life Network to push for the rights of children in his home the Democratic Republic of the Congo and around the world. Serving as the chair of the Children's’ Parliament of the DRC from 2009-2012, he critisized the governments’ and rebels’ involvement of children in armed conflict, eventually fleeing the country as he became a political target. His organisation utilizes 400 volunteers from 23 countries to demonstrate solidarity in the struggle for the rights and universal protection of children. Based in Nairobi, the network hosts programmes that educate children on their legal rights and provide secondary education for young refugees.