By Styvn Obodoeke
YOUTHS have been charged to avoid dying in silence, but always raise their voices and speak their minds at all times without fear. The charge was given during a freedom of expression outreach/training organized recently at Ushafa Community in Bwari Area Council, near Abuja by the Nigerian office of Amnesty International, a global human rights organization.
Addressing the participants during the training, comprising of youths from the Ushafa community and its environs, Marsha Nwanne Umeh, Human Rights Education coordinator for Amnesty International who, facilitated the training, told the youths that they have the rights to express themselves since Human rights instruments as well as the constitution of Nigeria guarantee freedom of expression as a fundamental human right.
She noted that the voice of the youths, the future leaders, is required to ensure that present leaders of the country lead responsibly. She lamented that often times, youths choose to remain silent even when things are going wrong in the society, not minding that it is their future that is being toyed with.
She urged them to make good use of social media to express themselves responsibly, especially in terms of demanding accountability from those in authority, adding that it is the duty of the citizens to assert their right to freedom of expression.
In her own contribution, the Councilor for Ushafa ward in Bwari Area Council , Hon. Maryamu Isa Barnabas commended the Amnesty for bringing the human rights education project to BWARI. She encouraged the youths to put into practice the freedom of expression skills and techniques they acquired during the training and advised them to always speak their minds legally, without fear of victimization, saying that there is need for youths to develop positive attitudes for expressing themselves.
The participants thanked Amnesty International for the training, which they considered as an eye opener, saying they never knew that expressing themselves is a fundamental human right. They promised to begin to assert the right to express themselves and deign to demand accountability from their leaders.
“Human Rights Education is an integral part of Amnesty International’s work. People must understand their rights before they can claim them” Mrs. Marsha Umeh said .