New Expert Group on Youth Rights!
On 18-19 July, the newly established European Youth Forum’s Expert Group on Youth Rights held its first meeting of 2020!
While the meeting had to take place online to respect the guidelines from public authorities due to Covid-19, this didn’t stop the Expert Group from holding a day and a half of intense discussions and planning. The Expert Group brings together committed young advocates, who represent 12 Member Organisations of the European Youth Forum (8 National Youth Councils and 4 International Non-Governmental Youth Organisations), and it is meant to provide a space for coordinated action to advance our work #ForYouthRights, and ensure that all young people can fully access and enjoy their human rights and fundamental freedoms. The mandate of the Expert Group will last until the end of 2021, with the aim to both increase the engagement of youth organisations in international human rights mechanisms, particularly within the United Nations, and develop new tools and research to support the Youth Forum’s advocacy efforts.
Over the weekend meeting, the Expert Group members took stock of the work and main achievements of previous Expert Groups, received some capacity building on the key mechanisms and processes relevant for youth rights, and started planning their work for the next two years. More specifically, the Expert Group members agreed to focus on three key activities for the reminder of 2020:
- Reaching out to and supporting youth organisations in engaging with international human rights mechanisms. The new Expert Group will follow in the steps of previous Expert Groups in trying to give more visibility to youth rights, and bring attention to shortcomings in young people’s access to rights, by focusing on the United Nations’ Universal Periodic Review (UPR) and Treaty Bodies reviews(*). The Group hopes to support several Member Organisations over their two year mandate, starting with Belgium’s review under the UPR in 2020.
- Preparing a toolkit/guide for youth organisations to engage in international human rights mechanisms with clear, understandable, and youth-friendly information on the steps to be taken to draft reports to feed into human rights reviews, as well as “tips and tricks” from other Members with experience in these processes.
- Gathering information and developing research on the state of youth rights in Europe, to potentially feed into relevant institutional processes, such as the upcoming review of the Council of Europe’s Recommendation on Young People’s Access to Rights.
The Expert Group also selected two Coordinators amongst its members: Natascha Skjaldgaard from the World Organisation of the Scout Movement (WOSM) and Adrian Barbaroș from the Organising Bureau of European School Student Unions (OBESSU). The Coordinators will be responsible for ensuring that the Expert Group carries out its planned activities, in cooperation with the Youth Forum’s Policy Officer and Board member responsible for the Youth Rights portfolio.
The Expert Group will meet again in the autumn - in the meantime, coordination will continue to take place online. The European Youth Forum looks forward to working with a group of such passionate young experts!
*More information about the Universal Periodic Review, the Treaty Bodies, as well as other human rights frameworks and processes is available at www.youthforum.org/rights.