“YOUTH EMPOWERMENT: WHICH STRATEGIES?” IIMA and VIDES presenting their best practice at the UN.

 On June 4th, at the United
Nations in Geneva, IIMA and VIDES Human Rights Office organised, in
collaboration with the Permanent Mission of Uruguay and with the co-sponsorship
of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and of Permanent
Missions of Costa Rica, France and Holy See, the side event: “Youth
Empowerment: which strategies?”. The side event’s goal was to invite all the
participants, especially States, to reflect on how young people can become real
protagonists of their lives and catalysts for social change.   
The Ambassador of Uruguay,
Laura Dupuy Lasserre, presided over the Side Event as moderator. The panel was composed
by: the Ambassador of Costa Rica, H.E. Christian Guillermet, the Apostolic
Nuncio H.E. Mgr. Silvano Tomasi,  the
Vice Minister of Labour and Social Security on the Uruguayan Government Dr.Nelson
Loustaunau, the Human Rights Officer Mr.Christian Courtis of the Office of the
High Commissioner  for Human Rights
(OHCHR), the Child and Youth Advisor of OHCHR Ms. Imma Guerras, Ms. Maria D’Onofrio
of VIDES International, the Assistant Director General for Policy of the
International Labour Organization (ILO), Mr. Josè Manuel Salazar, Ms. Molly
Kaniampadickal, and Mr. Thomas Vattathara of IIMA India.
First to take the floor, Mr Nelson Loustaunau, presented the complex
social situation of young people in Uruguay. Then, H.E. Christian Guillermet,
after commending the work of IIMA and VIDES at the Human Rights Council to
promote the right to education, underlined the importance of education for
young people to build a democratic society. Mr Josè Salazar, presented data on
global youth unemployment trend and possible strategies to face this serious
crisis. Ms Imma Guerras, OHCHR,, presented the results of her research on how
youth rights  were addressed in the past
with the UN and announced the organization of an international meeting on youth
rights in 2014. Mr Christian Courtis,  OHCHR, focused on the importance of the right
to education: although education is recognized as a cross-cutting right
included in many human rights conventions and in the Millennium Development
Goals,a major effort is needed to promote continuous and quality education to
prevent school dropout and to adequately prepare youth for the world of work. Mgr.Silvano
Tomasi, talked about education as the main way to overcome the current serious
economic crisis: an integral education which develop not only technicians, but
citizens engaged in the society. Ms Maria D’Onofrio asked: “What is the vocation
of young people?
”Answering the question, she highlighted that “youth are a key
human resource, the driving force for development and peace in their own
society. Thanks to their dynamic abilities, energy, creativity as well as
thanks to their incredible attitude to work together as team going beyond any
kind of geographical and cultural barrier, young people are called to be
catalysts for change […] oriented toward the realization of the common good.”
The presentation of IIMA
best practice for youth empowerment, was introduced by Ms. Molly
Kaniampadickal, and Mr. Thomas Vattathara, both coming from Guwahati, capital
city of Assam, India. Before beginning the presentation, they offered to
the panellists a traditional Indian scarf as  symbol of welcome.
Molly and Thomas, presented
their experience in a professional school, educating young people belonging to
different tribes and religious groups, often in conflict between them. In the
school young people, besides studying to get a job, learn to value their
cultural identity and appreciate that of the others.  Human rights, equality, respect for diversity
and dignity for everyone are at  the core
of all educational activities carried out. After completing their studies, 85%
of students easily find a job. More importantly, they become active and
responsible citizens who contribute to build a society based on democracy,
justice and peace.