Congress of Youth Voices
Some of the youth world’s most prominent activists, thinkers and writers gathered in San Francisco for the International Congress of Youth Voices. It was the first edition of the Congress and enjoyed the support of the Guardian Media Group.
Delegates from Iceland to Zambia were among the roughly 100 young leaders in attendance. Top achievers who travelled to the US included the UK’s 2015 Young Scientist of the Year Sarah Sobka and Salvador Gómez-Colóna, a poet from Puerto Rico who managed to raise $100,000 for hurricane relief.
The Congress is the brain child of founder Dave Eggers, an American publisher who noted a lack of outlets for young writers across the world. Guest speakers at the event included Brian Yorley, a screenwriter who won the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, a Nigerian author whose 2009 Ted Talk has been viewed over 15 million times. The event took place over three days more can be found out here.
Hundreds of young people were injured during violent protests in the Bangladeshi capital of Dhaka. Police fired rubber bullets and shot tear gas at teenagers demonstrating against dangerous road conditions.
The protests were sparked by the deaths of two school students, struck by cars on the city’s notoriously chaotic road network. In early August young activists united using social media and began patrolling the roads, asking drivers stuck in traffic for legal documents to prove their vehicles were safe.
The government responded forcibly to the blockade, shutting down mobile internet and wifi connections to hinder students’ mobilisation. Police eventually moved in and there were reports that young men were being paid to attack the students with sticks and clubs.More than 115 students were treated for injuries in hospital in just one afternoon.
High schools were shut down across the city as government ministers urged young people to stay away from the streets. There have been several widespread protests against the government of Sheikh Hasina since he took office as prime minister in 2009.
Chinese students get political
Students from 11 of China’s top universities have signed a petition calling for the release of 30 workers who were arrested at a Shenzhen factory for trying to start a trade union. The mass arrest of workers was one of the largest in recent years and is being resisted by students.
Amnesty International has also weighed in on the workers’ arrest, calling the situation “deplorable”. In a press release the human rights organisation said: “authorities should address the underlying allegations of abusive working conditions and respect the workers’ right to freedom of association”.
Trade unions are banned in China, considered a form of political agitation. Arrests are unusual, however.