I started to take action in civil society at the age of thirteen to contribute to the resolution of the Cypriot conflict and influence people to support the reunification of my divided nation and country.
Throughout my whole life, I had to face many injustices and challenges with the rest of the members of my community. From a young age, I witnessed serious violations and crimes towards human rights and civil rights. For many times, I went to the local authorities in my community to report serious crimes and violations including serious child rights crimes, ignored by the experts.
I remember one day that I went to report an important case for investigation in an authority and the expert ignored the case instead of starting an urgent investigation. I was not sad at all, I was so happy that I had to face those injustices which helped me to discover whom to become. After all, I dedicated myself to fight for human rights and human dignity to leave a better world for the next generations. After that all, I experienced serious psychological abuse and heard of many cases of sexual abuse, so I went to report it. What the expert told me never gets out of my mind. She asked me why I care about others and regarding what I experienced, told me that they do not happen, which means I was denied by them one more time.
I knew that a person who witnesses a crime and ignores is also a part of the crime so I never did. Before anything else, I should have known that my conscience is clear at all. Violations and crimes towards civil rights and human rights never stopped. Despite everything, I never gave up and started to dream of a new community. Everything starts with a dream, they can prevent me from doing anything but they can’t prevent me from dreaming, and to dream is the strongest action.
I became the first underage Cypriot activist who carried out a European Union-funded civil society work. Through my work, I led research and collected data on youth participation and access to human rights education, where I found out that 97.6% of participants support an Access to human rights education.
Besides, young people reported to my work that they are uncomfortable with the sexist rules in schools which caused psychological problems on many of them so I went to the local authority which was responsible for education and advocated for the right to Access to human rights education. I provided data and stated that human rights education is needed to raise individuals who know their rights and who will be able to defend themselves or others against an injustice they might face during their lifetimes.
At the same time, I explained that it is important to bring a new perspective to education by raising individuals with knowledge and making them respect universal human rights and freedoms in the future. At the same day, I stood against the injustice of gender inequality by addressing sexist rules as serious human rights and universal freedoms violation as well as a child abuse. I explained to them that those rules might cause serious mental health problems and limit freedoms of individuals by putting pressure on them which also affects their academic career negatively.
Through my work, I also guided and led young people to take action for human rights and organized a workshop-style discussion on books of elementary schools where individuals get basements of their academic career and personal identity.
Why did I want them to examine the books? To make them see what a sexist and discrimination based system we studied our primary years with. In the questions of the books, women matched with cooking to impose sexist gender rules by brainwashing in education. This was just an example out of hundreds of others. I organized a protest in front of the authority to stand against this injustice. I did not have any other options since no one answered back or replied to my reports from the authorities after the two months duration that I gave them, I started the beginning of the real fight against that injustice.
Our protest got thousands of likes and hundreds of comments on Instagram which was heard across the Turkish-speaking Cypriot community. They cannot comment on my identity because even though the system gives this right to them, I do not give this right to them. Maybe I would seem alone and helpless but the only thing I knew was that I was not alone. Along with millions of other people around the world, I was waking up to the day for a purpose, a purpose to achieve one day. I was neither desperate nor wrong, the system was desperate and wrong. No one can choose whom to become or where to be born. The characteristics that we cannot choose are our identities, and our identities deserve to be defended and exist no matter what religion we believe, what language we speak or what skin colour we have. Every person deserves equal conditions.
Every individual deserves free and equal access to human rights and quality education without gender-based discrimination. Despite all violations towards freedom of expression, civil rights, human rights, education rights and fundamental rights I will never leave the community like the thousands of others. Otherwise, I will always be working for this community until everyone will be treated equally with respects towards the rights and freedoms of individuals. I warned for hundreds of times to cut my hairs as a result of gender-based discrimination. No one has the right to comment on my appearance or tell me whom I have to become.
I believe that everyone deserves to be born and spend their lives under the best regulations and conditions. I am still not regretful, as I mentioned, thanks to those injustices, I am who I am and no matter what others tell, I am a human rights defender who will bring a change to this community.
I believe in youth power and I believe in their actions, that is why I empowered them to take action, to take action for a bright future! If there is another world, I hope neither I nor anyone else will experience those there, because it was not as easy to explain.
Maybe everything is different in another world but for now, we do not have any other world to go. Human rights are the only way to make our lives safer. Own them because without them, we are nothing. Hear thousands of refugees, hear thousands of innocent children, hear women, hear LGBTI+ people, hear patients, hear those who suffer from war, hear prisoners and hear every single individual. I hear them because I would never leave them to their fates, I will try to change their fates. I do not have to be successful but I have to try to be successful.
If you are interested in joining Ozer's campaign or want to learn more about the #HumanRightsforChange campaign visit https://humanrightsforchangeint.weebly.com/