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The challenges and discrimination faced by young people when trying to access their rights has been recognised in a report released by the United Nations Human Rights Office (OHCHR).

The report on youth and human rights was published earlier this month ahead of the 39th Session of the UN Human Rights Council, which will take place from 10-28 September in Geneva, Switzerland. The report is based on a broad range of input from over 95 stakeholders, including the European Youth Forum and its Member Organisations.

The European Youth Forum welcomes the report, which provides yet another clear indication of the structural and institutional barriers faced by young people. The report identifies many areas where young people have difficulties to exercise their rights, particularly

  • participating in politics and public decision-making
  • gaining access to decent jobs when transitioning from education to the labour market,
  • sexual and reproductive health rights
  • their right to conscientious objection to military service.

The report also outlines some of the challenges faced by youth in vulnerable situations, including young migrants, asylum seekers, and refugees as well as youth with disabilities, highlighting the need to address multiple discrimination against young people.

The report provides four recommendations to the UN Human Rights Council for measures to effectively advance the rights of young people. Based on the recommendations, the European Youth Forum strongly supports the creation of a Special Procedure, such as an Independent Expert or a Special Rapporteur on youth, under the auspices of the Council. An independent human rights expert with the mandate to report and advise on human rights as they relate to youth would build on the work carried out so far and provide a key focal point within the UN system for young people’s rights.

The report is available in the six official UN languages here.

For more information on the UN and youth rights, and in particular for how youth organisations can engage, take a look at our online tool.

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