Youth talk on rights at museum

2019-03-21 06:00
A Youth Connect discussion took place, focusing on human rights, on Saturday 16 March.

A Youth Connect discussion took place, focusing on human rights, on Saturday 16 March.

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Youth Connect held a session on Saturday 16 March, which focused on human rights, and its upholding and abuse.

The question posed on the day was, “Where do we draw the line and differentiate between claiming one’s rights and abusing it?”

The organisers say the topic was prompted mainly by observing a trend where learners show disrespect towards their educators, and in the process abuse their fundamental right to a decent education.

It also intersects with this month, March, being Human Rights month in South Africa, with the 21st commemorated as Human Rights Day.

Amanda Koba of the Lwandle Migrant Labour Museum in Lwandle told City Vision of a disturbing tendency her team had picked up.

“We have seen throughout the country teachers being assaulted by learners,” she said. “So we noted that as the youth we tend to twist the rights we have to abuse it.

“So we decided to invite a panel of police, teachers and health practitioners to share their input on this and the challenges they face on a daily basis. We know people even go to local clinics and are seen demanding things.”

Koba said this topic would be extended to civic organisations and groups serving specific constituencies, such as LGBT (lesbinan, gay, bisexual and transgendered people) groups.

She believed LGBTs were still being abused because of their sexual orientation and wanted to afford them the space to speak.

Lwandle’s Station Commander, Col Xolani Williams, said discussions were very fruitful.

He said he noted many youth knew nothing about structures such as the Community Policing Forum (CPF), in which it was time they were also involved.

“The youth are representing themselves as individuals in these engagements, instead of as part of structures that hold government accountable for any issue directly affecting them,” he said.

“A positive mind is a solution to a problem, and negative mind is a problem to a solution.”

Williams urged the youth to embrace their human rights responsibly, a privilege enshrined in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

“Everyone’s right is limited, so you may have a right, but if you abused it then there’s a problem,” he said.

“Everyone may have the right to protest, for example. But if they go on a rampage destroying property and burning rubble in the streets, the police need to intervene because they are abusing their right to protest.”

He urged the youth to know what they wanted to be early on, while still at school, and to be focused and single-minded in their efforts to fulfil their goal.

Williams suggested a meeting be held with the youth as soon as possible, involving the CPF in devising projects for youth development, if indeed this organisation intends playing a more concerted role in the development of young crime fighters.


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