During workshop 2 in Sweden we focused on Millennium Goal 1 and 8. But before starting the discussions we arranged a valuebased excercise, “A human rights walk”. All the participating youths were given an identity on a note, that they kept a secret from the other participants. For example they could read the following on their note: “Woman, 35 years old, 3 children, works in a factory, lives in China” or “Man, 64 years old, no children, retired, lives in Russia”. After being given an identity we read some statements, relating to human rights. For example: “I can eat until I feel full every day”, “I can read” or “I feel that I can participate in the political life of my community”. If the participants of the walk felt that the different statements corresponded with their identity, they took one step forward. If not, they stood still.
Some of the youths had been able to walk a long distance, while some of them had more or less not moved at all. The youths that had walked a long distance all had an identity of a man or a woman in a developed country. After several of statements a pattern took shape. The more steps they had taken, the more likely they were to be citizens of a country in Northerns Europe. The youths that had almost stand still throughout the whole excersise all had identities of persons living in Africa or Asia, with low-paid jobs or no job at all.
This result gave us a really good opportunity to talk about how youths in Sweden understand the world, the people living in it and the social- and economic structures shaping the world.
Since the youths chose to focus the second workshop on Millenium Goal 1, a local organization working specifically to end global hunger FIAN- FoodFirst Information & Action Network, attended our workshop. FIAN, is an international human rights organization working to highlight and combat violations of the human right to food. The discussion led by FIAN mostly focused on the human right to food, and that hunger thus is a violation of the UN Declaration of the Human Rights. The right to food is also part of the international convention on economic, social and cultural rights (ESC). These international documents can therefore be used as instruments in combating hunger. The discussion led by FIAN mostly concerned how the right to food means that every human being should be free from hunger. The right to food is also about being able to support and provide for oneself with dignity and having enough of adequate food to lead a healthy and active life.
Last, but not least, we discussed issues connected to Millennium Goal 8. This goal is focusing on the need for partnership between richer and poorer countries. Together we took a closer look on how the Swedish aid apparatus works with a specific focus on aid canalized through non-governmental organizations. We also discussed the writing of poorer countries debts and the richer countries failure to keep up with the pace that has been promised. The structures of different trade agreements, like Economic Partnership Agreements, were also discussed. During the following discussion the youths raised questions and opinions about the importance of partnership and the need for richer countries to live up to their responsibility. The Youths also discussed different forms of action and what they could do to create awareness and engagement in Sweden around the need for partnership. ‘Together we are stronger’ was a joint conclusion.