Welcome to the first issue of APYN You(th) Newsletter!
This newsletter will highlight stories about young people involved in APYN, issues and ways to get involved! This issue, we are happy to share Nia’s & Taisuke’s stories with you, an article on human rights by Raff! Plus, check out some tips for you to defend human rights. Enjoy reading!
You(th) profile – APYN Indonesian: Ethenia Novianty
1. Hi Nia. Please tell us a little about yourself.
I am Ethenia Novianty, you can call me Nia. I am 22 years old now, and studying communication in University of Indonesia. I live in Depok, nearby Jakarta, one of the most crowded and populated city in the world where we always expect for no traffic jam in the road when we go. I speak three languages, which are: Bahasa Indonesia, English, and Javanese (the traditional language).
2. How did you learn about APYN and get involved? What interested you most?
I learned about APYN when I found a link to APYN website, they said that they need MDGs facilitator, and I found myself interested in such issue. Besides, I’m also interested in the issue of human rights advocacy. What interests me about APYN is that it has so many members which are youth in Asia Pacific and they‘re all agents of change.
3a What authors, books, websites, movies or ideas have influenced you?
The movies that have influenced me are The Great Debaters, Cinderella Man, and The Damned United. They taught me about self determination and hard work to make dreams come true. They also told me that we can’t just take it for granted for anything that’s currently in us or about us, and most importantly about the miracle for those who believe it and want to find a way for it.
3 b Share with us what your typical day looks like!
My typical day looks are just what you think about college girl, but I like harajuku style anyway.
4. What is the human rights issue that concerns you the most?
The human rights issue I’m concerned about the most is about the equal rights between men and women. Because even there has been many advocacy and declarations to support this equality, discrimination against women can still be found everywhere, both at work or domestically. Personally, I am a woman, and for me, women deserve to get proper position and image in everything, more than just an “object” for men. Thank you
You(th) article on Human Rights -
What are human rights? And what can you(th) do to promote and protect them!
Human rights are inherent with being human. Put simply, without them we are not human. Without them our ability to function as humans or identify as humans is significantly inhibited.
To begin with human rights provide us with an identity. They allow us to decide who we are and how we identify. They allow us to a reasonable extent to live our lives as we feel most appropriate. With human rights we are allowed to be involved in the decisions about how we live our lives. Hence human rights allow us to relate to people in many different ways and on many different levels; it could be in the workplace as a professional or at home amongst family and friends. But without that ability to form an identity, and sense of being, (without human rights) this would not be possible.
Further, but just as important we need sustenance to live. Without the ability to access adequate food and water, the ability to exercise a choice as to how we relate to people would not be possible.
The way we express ourselves in our relations to one another and form our identity is also linked to our ability to participate in cultural and spiritual activities. They provide us with a vital and meaningful means to create bonds between people. Likewise our ability to participate in work provides humans with a sense of identity. This can be paid or unpaid. Either way it can provide meaning, ambition and a sense of fulfilment with one’s life.
None of this would be possible without the maintenance, promotion and development of a range of human rights. These are commonly distinguished from one another in terms of political, civic, cultural, economic and social human rights. Accordingly a hierarchy has been developed over time to reflect the importance placed on each set of human rights respectively. However such an approach is somewhat misleading. It fails to recognise that human rights are interdependent. As for one to be fully realised, another must be equally observed.
Therefore we must come together to protect every human right we have, because an attack on one, is an attack on all of them. It puts more than our livelihoods at risk, but our humanity.
You(th) article – APYN Japan, Taisuke’s story
Hello fellow APYN activists! I am Taisuke from APYN Japan. I am so delightful to share my story with colleagues. I joined APYN in May 2009 at the event called “Freedom Toast Café” held by the Amnesty International Tokyo English Network (AITEN) and AI Youth Network.
I was involved in a number of campaigns such as the Anti-Death Penalty campaign and Demand Dignity campaign, but the “Justice for Courageous Survivors Campaign (J4CW)” was the most remarkable one which was for demanding justice for so-called former “Comfort Women”. The campaign was completely and originally created and promoted by APYN activists. I was one of the coordinators of the Youth Campaign Team, and I cooperated with the wide range of tasks to form the campaign. We drafted the letter and decided the design of action cards which looks like a butterfly. We organised over 70 events all over the world and collected more than 4,700 signatures from January to May 2010. We brought those signatures to the Parliamentary Secretary of Foreign Affairs with the photo petition poster. The campaign was featured by a variety of media in South Korea, Japan, Australia, Pakistan and Hong Kong. Unfortunately, the government of Japan has not answered to the demands from the survivors of the sexual slavery system. Though the campaign may have not had any effect to change the situation, I believe we could prove that human rights violations will never be forgotten and somebody will stand up for justice, whenever it happened.
Currently, I am taking the Masters course in Human Rights at the University of Essex in the UK. In the university, I have organised a three day conference called “3rd Human Rights in Asia conference” which aims to raise awareness about human rights issues in Asia. I have to say that my experiences in APYN have helped me to deepen my academic understanding of human rights as I learned the practical difficulties to protect human rights in the Asia-Pacific region which also enabled me to be critical to the human rights theories.
After the Masters course, I wish to work in a human rights organisation and contribute to the realisation of human rights in the world.
Asia Pacific Youth Network Japan
Top 10 things you(th) can do to defend human rights!
These are simple things you can do that will only take a few moments of your time but will help to make a BIG difference.
1. Learn about human rights
Discover and learn human rights issue in your country and around the world through reading newspapers or websites.
2. Keep updated
Follow human rights organisations on social media and websites to stay informed about the campaigns. Sign up to mailing lists and receive regular updates about human rights work and other ways to get involved. Sign up for APYN newsletter and get the latest news about APYN too! Click here to sign up: http://bit.ly/apynnews
3. Talk about your personal experiences
Talk about your human rights stories, or people you think their rights are violated. Share your views with others and think about how this situation would be different if human rights were respected. Participate in APYN social media sites to discuss and share your views of human rights with young people from Asia Pacific here!
4. Spread the word
With social media, simply click to post, tweet, and educate the people that you know about the importance of human rights and what we can all do to help. Write to your school or local newspaper about an issue that concerns you. Another option is to submit articles to firstname.lastname@example.org, and share your news in APYN You(th) newsletter!
5. Become a volunteer
Volunteer with human rights organisations and get involved in the campaigns. Look for volunteering opportunities and with your help, more people will be more aware of the human rights issue. Do you wish to be part of a great campaign for human rights? Join the Burma Youth Campaign Team now!
6. Sign the petition
Add your name to the letter to petitions. We can all take action to make change happen. Take action here: http://bit.ly/f3riKE
7. Join a human rights group or workshop
There are lots of organisations in the Asia Pacific that promote human rights. You can also join workshops on human rights and they can provide you insights on human rights issue.
8. Facilitate human rights discussions
Encourage friends, family and neighbours to get involved in human rights discussions. Interesting ideas can be generated through interacting with people from different backgrounds. Join the APYN Chat Room and chat about what YOU think of political prison camps in North Korea. Share your thoughts here: http://on.fb.me/m5zcJR
9. Initiate an action
You may come up with your own creative ideas for actions. Set up a human rights project or awareness campaign in your school or neighbourhood. If you want to involve APYN, send an email to email@example.com!
10. Meet others and share your skills
Meet other young people who are working on the human rights issue, learn more and get trained up. Share your skills and help each other. Start by signing up to Skype School!
What do YOU(th) think? Having more tips to defend human rights? Leave your comments below!
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The views expressed here do not necessarily reflect the views of the Asia Pacific Youth Network.