Youth Perspectives on Human Rights: UN Day Lesotho 2018

Excerpt of Speech by Nvulane Nhlapo - UN Youth Advisory Panel Representative

Nvulane Nhlapo

Recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and absolute rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world.Preamble, Universal Declaration of Human Rights

The above statement can rightly be called the cornerstone of human rights. For the well-being of any nation, this should be underscored in policy formulations and harmonized with local initiatives. All citizens remain responsible and they must remain informed and actively participate in advancing necessary initiatives for betterment of life for all.

Human rights reflect basic standards without which people cannot live in dignity. It is imperative to consider whether or not such is our reality in Lesotho. Let’s look at our youth today: can we honestly say that they know the significance of their Human Rights? Or rather are we aware of the need for our involvement? Our responsibilities? Even better, our duty to the community?

The youth are underutilized or are not as active in advancing human rights. On the flip side, they play the victim. Truth be told many are still ill-treated and/or abused. Some still face injustices. Yet there are no vibrant associations of youth who are vocal about a need to respect human rights by the oppressors.

We are also witnessing unprecedented inequalities, oppression, and levels of poverty and deprivation, which make mockery of our basic humanity, let alone human rights.

We are aware of the high rate of unemployment, affecting a larger population of youth and slowly killing their pride. This has also created mockery of our education which remains the idea to help people become the best they can be. The untapped potential of the young workforce renders them useless and inactive in the economic game, and there are no options to resort to.

This large percentage of youth is however an advantage for youth to be heard when they speak. The youth also have the ability to influence social media and use technology to their advantage.  Let’s keep this in mind, we have a right to serve our country in some way. We just need to find how. We can set the pace.

To my fellow youth, let us continue to be courageous and passionate in reclaiming everyone’s humanity. So that tomorrow we can all look at the world with pride at the progress it has made because of our united efforts. We can start doing this by taking a human rights declaration and spreading it online with the #MyDeclaration.

Happy UN Day 2018!