Youth Leaders Find Their Voice in Honduras
03 Jun 2010
Young people in Honduras are using new media to voice their rights
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Youth Leaders in Action is a new initiative, helping give a voice to the voiceless in Honduras. Alongside other grassroots organisations, they are seizing the opportunity offered by new media technology to create a spontaneous mass social movement, despite the highly sensitive political climate.
Although the mainstream media has moved on from the military coup last year ñ during which elected President Manuel Zelaya was ousted from power ñ hundreds of independent online media sources have not.
Youth Leaders in Action recently established their own press department and created a blog, which has allowed them to release testimonials, upload interviews and publicise their own press statements documenting the human rights abuses committed against the gay community since the coup.
The initiative is being driven by a group of youth belonging to Tegucigalpa-based organisation, APUVIMEH, which works to support those affected by HIV/Aids. The organisation’s base is also a space for 60 young LGBT people who attend a variety of youth empowerment and social activities every day of the week.
‘We are using our blog to make our voice heard in the media and in the national and international communities, demanding a society that values our rights as human beings,’ comments Lisbeth Zambrano, a founder of Youth Leaders in Action. A press statement posted by the youth on 10th April was reposted by the International Lesbian and Gay Association, bringing international attention in minutes to the long silent struggle of the gay community in Honduras.
Community radios have also proved powerful at broadcasting the voices from below. In February, representatives of 20 grassroots human rights organisations met in the Garifuna community of Triunfo de la Cruz to attend the first national Forum for the Right to Disseminate Our Voices. The day, which was transmitted live on Triunfo de la Cruz¥s own station, reflected the importance of community radios in the region, as tools to expose and oppose human rights violations.
In a climate of repression, the ability to communicate has become more than a tool of resistance for many Honduran communities. It is a statement of pride and unity in the face of exclusion. Above all, it is the assertion by those communities that they possess the right to communicate.
‘We have reason to be optimistic,’ argues 19 year old Elmer Godoy from Youth Leaders in Action. ‘Change will arrive in Honduras as long as we, its citizens, continue to voice our vision of a fairer society.’
Youth speak out against human rights violations in Honduras
Photo: © Tanya O’Carroll
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