Tag: march

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Investing in Youth: Why Civic Engagement Matters?

The decline in youth participation in politics points to a potential crisis for democracy. But can this crisis be avoided? Over the past two decades, attention has been focused on what many think is a crisis in youth civic and political engagement. This concern has been prompted by research evidence suggesting that younger voters participate less in national elections than older citizens. Additionally, there is the danger of declining voting rates among the young in one or another country over the years. Such developments are often taken as an early warning that the future health of democracy could be at risk. The concern is based on the proposition that political habits formed in youth condition lifelong patterns of political involvement; consequently, today’s disengaged youth would become tomorrow’s disengaged adults. Political and civic engagement manifest in varied forms other than electoral participation. Traditional modes of engagement include voting, working for political parties during elections, and urging others to vote.

On the other hand, there are non-traditional, dynamic modes of civic engagement: participating in demonstrations, protests, and marches; signing petitions, and contributing to political discussions using blogs and social media. In addition, civic actions such as community service, problem-solving programs, and fundraising for social causes provide another avenue of participation, which, though not political, is critical for community wellness and engagement. Diverse avenues provide young people various ways of contributing civically and politically as part of a broad spectrum of participation beyond the ballot box.

On the other hand, young people across various political systems often need more opportunities to actively engage and make an impact within the established political order. Not to mention possessing economic capital, a significant portion of young people worry about getting a job, while another significant portion is concerned about keeping their job. While grappling with these concerns, it isn’t easy to exist or turn towards mainstream politics. Even if they try to enter politics, the institutions and individuals dominant in mainstream politics need to “grant” young people space there so that they can exist in politics. We cannot enter mainstream politics and feel crushed under our country’s economic and political problems that affect our lives. Change is a mandatory way out for everyone, and I want to be one of the subjects of this change. This is where new methods and pathways begin to develop. These methods may emerge as reflections of difficulties, not requiring very robust and detailed planning. Through various youth formations and initiatives, young people practice organizing, advocacy, and demanding. These are individually very valuable internally, but at some point, we need to come together to be able to exert pressure. Coming together does not necessarily mean agreeing on everything. Just uniting on certain basic rights and freedoms is enough to create pressure. Building unity based on common basic desires is possible, and more than possible, it is necessary. The political value of youth as a voting potential has been “discovered.” Still, the real question is whether we should use this potential just for a slightly better status quo or ensure that changes break the power monopoly established political groups hold. What needs to happen is to fight for the necessary adjustments in the representation mechanism when change occurs. This will be a valuable gain for young people and all groups experiencing representation issues. We need to work to use the various practices we experience today to create pressure and force the system to change.

Also, the role of education in shaping young people’s civic engagement must be balanced. Schools that foster an environment where students can freely discuss ethical, social, civic, and political issues help cultivate a generation that is not only well-informed but also deeply engaged. Encouraging discussions around controversial topics and supporting students to express and listen to diverse opinions enriches their political interest, trust, and knowledge. Such educational practices increase the likelihood that students will participate in future elections.

Implementing democratic principles in schools, such as through student councils and representation in decision-making bodies, reinforces these lessons practically. This hands-on approach to democracy at a young age can significantly bolster student engagement.

Adopting a competence-based curriculum that emphasizes essential civic and political engagement skills is crucial in preparing students to be effective change-makers in society. Schools should concentrate on cultivating a deep understanding of politics, coupled with analytical and critical thinking skills, civic responsibility, and effective communication. These competencies are foundational for nurturing students into informed and autonomous participants in democracy.

Integrating innovative teaching methods such as cooperative learning, project-based learning, and service-learning can significantly enhance the acquisition of these vital competencies. These pedagogical strategies engage students actively and foster a practical understanding and application of their knowledge and skills in real-world settings. By embedding these competencies within the curriculum, educational institutions can empower students to actively engage in and positively impact their communities and the broader political landscape.

These competencies are crucial for local or national issues and equally vital for addressing global challenges like climate change, pollution, poverty, and human rights. In today’s interconnected world, fostering global-mindedness or a concern for humanity and the planet is essential. This global perspective is increasingly evident in young people’s civic actions, demonstrating their commitment to local communities and global well-being.

Contemporary research shows that young people with high levels of global-mindedness are more engaged in cultural exchanges, appreciate diversity, support global human rights, and participate in environmental conservation. Educational institutions are crucial in nurturing these traits by integrating global issues into their curricula, which helps students understand global challenges and the interdependence of communities.

In addition to traditional foreign language classes, schools should offer intercultural learning opportunities through student exchange programs, international video conferences, and collaborative online international learning projects. These experiences help students understand and respect cultural differences.

Schools must also encourage students to apply their global competencies in real-world contexts, such as service learning projects, internships with international organizations, or community projects with a global dimension. This helps students turn their academic knowledge into action and reinforces their roles as active global citizens.

In conclusion, the dynamic landscape of youth engagement presents many reasons for optimism. By effectively utilizing national education systems, we can bolster young people’s preparedness for active involvement in their local communities and on the global stage. This strategic enhancement of educational frameworks can nurture well-rounded global citizens ready to contribute positively to society.

BY BURAK BATUHAN KARAKUS

we-marched- all-victimised- women-day
CommitteeHuman Rights Defenders

We marched for all victimised women

At the Women’s Day march in London, thousands of people, including HRS volunteers in purple raincoats and masks, demanded justice. The London march for International Women’s Day took place on Saturday 9 March this year. Thousands of women took part in the march, which started on Oxford Street and ended in Trafalgar Square. Organised by Million Women Rise, the event is supported by all associations or foundations working in the field of women’s rights in the UK.

As in the previous 3 years, Human Rights Solidarity (HRS) Women’s Rights Committee members were also present at the march, which is known as the ‘world’s biggest women’s rights’ event. HRS Women’s Committee participated in the march with an interesting concept this year. About 40 HRS volunteer women wore purple raincoats and white masks on their faces. On the masks were written the names of women who were arrested in Turkey despite being sick, pregnant or having babies.

HRS volunteers also carried placards expressing the problems of all women who have been subjected to injustice or persecution. For example, there were banners written in Kurdish to draw attention to the injustice suffered by Kurdish women in Turkey, including one with the name of former MP Huda Kaya, who is currently in detention. There were also banners drawing attention to the current ‘genocide’ in Gaza, the war in Ukraine and the persecution of Uyghur people.

Throughout the march, women drew attention to the fact that more than 9,000 women have been killed in Gaza and frequently chanted slogans calling for an immediate ceasefire. The women also emphasised the need for governments to take more measures to end male violence.

HRS Women’s Committee Chair Ceyda Betul Kemanci made the following statement about the event: “As HRS, we participate in this important march with a different concept every year. Last year, we marched with a platform with a woman and child mannequin that we placed in a boat to explain the problems experienced by those who had to flee from Meric River due to unlawful behaviour in Turkey. This year we wore purple raincoats to represent women’s rights. There are also many women who are unjustly and unlawfully imprisoned in Turkey. In order to make their voices heard, we wore masks with the names of women, especially those who are sick, pregnant or with babies. We demanded an immediate end to these atrocities. We demanded that the ECtHR’s Yalcinkaya judgement be implemented without further delay. We demanded an end to the systematic torture and that those responsible be punished.

At the rally organised in Trafalgar Square where the march ended, speeches were made in line with the general concept of the march. Those who took the floor raised the voices of all girls and women who had been subjected to violence and expressed that they could put an end to male violence together. The demand for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza was also voiced here.

march-for-refugee-rights-london
EventsImmigration Committee

15-mile march for refugee rights

Members of the activist group United Bridges and some Human Rights Solidarity volunteers marched for refugee rights on 24 June.  The event, organised as part of Refugee Week, started in Battersea Park in London and continued for around 15 miles along the Thames Path, ending at Cutty Sark in Greenwich.

Batuhan Karakus from the march team commented on the protest as follows:

The March for Human Rights, held on 24 June 2023, was a transformative event that brought together people from diverse backgrounds to advocate for refugee rights and promote solidarity. The event allowed us to engage in meaningful conversations about human rights, artificial intelligence, and child development. Throughout the march, we listened to first-hand accounts of courage and resilience from refugees, which deepened our understanding of their challenges.

Discussions on the intersection of human rights and artificial intelligence provided valuable insights into how we can harness AI for the betterment of society while safeguarding human dignity and equality. The march’s success was measured not only by the number of participants but also by the impact it had on raising awareness and fostering empathy.

We are committed to continuing this vital work and invite everyone to join us in our efforts to create a world where human rights are protected, and every individual is valued and respected.

Thank you for being part of this inspiring journey.

march-for-human-rights-refugees
EventsImmigration CommitteeNext Events

Join us for a march for human rights and refugees

We look forward to welcoming you to the march for refugee rights on 24 June with our partner United Bridges. Join us for an empowering march along the Thames Path, advocating for human and refugee rights on the 24th of June 2023 in London during Refugee Week.

The march begins at 10 am at the Peace Pagoda, a symbol of peace and harmony in Battersea Park.

We have a limited space for 40 participants, so don’t forget to register for this transformative march as we strive for a world where every individual’s rights are respected. Together, we can make a difference.

For more information about the march, please click here: https://refugeeweek.org.uk/event/march-for-human-rights/

If you want to participate in the march, click here to register: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/march-for-human-rights-tickets-654034584047