Youth take on the Challenge to Stop Torture

5 September 2014, 16:20 UTC | New Zealand
Members of Westlake Girls’ Amnesty International Youth Group with Freedom Challenge Coordinator Elley Parkes (top right). © Amnesty International
By Dayeon Lee - Student Leader for Westlake Girls’ Amnesty International Youth Group

In order to take action and raise awareness about the imprisoned Azerbaijani human rights activist group, N!DA, the Amnesty Youth Group at our school had events running all week: on Monday, the Group’s Student Leaders conducted a Walking Petition to gather signatures in support of the efficient and safe release of the N!DA activists; we held a Lunchtime Quiz for the Amnesty Youth Group Members on the Tuesday. Then on Wednesday, Westlake Girls’ hosted the Inter-school Human Rights Quiz Night; a Westlake Girls’ alumnus who has worked for the United Nations came as a Guest Speaker and presented to students on Thursday; and “The Amazing Race for Freedom” took place at lunchtime on the Friday afternoon.

Overall, organising and partaking in the Freedom Challenge week was as challenging, exciting and thoroughly enjoyable as every year thus far. Westlake Girls’ has participated in Freedom Challenge for the last ten years consecutively.

Highlights have included the Mummy Wrapping competition for the “Chalk Like an Egyptian” campaign last year and the Silence-A-Thon as part of the “Forced Evictions” campaign the year before.

The main goal of Westlake Girls’ Youth Group is to make the annual topic bigger, louder and more prevalent than before by spreading awareness and impacting as many individuals as possible.

My hope is that the global community, including Westlake pupils, youth members, New Zealand adults, and everyone else, will join in the fight for universal human rights. I believe it is of essence to always remember, consider and support those that we share this world with. In this way, we will be working to fulfil our roles as global citizens to ensure that those with the inability to convey their voices can be supported and protected by those privileged enough to have the undisputed right to expression.

Having been involved with Amnesty for the past four years, I have personally found the whole experience to be enjoyable, very informative and incredibly humbling. I have been shocked at hearing about particularly horrific human rights violations, as well as ecstatic upon learning of the good and successful human rights’ news.

Additionally, having been a Student Leader for three of those four years, it has been so rewarding to work alongside passionate teachers and solicitous young girls as we all strive for a common goal. My hope is that Westlake Girls’, as well as the global community, will continue in the fight to achieve Amnesty International’s principal vision of a world where “every person enjoys all the rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international human rights standards.”=

Next year, I am sure, will only be full of more exciting human rights campaigning, activism and impact – and we cannot wait to get involved!

International Region: