Delegate: Ms. Thøgersen
Disclaimer: Obvious textual errors have been corrected. The authentic version can be found under “Original Records”.
10. Ms. THØGERSEN (Denmark) spoke on issues concerning youth, as had a Danish youth representative done every year since the twenty-fifth session of the General Assembly. The participation of young persons in the development of society should be given high priority.
11. Employment, education, housing and leisure were areas in which young people had problems. Consideration of those problems should continue at all levels of the United Nations system, as well as within the various bodies and specialized agencies of the Organization, which should communicate and co-operate on those issues.
12. Unemployment was perhaps the most important problem currently facing Danish youth. Solving it required the development of an up-to-date educational system, which would be accessible to all and would offer a broad spectrum of possibilities, both practical and theoretical, in accordance with personal interests. Unfortunately, a large proportion of young people, the majority of them female, had been unemployed for some time, and had consequently lost self-confidence and all [*5*] hope of active participation in society. In order to give them a new start in life, the Danish Government had tried, inter alia, to encourage young women to choose professions which had traditionally been dominated by men.
13. Danish society could not yet offer sufficient housing facilities to allow all young people to have their own residence, which was an important step towards adult life. Danish youth therefore supported all United Nations initiatives to ensure that everyone had decent housing.
14. In the area of leisure time activities, it was important for young people to be able to choose among a wide range of activities, including sports clubs, youth clubs, and non-commercial organizations based on ideology. The Danish Government provided financial support for organized activities for children and youth. There should also be opportunities for non-commercial leisure time activities to counterbalance, for example, the offerings of television, with all the prospects opened up by satellites.
15. Although it was important for young people in her country to solve their problems in order to feel that they were real citizens of Danish society, they were also aware that youth in developing countries faced the far more serious problem of mere survival.
16. In 1986, the Nordic countries and the countries of the Southern African Development Co-ordination Committee (SADCC) had begun a programme of extended economic and cultural co-operation, which had been expanded to incorporate youth the following year. Youth represented an important potential and a factor for change, and it was therefore very important that they should be given the opportunity to take an active part in the developmant of their countries.
17. Danish youth, who aspired to global justice, were deeply concerned by the exacerbation of the situation in South Africa, where increasing numbers of children and youth had been imprisoned. They had initiated a programme of co-operation with youth councils in southern Africa and had also made similar contacts in South-East Asia and Latin America, in the hope that democratic structures, which were a prerequisite for democratic development, might be established there. The South African apartheid regime, with its ruthless violation of human rights, was still the main obstacle to development and peace. Immediate sanctions should therefore be imposed against it.
18. Young people were also concerned by the hopeless situation of hundreds of thousands of refugees. The recent influx into Denmark of a large number of refugees might create problems which could not all be solved by financial resources. It was important that the international community should realize its responisiblity towards the refugees. The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) was playing an important role as co-ordinator in that area. Since many of the refugees who had found sanctuary in his country were young persons, the educational system would have an important role to play. Some children’s and youth organizations had started a campaign for the integration of refugees into society (for instance, in local sports clubs), based on the idea that [*6*] the refugee too had something to offer the host country. Such efforts should help to lessen discrimination in Danish society.
19. Since refugee flows were mainly caused by war and violation of human rights, observance of those rights would reduce the number of refugees.
20. Youth had always taken seriously the struggle to establish and maintain peace. Danish youth organizations were co-operating with other youth organizations in eastern and western European countries in order to foster dhtente [sic] between the two groups of countries, by creating a network of contacts to increase exchanges between young people with different political and social backgrounds and to develop tourism between the two regions.
21. Young people, compared to adults, had an avant-garde role to play in society, which they should help to develop today so as to take part in it tomorrow.
UN Doc.: A/C.3/42/SR.16