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1/7/2014 - Switzerland - 116 governments put young people at the center of attention of the Human Rights Council, thanks to IIMA and VIDES International

(ANS – Geneva) – On June 24, one hundred sixteen countries presented a cross-regional segment declaration on the young and their rights at the 26th session of the Human Rights Council at Geneva. The soul and motor of this event were the IIMA Office of Human Rights (Institute of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians) and VIDES International.  It was a patient and constant work, animated by the teaching of Don Bosco and the witness of Pope Francis.

The objective was to recall the attention of the Council of Human Rights to the young people, a theme usually ignored by the Nations.  One of the aspects considered was ‘the potential and rights of the young to participation in the building of the common good’.

From this emerged the importance of the education and formation of the young and the encounter with the young in order to help them become aware of their rights and their responsibilities in the realization of the common good..

Those presenting the declaration realize that young people as such are rarely taken into consideration in matters of the common good. They are the first to react when certain rights are violated (freedom of expression or association, care for the environment, etc.), and the last ones kept in mind in matters of public concern.

All their rights are generally considered protected by the Convention on Children until they are 18, after which they become adults. We speak of this period by pointing to the problems that young people have to deal with (unemployment, drugs) or that they cause society (gangs, juvenile delinquency). At the same time, the images of what happened in many countries – for example, Tunisia, Egypt, Spain, and Turkey – show their capacity to recognize and to speak out against the contradictions that they experience in matters of human rights and to become the first ones to promote the defense of those rights.

So we wish to bring attention to the difficulties they experience between the ages of 17 and 28 or 29 as they try to become part of society in a meaningful way without feeling that they are being exploited or seen as potential subjects to be put at risk.

In collaboration with VIDES International, we intend to bring to the attention of the Human Rights Council the theme of the rights of young people, aware that through this venue we will be able to influence politics as it affects the young.

The cross-regional statement within the 26th session of the Human Rights Council was the decisive step for a resolution on the situation that the young people live.  The Governments, in the encounters for the Periodic Universal Revision (UPR), or at the Organs of the Treaties, must confront what and how they can concretely help the young to be active citizens in the construction of the common good.

Published 01/07/2014

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