Delegate: Ms. Holboll
65. Ms. Holböll (Sweden), speaking as a youth delegate, said that development was not possible without civil society, and there could be no civil society without young people’s active participation. However, democratic space for civil society was under attack. Legislation to restrict the rights to freedom of association, assembly and expression was multiplying, and funding for civil society organizations was diminishing. The work of youth civil society organizations, social movements, young human rights defenders and activists was becoming increasingly difficult and dangerous, As hostile conditions prevented young people from acting as agents for change. Yet an open civil society with youth participation was one of the fundamental safeguards against tyranny and oppression.
66. The recent climate strikes and growing youth mobilization demonstrated young people’s commitment to resolving some of the most vital issues of the time, a commitment that entitled them to be involved in decision-making at all levels. Their exclusion jeopardized the success of efforts to protect people and the planet. Governments must learn to treat young people as partners and initiators. Those most at risk of marginalization needed targeted measures to ensure that they were heard, and national Governments must provide enabling legal environments for civic action and protect the rights to freedom of association, expression, assembly and information, as well as ensure inclusive political participation. Regional and global institutions must uphold norms on civic space and strengthen Governments’ accountability for protecting civic freedoms.
UN Doc.: A/C.3/74/SR.3