Communication and Media Studies Faculty organized a seminar on human rights tagged “human rights; yours and mine” today 29th December 2015 at the faculty’s purple hall.
The event started with the introduction of the guest speaker by Assoc. prof Assoc. Prof. Dr. Hanife Aliefendioğlu. The guest speaker Mertkan Hamit, is a member of the Famagusta initiative and he is the coordinator of Youthopia; a non-governmental organization on human rights that empower youths in Cyprus. The event had attendees from faculty members to research assistants and students from the faculty.
The Guest speaker Mertkan Hamit started by defining what Youthopia is; he accedes that “Youthopia is a human rights and social entrepreneurship project funded by European union for youths between the age 18 to 35 in Greek and Northern Cyprus”. He specifies that the target group for them in Famagusta are the vulnerable groups and they consist of the economically deprived youths, international students, women, LGBT people or minority group of any kind. He added that what they do to them basically is to train them by either local or international trainers and so far they have had so many beneficiaries of this training process. In his words “the Youthopia helps youths to understand what human rights infringements are and in addition to the face to face interaction which have been employed to make them understand these abuses, the unit have also incorporated media supplements like short films to tell their stories better etc. He also added that it has also extended its reach to media outlets like DAU Tv and others media channels.
Mertkan Hamit cited a unique example of what sounds like one of their success stories. He said “there was a lady from an Eastern European country who was forced to work as a prostitute in Northern Cyprus. Her parents wanted her home and all documents including a letter from her parents was used to process the case which eventually became a major accomplishment for the unit. The case was initially handled by the responsible government office under unfavorable atmosphere for the human trafficking victim which made her dissent going home. The Youthopia team reworked the case with a social worker representative, psychologist and lawyer and now she is back home now”. He stressed that this typical case shows how much time and energy it takes to understand different cases.
He urged individuals, civil society members and government office holders to help in this campaign. He further stated that assisting in the cause of the awareness of the infringement of human rights is not topmost agenda for them but by letting people know that there are relevant agencies who can solve their human rights problems.