Delegate: Christoffer Gronstad (24 years)
20. Mr. Gronstad (Norway) said that, during the previous 30 years, the Government of Norway had included youth representatives in its delegation to the General Assembly and had encouraged other nations to do the same. In that way, youth representatives could learn from each other and from other representatives, and promote greater understanding of young people and their views.
21. Many young people from all over the world were concerned about the application of the death penalty, which continued to be used by a great number of countries. It was even more deplorable that it was used against offenders who were under 18 at the time of the crime. Enforcing the death penalty against child offenders sent the wrong signal to young people about respect for life. It also implied that criminals could not improve or develop. Society, by accepting the imposition of the death penalty on child offenders, was wrongly implying that children could not be rehabilitated. The acknowledgement that young people were immature and could be rehabilitated accounted for the almost universal legal ban on the use of the death penalty against child offenders. Both the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Convention on the Rights of the Child contained provisions to that effect.
22. The young people of today cared about the state of the world. At their age, they had not yet become used to accepting the huge gap between the rich and the poor, war as a way of solving conflicts, exploitation of persons and of the environment, and the unequal distribution of power. Young people had not spent a very long time in the world, and therefore had ambitious dreams of the future, and of the ways it might be changed. They were sometimes called naive, but it was not naive to refuse to accept a situation that was wrong.
23. It was vital to listen to young people and to enlist their support to confront such scourges as HIV/AIDS and drug abuse. Young people knew what was important to other youngsters at risk, and how to reach them. Therefore, in addition to including youth representatives in country delegations to international bodies, young people should be given real power in their communities if international representation was to have the necessary effect. It was essential to encourage self-confidence in young people so that they could influence the development of democracy.
UN Doc.: A/C.3/57/SR.7