A new generation of young people committed to peace and human rights has received the prestigious Václav Havel Prize. The prize is named after one of the founders of Charta '77 which advocated a peaceful overthrow of the communists in Czechoslovakia. The Youth Initiative for Human Rights receives the award for its outstanding work on peacebuilding and reconciliation in former Yugoslavia.
The prize was presented at a special ceremony on 30th September at the Palais de l’Europe in Strasbourg, on the opening day of the autumn plenary session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE). The Youth Initiative for Human Rights, established in 2003, promotes reconciliation through building connections between young people across the Balkans from different ethnic groups, regions and countries. By working together for human rights, they aim to build links that can prevent the re-emergence of ethnic conflict in the region.
The Youth Initiative for Human Rights is concerned with education on transitional justice, promotion of facts about war crimes and advocacy of new mechanisms for establishing facts, all with a view of combating denial and impunity for crimes. Through various forms of reports, education, campaigns, public actions and direct work with victims of war crimes and their families, YIHR seeks to contribute to creating a social situation in which young people are proponents of the message that victims deserve respect and criminals condemnation.
YIHR operates at a local level with a view to empowering youth to institute processes that contribute to creation of democratic and open communities in which there are no politically or socially excluded minorities. YIHR works on establishment of regional ties among young people who are capable of fighting against hatred and prejudices and advocates the advancement in regional cooperation between the governments and societies in the region.
Youth Initiative for Human Rights Regional Network is a network of organizations in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Kosovo, Montenegro and Serbia.
The Past Continues initiative is supported by PAX. It offers over 100 people in the Western Balkans the opportunity to make a generational step forward. Read more about the previous achievements of the youth network in this blog.
Dealing with the Past, Europe