Beirut – The first phase of Euro-Med Monitor’s Beirut-based Youth for Rights Fellowship programme, which spans a total of four months and currently enrols over 20 young people from various Middle East and North Africa (MENA) countries, has concluded. This initiative is part of the organisation’s overall strategy to provide youth with a platform and turn victims of human rights violations across the region, who are often passive recipients of outside aid, into active defenders of their own rights.
The programme’s first phase took place at Euro-Med Monitor’s regional office in Lebanon’s capital and lasted eight weeks. It included intensive training and lectures on human rights work, international law, international humanitarian law, procedural mechanisms for defending human rights, and practical steps to achieve these mechanisms. During the second phase, fellows will undertake two months of practical training in partner human rights organisations, where each fellow will be supervised by a special supervisor who will provide guidance and support throughout the training period.
Euro-Med Monitor launched the Youth for Rights Fellowship in Beirut in early February with the intent to strengthen young people’s capacities in engaging directly in human rights work, defending human rights in their own societies, and creating job opportunities for themselves, by connecting these youths with other international, regional, and local human rights organisations.
“While youth have the potential to play a significant role in supporting societies and finding solutions to humanitarian crises, youth in the MENA region face enormous [barriers to] political, social, and economic participation, and the support provided to them is typically based on temporary, non-sustainable projects,” said Ramy Abdu, Chairman of Euro-Med Monitor, at the end of the programme’s final session. He encouraged fellows to continue learning the mechanisms of defending human rights and promoting a culture of human rights in their societies: “One of the most important strategies and philosophies of Euro-Med Monitor’s work is to enable victims to empower themselves and their communities, as well as transform target groups from recipients of support into active human rights defenders.”
Abdu emphasised that one of Euro-Med Monitor’s core values is supporting youth, and that one way to do so is to make them an integral part of the organisation’s staff and volunteer teams in all of its workplaces. At the end of the four-month training programme, fellows will have many of the requisite tools to feel secure in entering the world of human rights advocacy, where they will be able to tackle rights issues across the globe. They will have been trained by experts in international law, international humanitarian law, and human rights defence mechanisms, and will have acquired a wide range of human rights skills, such as documentation, monitoring, research, lobbying, and advocacy.
Muhammed Shehadah, Euro-Med Monitor's Chief of Programmes and Communications, delivered the final lecture, which included theoretical training on lobbying and advocacy mechanisms to support the rights of marginalised groups, as well as methods of communicating with decision-makers to urge them to stop violations.
The second phase of the programme begins this week, with fellows working with partner human rights organisations and preparing to publish their own detailed human rights reports—to put the skills learned in lectures into practice.
Ramy Abdu, Chairman of Euro-Med Monitor, speaks at the conclusion of the first phase of the Youth for Rights Fellowship
Muhammed Shehadah, Chief of Programmes and Communications at the Euro-Med Monitor, delivers a lecture on lobbying and advocacy mechanisms to support the rights of marginalised groups