Delegate: Mr. Magnus Ofstad Malnes (22 years)
51. Mr. Malnes (Norway), speaking as a youth delegate, said that in order to improve societies and strengthen democracy and the role of civil society, citizen participation in shaping society was essential. Young people must be involved in the dialogue between governments and civil society and must be part of the decision-making process. However, despite the recognition of the rights of children, children and young people were seldom meaningfully consulted and involved in matters that affected them.
52. Many youth organizations that were engaged in defending human rights were impeded from carrying out their activities. It was deplorable that, as revealed in the 2010 report by UNESCO entitled “Education under Attack”, threats and attacks against schoolchildren and students were on the rise, and often occurred because those children and students had expressed critical opinions or participated in public debate. In many countries young people who participated in student organizations were intimidated and silenced by death threats and were subject to violence, arbitrary detention and punishment; some had even been killed. All attacks on education must be met with an international response, including financial and technical assistance to support young people’s civic engagement.
53. It was of great concern that homosexuality was illegal in more than 80 countries. Members of organizations fighting for the rights of lesbian, gay, [*8*] bisexual and transgender young people were at particular risk and suffered stigmatization, exclusion from education and harassment. The right to freedom of association must also apply to organizations that expressed political or religious views that conflicted with government policy or the majority of society.
54. Despite the fact that the rights enshrined in the Convention on the Rights of the Child were recognized by almost all countries, the principles and ambitions of that convention were far from being fully implemented. The work undertaken by the Human Rights Council to ensure effective monitoring of that convention and to reinforce its implementation both by national governments and at the international level was to be commended.
UN Doc.: A/C.3/65/SR.2