EU help for campaign against racial discrimination

Guyana Chronicle
November 13, 1999

THE issue of racial discrimination will be further ventilated by the newly-formed group of teenagers, Rights of Children (ROC), in a campaign to be waged under the guidance of Guyana Human Rights Association (GHRA).

The drive will be launched on November 20 to coincide with the 10th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child and continue for six months.

The European Union (EU) pledged additional assistance when its local delegation presented booklets and posters, illustrating the 30 articles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), to GHRA Thursday.

Five hundred copies of each publication including one entitled `What? Me? A Racist?' were donated by the EU which is seeking ways to promote the principles of what it embodies.

Economic Advisor to the EU mission here, Ms Maria Ralha, speaking at the presentation, said it was made because Guyana faces a similar race problem as Europe.

She said the brochures created "for our own internal purpose" were found "very relevant" to Guyana's circumstances.

Ralha pointed out that the cartoons are "very European" in the way they express certain messages, highlighting obvious racist behaviour.

The diplomat said they expected more soon and will donate them, too.

The membership of ROC, drawn from University of Guyana (UG), high schools and other youth organisations, decided to embark on the venture after successfully concluding training programmes on the Convention with more than 50 groupings countrywide.

The exercise, dubbed `Holding on to Friendships', recognises that racial discrimination is the most dominant question and leads to peer pressure and suicide.

The thrust will challenge adult society to be more sensitive in their conduct towards people of other races "and encourage young people not to allow racial feelings to come between them."

"We believe that we will be successful because young people can more easily network with other young people and, being a force for change, we can then influence the attitudes of adults," ROC documentation said.

The undertaking includes collecting signatures to declare Guyana a race free zone.

Those pledging will sign a certificate that would be placed also on the walls of building.

Such certification can be obtained from ROC, GHRA or centres across the country.

The programme of activities envisages, as well, the painting of 20 murals at different public places with the theme `The Colour of Friendship', a song competition titled `Rhymes and Rhythms' billed for November 20 and a jingle on the local air waves.

Coordinator of Human Rights Education, Ms Merle Mendonza said some booklets were produced through a three-stage pilot project tested in 60 schools, addressing co-curriculum subjects and the rights and responsibilities which encompass the values contained in the UDHR.

She acknowledged that the other materials were received at an opportune time and will benefit especially the young people of the nation. (Stacey Davidson)

g gowns each worth US$329.

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