Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Disappointment in St.Petersburg

Few weeks ago I wrote about an important youth debates in St. Petersburg. From 22nd - 25th September there was the setting for heavy debates on youth rights. This began with a youth event, which provided recommendations to the 9th Council of Europe Conference of Ministers responsible for youth. Young people’s inputs however, could not ensure a consensus at the higher political level. In youth conference’s final declaration on ‘Young People’s Access to Rights’ the inclusion of the wording ‘sexual orientation and gender identity’, proved to be a stumbling block for Ministers responsible for youth.
The youth event was co-organised by the Council of Europe’s Advisory Council on Youth, the European Youth Forum and the National Youth Council of Russia. The conclusions championed by the youth activists and representatives included the youth guarantee, the involvement of young people on all levels of decision-making and a comprehensive legal framework to ensure full protection of human rights. Keen to push the human rights agenda at the conference, youth activists marked the opening of the Conference of Ministers with a silent protest against human rights infringements across Europe, using the symbolic masks of the Russian collective Pussy Riot. Due to the failure to reach consensus, a feeling of disappointment dominated the closing of the conference. This feeling was echoed by many at the closing, including the Flemish Youth Minister, who gave an emotional appeal in favour of the inclusion of LGBTQI rights.
The European Youth Forum stands firmly behind the non-discrimination of all young people regardless of their sexual orientation and gender identity, and as such shares the predominant feeling of disappointment. Fourty youth delegates, most of them from the Forum’s membership, signed a statement to express their frustration with the missed opportunity. Nevertheless, the Forum and Advisory Council on Youth engage themselves to build on the conclusions of the youth event, and will continue to push for an access to rights for all young people.

Source: European Youth Forum

European Youth Forum - Youth Policy Watch

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