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Meaningfully including Youth in the Human Rights Council

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Meaningfully including Youth in the Human Rights Council

At present, the world’s population consists of 1.8 billion young people between the ages of 10 and 24 ( UNFPA). This number is higher than at any other point in history and this reality calls on decision makers to urgently address the concerns and wishes of young people. If youth remain unreached by policies and programmes, we risk losing them as drivers of social and economic prosperity. To guarantee that they are equipped to seize opportunities and become empowered to drive positive change, it is critical that we ensure that young people have a voice within our decision making processes.

For this reason, on 10 June 2016, approximately 120 young leaders, aged 30 years and below, from the different regions of the world gathered at the United Nations (UN) in Geneva, Switzerland to raise their voices in regards to different human rights issues and to develop a series of recommendations to be presented in the 32ndsession of the Human Rights Council (HRC). This was certainly an historic event, as it was the first time that youth got to formally convene for the HRC and have access to a platform that allowed them to discuss key human rights issues of importance to their lives. Additionally, as the HRC is one of the most important international mechanisms for promoting and protecting human rights from all over the globe, participants developed the youth forum formal declaration and presented during a side event in the HRC and delivered to Permanent Missions. The working groups were on Young People’s Right to Participation in Decision-Making, Youth, Gender & Diversity, Youth, Innovation & Education, Youth as Agents of Change, Youth & Countering Violent Extremism, Youth, Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) & HIV, Youth & Migration.

Download the HRC Youth Declaration here:

As the World YWCA continues to organize, alongside partners, Youth Forums and side and parallel events around different UN Charter-based and Treaty-based bodies events, the youth voice from around the world, especially from the global south and conflict or post conflict areas and fragile states, will be lifted and heard, and the young people will get a chance to participate, learn, and advocate for their rights and needs.

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