Youth Role in Upholding Human Rights: Marking 70 Years of Human Dignity

Youth Role in Upholding Human Rights

Statement of His Excellency Ambassador Saeed ZAKI, IYF Secretary General on the 70th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Today, we are celebrating the 70th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1948, which establishes the equal dignity and worth of every person. 

Young people are the most connected, educated and the most technically capable generation in our today’s world. One of the most important priorities of young people is to advocate for honest, effective, responsible, democratically managed governments. 

A society that does not fully respect the equal right of civic engagement for all people is violating people’s basic rights, including their right to express their opinions freely, and participating in public affairs which is necessary to ensure justice, strong and accountable institutions. The importance of strong institutions has also concluded in Goal 16 of the Sustainable Development Goals which stated that “Independent national human rights institutions play an important role in ensuring that States deliver on their human rights obligations and that no one is left behind. By the end of 2016, 37% of countries had a national human rights institution that was compliant with internationally agreed standards (the Paris Principles), while 57% of countries had been reviewed for compliance by their peers”.

We need the energy and innovation of young people; we need your support to solve the problems of the world, we need to increase our collective action to support human rights, to work together to support achieving 2030 Agenda, which can eradicate extreme poverty and transform millions of lives into a world of mutual respect. 

We need to speak openly against intolerance and violence, and to uphold the values of equality and human dignity that support peace and development process, to address the prevailing sense of injustice that undermines people's trust in the future of their societies.

We are counting on young people, through their innovative ideas and activism, they will set the world's horizons for peace, sustainable development, and human rights for years to come. We also emphasize on our need for more open and democratic spaces for women and young people to share their ideas and contribute to positive change, and better future for all.

As we are marking the 70th Anniversary today, we enduring universality of its perennial values of equality, justice, and human dignity. We call on all Member States to promote respect for human rights and public freedoms, upholding the value of human dignity, democracy, development, and justice, ensuring genuine gender equality, promoting the values of democracy, development, and justice an enabling young people to exercise a more active and effective citizenship role.

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