Amnesty Youth Human Rights Festival

01/07/2021

PREPARATIONS OF THE FESTIVAL

Organizing the international human rights festival took about two months. We started contacting the participating groups in February, sharing our idea with them, regarding the celebration of Amnesty's 60th birthday. Organizing the meetings wasn't always easy due to the fact that we're still attending high school or university, but about ten people still managed to take part in the whole process.

Working together with groups from several other countries, we had some unexpected challenges. When we started planning, we did not think that we would have to learn how to use new communication platforms or that we would learn about lots of different human rights issues and cases.

The hardest part of the process was finding the experts. We contacted a lot of people and organizations regarding the different topics. Although we could not finalize the speakers' list very quickly, our youth club came into contact with lots of experts and organizations that we can work with in the future.

During the planning of the event, we had to consider several factors, like the relevance of the topics and the right time-setting to reach a young audience. We also thought it was very important to learn about certain issues with the help of experts from different countries, regarding different countries (Consent-based law across Europe panel discussion, LGBTQ+ issues in Central Europe panel discussion).

During the last week of preparation, we had a meeting every other day, where we mostly discussed the technical side of the event. We had people who were responsible for the live broadcasting, and the moderators also played a huge part in the discussions.

We are very happy and proud to have seen our idea come to life.

LGBTQ DISCUSSION

During the festival, we wanted to draw attention to LGBTQ+ issues in Eastern Europe. We were lucky enough to have a very interesting discussion with two prominent guests who educated us on the topic:

  • Czeslaw Walek- a polish originated, now Czech lawyer and LGBT+ activist. Between 2009 and 2011 he worked for the human rights and minority minister and he is the founder and president of the Prague Pride Organization. He is also part of an organization called Jsm Fér; they are fighting for marriage equality in Czechia.

  • Rémy Bonny- a Belgian political philosopher and LGBTQ activist, he is the executive director of the Forbidden Colours NPO, which fights for the support and stabilization of LGBTQ organizations across the EU.

During the discussion, we talked about important matters such as marriage equality, the effect of the pandemic on LGBTQ youth and how in balance is the opinion of nations and the governmental actions regarding queer rights.

It was a very educational and sensible talk, which we hope gets to a lot of people and gives them new information and guidance on this topic.

ROMA SEGREGATION DISCUSSION

During the Festival we had the opportunity to talk with Bettina Pocsai about Roma segregation and how it can be stopped or stood up against. Bettina works for an organization called UCCU, where they aim to destigmatize the discussion about Roma people and their culture in schools. They have different types of classes and workshops for young Hungarians where they can ask questions they might not be able to do elsewhere and together they can work on debunking harmful stereotypes.

The aim of having these discussions is to raise Roma voices and help create a new generation that embraces Roma culture and identity as part of their nation's heritage.

Bettina told us about the prejudices and experiences that Roma kids face every day, sometimes in the forms of segregation or even violence. She talked about the importance of breaking down stereotypes and the importance of our personal fights against it every day. Their organization helps us unlearn these harmful views with the previously mentioned educational programs and also walk tours in districts that are known for their Roma community.

She also gave a short history lesson about the origin of the Roma people and about her personal experiences working at UCCU. We learnt that the most important thing towards change is to be open-minded and ready to unlearn your own prejudices. With trust, conversations like these, we believe that the solution can be found in all of us.

All the discussions are available on Facebook on the AmnestyXDebrecen page.