70th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights #StandUp4HumanHights

Scouting and Humanitarian Action
Portrait de Interamerican Scout Region
by Interamerican S... from Panama
Publication date: 11. déc 2018

This December 10, 2018 marks the 70 Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of the United Nations.

The World Scout Bureau - Interamerica Support Centre (WSB - IARSC), in collaboration with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (UN Human Rights) to Central America, and the National Association of Scouts of Panama met in the Gran Colonial room of the Bristol Hotel, Panama City, to carry out the "Human Rights Workshop", with the aim of training and sensitizing children, youth and adults in the subject. Hoping that, in the future, participants will share and replicate what they learned during the event in their communities and scout units.

The opening ceremony began at 10:00 AM, with the assistance of 35 members of the National Association of Scouts of Panama, as well as the presence of Marlene Alejos, Regional Representative of UN Human Rights; Raul Sánchez Vaca, Director of the Interamerican Support Centre of the World Scout Bureau; and Jorge Medina, Executive Director of the National Association of Scouts of Panama.

It began with the speech of Marlene Alejos, talking about the historical importance of the Declaration of Human Rights and how from the vision of youth can be felt and lived Human Rights (HR), emphasizing the need for the assessment of these, the role of the State in compliance, as well as the great social responsibility of its protection and dissemination. Next, Raul Sanchez took the floor, who shared the work that the Scout Movement has maintained on the fulfillment of Human Rights through the work carried out in the Scout units, youth projects, social participation and international events where the ties of cultural understanding and peace-building have also been strengthened.


"As a child and as a young person, you have the right to be heard, you have the right to speak up... we must make a change," Alejos said as part of the workshop opening speech.


"In Scouting we seek to Create a Better World where our own rights and other people are respected. Let's walk the path together and take advantage of this opportunity so that this opportunity will lead us to be prepared to SERVE" said Raul Sanchez.


Jorge Medina also shared some words, citing article No.27 of the Declaration on the right to freely take part in the cultural life of the community, to enjoy the arts and to participate in scientific progress; where he also made a reflection on how through the Scout Movement active citizens have been formed who attend the call to action in their communities.


As part of this collective commitment, an exchange of letters of intent was held between UN Human Rights for Central America and the World Scout Bureau - Interamerica Support Centre that invites both parties to work together in Human Rights projects and initiatives.


The first part of the workshop was directed by Sara Nuero, who began talking about the definition and foundations of Human Rights, and how from some of her experiences with vulnerable groups affected by discrimination and social segregation began to raise awareness of the other's recognition as an equal, also inviting the public to share their experiences and opinions on this subject.


The workshop focused on glimpsing the real situation of our society, where Human Rights are not exercised equitably as a result of social differences and how each of us can exercise them, adopt them, make them our own and become defenders of the rights of others.


"When Scouts work in communities we can identify realities and existing shortcomings, in addition to the Rights that are not being exercised, Scout groups can be instruments of collaboration in favor of Human Rights"


Andrea Bolaños Vargas, Colombian, defender of rights with extensive experience in Latin America, and Scout since age 12, took the floor thanking the Scout Movement for being a youth space that ensures compliance with the 30 Human Rights embodied in the Declaration of 1948.

Participants were invited to community action and to assure future generations a better world, regardless of the place from which they work.

Bolaños Vargas also shared his experience as a companion to the Attorney General's Office, leaders and people affected by armed conflict in El Chocó, making it clear that defending Human Rights is a long and hard process where there are obstacles to defending them and that sometimes it is necessary take risks to get ahead, also making it clear that the voices of the communities must be heard, translated and understood by the decision makers.


The workshop came to an end with the following reflection:


  • The Rights of people are equal in all, regardless of differences, we are all free and worthy. Human rights advocacy and recognition is possible in all social strata, and empathy is the best tool to begin to achieve this.  -



Partnerships for the goals has been one of the main Global Goals impacted since the inception of this workshop, promoting quality education in children and young people to achieve a state of peace and equality between individuals within and outside the Scout Movement.


By Brandon Arevalo 

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