Recognizing, protecting and empowering youth rights in Europe and the world

European Youth Insights is a platform provided by the European Youth Forum and the European Sting, to allow young people to air their views on issues that matter to them. Written by Giorgio Zecca, policy and advocacy coordinator at the European Youth Forum

Giorgio Zecca is policy and advocacy coordinator at the European Youth Forum. Originally from Italy, Giorgio leads on the Youth Forum's work on youth rights, as well as discrimination and employment.

Giorgio Zecca is policy and advocacy coordinator at the European Youth Forum. Originally from Italy, Giorgio leads on the Youth Forum’s work on youth rights, as well as discrimination and employment.

Youth in a global world

Youth throughout the world have been actors, promoters and victims of the huge recent events in Turkey, Egypt, Brazil and Spain, just to name a few.  At the same time, a significant number of hate crimes and acts of vandalism are still carried out by young people. This behaviour could stem from the lack of possibilities that young people have in the fulfilment of their potential.

It is therefore believed that creating real opportunities, and a future of hope and possibilities, lays the foundation for a secure and peaceful society that breaks this cycle of frustration. Ensuring the involvement of young people in the political and socio-economic life of their societies and supporting youth organisations in their work for equality and social cohesion can bring social change as well as contribute to creating just and peaceful societies.

Youth: a problem of definition

Young people may be in education, they may have a job or they may be unemployed. Many live with their families; others have left home and live alone, with a partner, or with friends. Some have children of their own.  Although the notion of “youth” does not lend itself to a unique or clear-cut definition, young people have specific needs and face similar challenges. They constitute a group of individuals located somewhere between childhood and adulthood; they form a distinct demographic group which should not be conceptualised using upper and lower age limits but rather as a life cycle during which people undergo a process of transition; they attempt to enhance their educational and vocational credentials, gain a foothold in the labour market, establish their household and family, acquire a degree of financial independence and move away from the family home. In each of these spheres some young people are more vulnerable than others.

Despite being perhaps the highest-educated, technically-advanced, and most mobile generation ever, today’s young people do not necessarily share the same opportunities as the rest of society.

With increasing levels of participation in higher education, young people are spending longer periods dependent on the state or their families for financial support, and without earned incomes of their own. Still, when young people do enter the labour market, they may spend considerable periods without a job or in low-waged or insecure employment.

In an ageing society, the 15-29 age group is projected to represent 15.3 % of EU’s population in 2050, whereas it is currently just over 18%. Climate change and globalisation bring about additional challenges for young people. All these changes have made the transition to adulthood and autonomy all the more complex and protracted.

Multiple discrimination

Young people frequently face injustices on the grounds of their age mainly in the areas of information, inclusion, employment and mobility. Inequalities are particularly visible when young people are acceding to the labour market. Although the 2000 “Employment Equality” directive forbids discrimination based on age, unemployment rate of people under 25 is currently 2.6 times that of the rest of the population. Meanwhile, young people may be exposed to “multiple discrimination” because of their ethnic origins, convictions, religious beliefs, sex or gender, sexual preferences, physical and mental condition.

This means that effective approaches to tackling discrimination must take into account multiple identities, rather than categories such as age, ethnicity, or disability alone. When considering discrimination against young people with disabilities, for instance, it is important to assess whether men, women and members of minority groups experience different or additional discrimination.

Whatever the origins, the impacts of discrimination affecting young people are likely to be marginalisation, social exclusion, lack of access, an increased likelihood of poverty and lack of power. However, within human rights law and international treaties, young people are not always recognised as a separate group that experiences discrimination. A special focus on their rights is therefore required.

Recognizing, protecting and empowering youth rights

Human rights instruments enshrining the rights of specific groups already exist; international and regional standards for women, children and persons with disabilities are very common. Furthermore two important regional tools address specifically youth rights: the African Youth Charter and the Ibero-American Convention on the Rights of Youth.

These instruments are based upon the acknowledgement that these distinct categories of the population bear needs that have not been effectively tackled by universal human rights documents.

Therefore some political and legal measures could be taken in Europe for recognizing, protecting and empowering youth rights.

The compilation of youth rights into one (ideally legally binding) document would be a big step towards enabling a rights-based approach to youth policy. Such a document could take the form of a (framework) convention or a charter.  A Convention on the Rights of Young People should endorse a more proactive approach; it should be a legal document recognising both rights and responsibilities, aiming at fulfilling autonomy for young people, and enabling them to actively participate in society.

Another concrete step that can be taken by the EU is the establishment of an Ombudsman for young people, whose aim would be to end age discrimination by the EU and its bodies. This was supported by approximately 80 newly-elected MEPs when they pledged for the LoveYouthFuture manifesto during the European Elections.

Moreover there is the need to increase the access to the actual existing tool in Europe: the EU must sign as soon as possible the European Convention of Human Rights as well as the Social Charter: many member states must be ratify the Additional protocol of the social charter and allow citizens to use the collective complaint system in order to protect their social rights.

About the writer

Giorgio Zecca is policy and advocacy coordinator at the European Youth Forum. Originally from Italy, Giorgio leads on the Youth Forum’s work on youth rights, as well as discrimination and employment. 

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Featured Stings

Commission’s Youth Initiative fails first hurdle by not sufficiently consulting young people

Ukraine takes EU money and runs to sign with Russia

China in my eyes

Brexit update: Leave campaign leads race but undecided voters will determine the outcome of the EU referendum

At the edge of humanity: refugee healthcare in Greece and the EU

Italy can stand the US rating agencies’ meaningless degrading

The Parliament defies a politically biased Banking Union

COP21 Paris: The Final Agreement Adopted-full text

South Eurozone needs some…inflation and liquidity

Berlin to pay at the end for Eurozone banks’ consolidation

Intel @ European Business Summit 2014: Better decisions now, the new business dashboard 

Commission paralysed before the banking leviathan

ECOFIN: Protecting bankers and tax-evaders

European financial values on the rise

Mixed news about the Eurozone economy

ECB’s billions fortify south Eurozone except Greece; everybody rushes to invest in euro area bonds zeroing their yields

EU officially launches its first naval mission against migrant smugglers

Europe provides financial support to African countries while Turkey denies to change terrorism laws jeopardising the EU deal

Greferendum: the biggest political gaffe in western modern history to tear Europe apart? #Grexit #Graccident

Youth policy in Europe not delivering for young people

“CETA is a game changer for major trade agreements”. The Sting reports live from EBS 2015

Eurozone to enter the winter…

“Hasta la vista” Google says to Spain and now Europe is next?

The Sting’s Team

YOUTH RIGHTS AT RISK FROM RISE OF EXTREME-RIGHT AND POPULISTS IN THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT

Should Europe be afraid of the developing world?

Junker for Commission President: What were the stakes in this affair

EU Commission spends billions without achieving targets

The Franco-German axis considers that all EU needs now is more armaments

Health Education, is it a necessity?

VW emissions scandal: While U.S. car owners are vindicated, Europe still unable to change its laws and protect its consumers

EU-US relations on the dawn of the Trump era

A Young student assesses the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA)

Brexiteer May gets lip-service from Trump and Turkish promises from Erdogan

A young European voice on Grexit: too high a bill and too big a deal!

Who is to lose from the 6-month extension of the EU economic sanctions against Russia?

Eurogroup asked to reduce public debts of its member states

Early signs of growth in Eurozone?

COP21 Breaking News_03 December: Transport Industry Drive for Improved Energy Efficiency and Electro-Mobility to Stem High Growth of Emissions

The EU Commission to fight unemployment tsunami with a…scoreboard

CHINA UNLIMITED. PEOPLE UNLIMITED. RESTRICTIONS LIMITED

G20 World Exclusive Interview: “The world, especially emerging economies and developing countries, require a more sustainable and quality development”, the Spokesperson of Japan underscores live from Antalya Turkey

Not much of a help the new EU Directive on pensions

The strong version of the EU banking union gains momentum

WhatsApp to face scrutiny from EU regulators task force over data sharing with Facebook

German and French bankers looted the Irish and Spanish unemployed

Deutsche Bank: the next financial crisis is here and the lenders need €150 billion from taxpayers

Commission to decide definitely on genetically modified Maize 1507 seed

The Tears of lovely Memories

IMF v Germany: Eurogroup keeps the fight under control

No recovery for EU economy in sight and a Brexit can aggravate things for everyone

Google once more under EU crossfire from a possible record fine and new Right to be forgotten case

G20 LIVE: G20 Leaders’ Communiqué Antalya Summit, 15-16 November 2015

Community Manager – 1289

No end to Deutsche Bank’s problems: new litigations in the US and frailty in EU stress test

Trump’s Russian affair spills over and upsets Europe

Can the EU afford to block China’s business openings to Europe by denying her the ‘market economy status’?

Global Talent – Professional Internships

German heavy artillery against Brussels and Paris

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s