Delegate: Ms. Mariam Sikharulidze (24 years)
27. Ms. Sikharulidze (Georgia), speaking as a youth delegate, said that Georgia was making progress in building an inclusive society and creating an enabling environment, including through implementation of the national youth policy and the respective action plan developed in 2014. Young people comprised a quarter of the population and faced multiple challenges. Disregard for the fundamental principles of international law, human rights and basic freedoms had significantly contributed to the dangerous erosion of trust between nations and peoples, which in turn fuelled violent extremism and the radicalization of youth in certain parts of the world. Recent events in the Middle East, Africa and Eastern Europe had shown that security could not be taken for granted, and all like-minded countries must stand united to protect and promote peace and stability. In that regard Georgia remained a strong partner in the fight against terrorism.
28. The challenges faced by Georgian youth were aggravated by the military occupation of about 20 percent of the country. Approximately 400,000 persons had been banished from their homes in South Ossetia. Among them were young persons who had endured multiple waves of displacement and ethnic cleansing, as well as large-scale war. The only durable solution was a safe, dignified and voluntary return for the displaced to their places of origin. Of particular concern was the denial of the right of the young people in the occupied territories to be educated in their own native language, in violation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Despite the difficulties, many youths in villages affected by the conflict refused to move to the cities, where conditions were better; instead they were standing up for dignity, liberty and justice, at the expense of their own security. Statements of regret and condemnation in response to the situation were not sufficient. The young people of Georgia needed international support; the military occupation by a foreign power was not just an act of violence against a specific country, but a deliberate attempt to undermine the universal principles of sovereignty and territorial integrity.
29. All young people should commit to cooperation in the pursuit of sustainable peace and development. Young people were not only the future, but also the present, and they stood ready to participate in the implementation of the new Agenda for Sustainable Development, especially in relation to the promotion and empowerment of youth around the globe.
UN Doc.: A/C.3/70/SR.3