Youth Skills Day is celebrated every year on July 15 by UNESCO. The World Youth Skills day of 2021 paid tribute to the resilience and creativity of youth through the pandemic crisis. We, as Human Rights Solidarity, celebrated youth skills with our Youth Action Committee (YAct), and held a live interview with our young friend Jude Daniel Smith on how the youth can be helped and empowered through this crisis.
We learned that there are many ways to receive support for our skills as young persons and how important is it to support the young people around us in such a time of crisis. Jude told us about his journey through the pandemic and his lobbying and activism experience in a time of crisis. This interview was motivating and supportive for all of us.
Humans have altered nearly three-quarters of the Earth’s ice-free land to meet an ever-increasing demand for food, raw materials, highways, and homes. Avoiding, slowing, and reversing the loss of productive land and natural ecosystems is urgent and critical for a rapid recovery from the pandemic and ensuring the long-term survival of people and the planet.
Over the next decade, current commitments from over 100 countries call for the restoration of nearly 1 billion hectares of land – an area nearly the size of China. If we restore this land, we will be able to provide enormous benefits to both people and the environment.
Environmental Rights Committee organised an Instagram Live event on the occasion of the World Day to Combat Desertification and had Nomhle Senene, a 13-year-old climate and social justice activist, and Jerome Foster II, an 18-year-old activist who is an Environmental Justice Council Member at the White House.
Human Rights Solidarity attests particular importance to supporting relatives of oppressed people in their times of difficulty. Hakan Dagdeviren is one such “child of incarcerated parents” who was diagnosed with leukaemia and was informed that cancer had metastasized to his liver, abdomen, neck, and armpits.
Human Rights Solidarity organized two Run for Hakan Events in March and May 2021 and gathered donations to improve conditions of Hakan and facilitate the marrow transplant surgery. Due to the Covid-19 restrictions we asked our volunteers to go out to the parks and run for Hakan for a minimum of 5 kilometers. We invited the running volunteers to join our live instagram broadcasts and share their thoughts with other volunteers.
Since the July 2016 coup attempt, Turkey has seen mass arrests and trials on terrorism charges of hundreds of thousands of people who have not involved in any violent act. Those people, among them are journalists, teachers, academics, human rights defenders, and opposition politicians, have been accused and tried for who they are, rather than what they might have done. Human rights groups have established that these proceedings were political and unfair.
Hakan’s parents are two of the 100,000 who have been imprisoned on false charges after 2016 in Turkey. His father was arbitrarily accused of terrorism just for being the head of a legally incorporated education company. Police raided their house on many occasions and interrogated Hakan about his parents when he was only 10 years old. These police raids and imprisonment of his parents made Hakan distressed. After all the things he went through Hakan was diagnosed with Leukaemia. He is being taken care of by his 70-year-old grandmother who is under threat due to COVID19 outbreak. Imagine a 10-year old kid’s life being upside down in political conflicts and imagine his parents’ grief and pain.
We didn’t only gather financial support for Hakan. We also encouraged our audience to write to their MPs and to the Ministry of Justice of Turkey in order to facilitate temporary release of either one of Hakan’s parents to stay with him during the murrow transplant. These attempts failed to convince the Turkish authorities, but we managed to transfer over £8,000 to Hakan’s relatives taking care of him before the transplant surgery.
Eventually Hakan had a successful surgery and entered a lengthy recovery process.