Cleveland students take human rights delegation to Central America
Three Cleveland-area teenagers take part in an Inter-Cultural Human Rights Teen Delegation to Nicaragua, July 15-28. This is the 9th annual teen delegation sponsored locally by the InterReligious Task Force on Central America.
Alexander Hurst (Cleveland), Bryan Shay (Mentor) and Sarah Twitchell (University Heights) join 16 other teenagers from across the U.S. to explore human rights and impacts of U.S. economic and political policies on the people of Nicaragua.
During the two-week trip the students will:
Tour a maquiladora (assembly-for-export factory) and speak with management about labor rights & foreign investment
Speak with representatives from the U.S. Embassy
Visit schools and health centers and meet with community leaders
Enjoy the beautiful lakes, mountains and beaches of Nicaragua
Spend four days staying with Nicaraguan families in rural communities
Learn about the impacts of Nicaragua’s international debt on the poor and the struggle for debt relief
Upon return, the student group will prepare a report and slide show detailing their experience that can be used as part of presentations to local schools, community groups, and places of worship. In October they will travel to Washington, D.C., for a reunion, advocacy day on Capitol Hill, and meeting with staff of the U.S. Treasury Department.
They also meet with their congressional representatives and U.S. senators to discuss what they saw were some impacts of U.S. policies, particularly the recently implemented U.S.-Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA).
The annual delegation is organized nationally by Witness for Peace, a faith-based nonviolence organization that has had long-term US volunteers in Nicaragua since 1984. Several Clevelanders were on the first Witness for Peace delegation to Nicaragua in 1984.
Editor’s Note: The InterReligious Task Force on Central America is a Cleveland-based, non-profit interfaith group that promotes peace and human rights in Central America and Colombia. People of faith and conscience founded IRTF after the 1980 execution of four U.S. church women in El Salvador by U.S.-trained soldiers; two were from Cleveland. Grounding its vision, hope, and mission in the martyrs’ solidarity with the poor, the IRTF educates, advocates, and organizes for peace and human rights, economic justice, and aid to Central Americans and Colombians. IRTF works to change U.S. policies, corporate actions, and consumer behaviors that undermine this vision of nonviolent social change.