On June 2, 2017, the World YWCA hosted its second annual Youth Forum preceding the June session of the UN Human Rights Council (HRC35). The forum gave youth a much-needed platform to discuss human rights and influence decision-makers. According to the UN Population Fund, the global youth population is 1.8 billion, the largest it’s ever been. Despite these record-breaking numbers, the youth perspective is often overlooked by decision-making human rights bodies.
The Director General of UNOG, Mr Michael Moller opened the HRC Youth Forum with World YWCA General Secretary, Malayah Harper. During the full day forum, youth leaders and activists representing all regions around the world, had a chance to listen to panels (made up of key policy and decision-makers from Canada, Australia, and India, as well as various UN organizations) and engage in an intergenerational dialogue before splitting into working groups to discuss key issues that concern and affect them. At the end of the day, the working groups presented concrete policy suggestions generated from the group discussions.
Concrete suggestions made by youth were used to compose a draft outcome document: The Youth Forum Declaration. Input to the outcome document was not exclusive to participants who attended the forum; youth who couldn’t make it to Geneva were able to raise their voices through a social media consultation. The final Declaration was presented on June 8 at a World YWCA side event of the HRC in Room IX, Palais des Nations.
Download the HRC Youth Forum Declaration: