IMG_102610 June, 2016 – GENEVA – The World YWCA, an NGO specialising in women’s leadership and women’s rights, will host the first-ever Youth Forum before the United Nations Human Rights Council (UN HCR), today, 10 June, at the Palais des Nations in Geneva. More than 120 young men and women from Switzerland and around the world will participate in the Forum, which the World YWCA has developed in conjunction with UN Member States, UN agencies and NGOs. 

“This first-ever Youth Forum at the UN HRC will give young men and women a platform to discuss key issues of importance to them and influence decision makers,” said Sara Llort, Interim General Secretary, World YWCA. “The HRC is one of the most important international mechanisms for promoting and protecting human rights, and our aim is to ensure youth can participate and make their voices heard.”

During the Youth Forum, participants will take part in interactive sessions, intergenerational dialogues and working groups with experts. They will also have the opportunity to meet key policy and decision makers from the governments of the United Kingdom, United States, Canada, Netherlands and Switzerland, as well as other UN Members States, and various UN organisations. The day’s outcomes will then feed into a set of recommendations, which the youth will put forward formally in the form of a declaration to Member States and to the UN HRC.

“The Youth Forum is really important because it will help us mobilise ourselves on issues of concern to all of us,” said Linnea Hakansson, Programme Officer, World YWCA. “It also gives us an opportunity to engage with the UN HRC in a meaningful way.”

According to United Nations Population Fund, there are 1.8 billion youth globally between the ages of 10 and 24, and this segment is growing fastest in some of the world’s poorest countries. To date, youth have not been actively involved in the UN HRC.