VIDES speaks about Youth Empowerment at HRC panel

On
September 22, 2016, VIDES International Representative Maria D’Onofrio spoke at
a panel
discussion
on youth and human rights that was held during the 33rd
session of the Human Rights Council (HRC) in the Palais des Nations in
Geneva.  The panel
discussion
was mandated by HRC resolution 32/1 of June 30, 2016 and its
objective was to identify challenges, best practices and lessons learned in the
exercise of human rights by young people, as well as relevant opportunities for
the empowerment of youth in the exercise of their rights. 
Youth
empowerment through human rights was the key theme addressed by Ms. D’Onofrio
in her opening statement. She highlighted the importance of access to quality education and effective
implementation of children’s rights up to 18 in accordance with the Convention
on the Rights of the Child has key conditions to empower youth and to unlock
their potential as promoters of human rights.  

In addition, she emphasized youth
participation
as a top priority to give youth the proper skills and
knowledge that will enable them to make substantial and transformative
participation in our society. Taking the above points into consideration, Ms.
D’Onofrio recommended the following actions that could be taken at the
international level:
1.  Mainstream youth rights through existing UN mechanisms, such as the Universal
Periodic Review and the Treaty bodies;
2.  Issue a joint General Comment or Statement by Treaty bodies on the application of relevant UN treaties to the
particular situation of youth;
3.   Establish
a mandate for a Special Procedure on
Youth
to monitor and assess the enjoyment of human rights by young people;
and
4.  Ensure
that youth rights issues remain on the agenda of the Human Rights Council, by requesting
a Report by the OHCHR or the Advisory
Committee
on the topic.

With
over 1.2 billion youth in the world, they deserve special attention to their
needs and priorities. VIDES International has been advocating to ensure that
the rights of youth are given priority in the international agenda.  The attention that the HRC is giving to this
topic is a major step forward towards promoting youth rights. VIDES welcomes
the due attention that is being given to the subject and looks forward to the
first session of the UN Forum on Human Rights, Democracy and the Rule of Law
whose theme will be “Widening
the Democratic Space: the role of youth in public decision-making
”.  
Ms. D’Onofrio was joined by fellow panelists Mr. Simon-Pierre Escudero, Representative of the El Salvadorean NGO, Asociación de Tierra de Jóvenes, and Johanna Nyman, President of the European Youth Forum.  Yvonne Matuturu, Head of the Social and Human Sciences Section, UNESCO Multisectoral Regional Office for Central Africa, Cameroon and Virginia Bras Gomes, Member of the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights were the other speakers of the panel that was moderated by H.E. Ms. Anna Korka, Permanent Representative of Greece to the United Nations Office at Geneva.