Martuni Youth Address Human Rights at the Community Level

25 декабря, 2017

Օn December 7, the Martuni Infotun, in collaboration with the Vanadzor Infotun, facilitated a discussion on human rights at the United Nations Office in Armenia. The UN provided this opportunity as part of their observance of Human Rights Protection Month. During this month, the UN aims to introduce individuals to their 17 goals for sustainable development, as well as increase awareness of the human rights associated with them.

This opportunity allowed youth participants to exchange their experiences and have a deep discussion about human rights and development in their communities. About 20 people from Martuni participated in the training, including InfoTun volunteers and students from the Martuni high school and N1 primary school – many of which had never been exposed to non-formal education before.

Eric, a 13-year-old participant, thinks that meetings such as this are very important; to allow young people from different communities the chance to discuss their problems and brainstorm solutions together. Eric continued, stating: «When we presented the issues we had, I realized that Martuni and Vanadzor were not very different from each other. Both cities had similar problems, like garbage disposal, deforestation, and most importantly, insufficient jobs.”

When discussing some issues, participants didn’t initially associate them with human rights infractions. For example, Nare, a high school student, explained how there aren’t sidewalks on her street. Until this meeting, it didn’t occur to her that this maybe be a violation of her rights, limiting her community’s access to healthcare, education, work, and other opportunities that require safe and secure means of transportation. «When I think about poor road conditions, like lack of sidewalks or no street lights, I think it’s just a result of living in a poor community, where there’s no money to solve big problems,” Nare stated.

Taguhi, a Martuni InfoTun volunteer, thought the meeting was especially useful, not only because of the knowledge gained and the opportunity to collaborate, but also because they were able to make recommendations to the National Laboratory for Sustainable Development, allowing the voices of the youth to be heard.

«[Given the UN’s 17 goals for sustainable development], I think we need to continue to improve in all areas, no matter how incomplete or solved the goals may seem, because this is the environment we live in, and we should always try to improve it; especially in regards to gender equality and eliminating hunger and poverty from our cities and communities. These are still major issues, despite the fact that children can often receive a high quality education.”

The participants unanimously agreed that in a developed, sustainable economy, human rights are inevitably more ubiquitous and protected – they are interconnected and it’s impossible to imagine one without the other.