Delegates: Ms. Lauren Flanagan, Mr. Paul Dockery
18. Ms. Flanagan (Ireland), speaking as a youth delegate, said that, against a global backdrop of armed conflict and political unrest that undermined the rule of law and the protection of human rights, the youth of Ireland called on the international community to be steadfast in its commitment to peace and human rights and to reject the hostile forces that contributed to the large scale loss of human life. Approximately 22.5 million refugees, over half of whom were under the age of 18, had been forcibly displaced as a result of conflict and persecution, and States had turned away refugees at their borders, in violation of customary international law. The international community must endeavour to combat the populist rhetoric that fuelled discrimination against such groups and hindered the achievement of peace.
19. Guided by the Sustainable Development Goals and the principles enshrined in United Nations human rights treaties, young people had a key role to play in building a brighter future. To that end, Governments must recognize the inherent potential of all youth, including young women, ethnic minorities and persons with disabilities; reduce inequality by ensuring that youth received a high level education that equipped them with marketable skills; and respect the right to health of young people, including their access to mental, sexual and reproductive health services. States must also strive to eradicate homelessness, poverty and inequality, including by adopting a progressive and responsible tax model with a zero tolerance policy towards tax abuse.
20. Mr. Dockery (Ireland), speaking as a youth delegate, said that efforts to implement the 2030 Agenda must be intensified as a matter of priority. As young people would be most profoundly affected by a failure to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, the United Nations and national Governments must ensure that they played a central role in implementing, monitoring and reviewing the 2030 Agenda. In particular, Governments must include them in decision making processes; grant them the right to vote and to fair and equal employment; provide them with an education in global citizenship; and ensure that they [*5*] inherited a physical environment that did not hinder the opportunities of current and future generations.
21. Young women and girls must be empowered to participate in politics and hold public office in order to ensure that public bodies reflected the composition of the populations they served, without discrimination on the basis of age, gender, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity or religion. Indeed, only 20 women had addressed the General Assembly in the general debate of the current session, a trend that must be reversed. As Chair of the sixty second session of the Commission on the Status of Women, Ireland urged Member States to consider whether, in their respective national contexts, women were granted the same rights and participated in society on equal footing with men, in particular whether they were afforded equal access to education, employment and health care and had the ability to choose their spouse. Efforts must also be made address the needs of other vulnerable groups, including members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex community.
UN Doc.: A/C.3/72/SR.3