Delegates: Ms. Aisling O’Boyle, Mr. Jamie Moore
61. Ms. O’Boyle (Ireland), speaking as a youth delegate, said that the seventieth anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, together with the Nelson Mandela Peace Summit and the twentieth anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement in Ireland, gave the international community the chance to pause and reflect on how it could ensure that the human rights of all would be met in the future. Young people were the experts on their own needs and realities. Governments should, therefore, invest in initiatives to support them in exercising their agency, leadership and voice. Involving young people was not a photo opportunity. It required a commitment to engaging them at all levels of policy development, decision-making and implementation. All generations must join forces with the millions of young people across the globe who were striving to mitigate climate change. Patriarchal practices and norms continued to jeopardize the safety of girls and women and to hinder their access to quality health care and education, decent work and equal pay.
62. Her country’s role as Chair of the Commission on the Status of Women was a source of pride. Gender equality was not a gift to be granted but a fundamental right. Achieving full gender equality by 2030 would require comprehensive legislative and societal changes that recognized the specific needs of girls and young women. If it was truly committed to leaving no one behind, the international community must engage with young people and work together as the generations for change that would achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.
63. Mr. Moore (Ireland), speaking as a youth delegate, said that the right to an adequate standard of living, health, housing and social security, enshrined in Article 25.1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, had yet to be fully realized for many of the world’s people. Unacceptable numbers of young people were not in education, employment or training. Governments must improve their efforts in planning, supporting and delivering targeted education and labour activation programmes. Education should not be dictated by the circumstances of one’s birth but should reflect a young person’s boundless potential and cater to his or her unique needs.
64. Some children and young people in developed countries had to endure poverty, inadequate accommodation or homelessness. The life chances of those young people were being lost. Governments must provide the necessary infrastructure and services to lift young people out of poverty and empower them to become agents of change in their own lives and in their families and communities. Rural communities were losing generations of young people who had no choice but to leave for education, employment and social services. Regional and rural development policies should seek to build more inclusive, resilient and sustainable communities for all.
65. Governments must use the fruits of their prosperity for the betterment of humanity and the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. In the current globalized world, human beings should live in each other’s shelter, not in each other’s shadow. He called on Member States and civil society to take radical steps to deliver on the objectives of the United Nations Youth Strategy, Youth 2030, enabling young people to enjoy their human rights, achieve their full potential and act as positive agents for change.
UN Doc.: A/C.3/73/SR.3