of THE INTERNATIONAL FORUM
"YOUTH RIGHTS: OPPORTUNITIES AND PROTECTION MECHANISMS"
The future of any state depends on its young population, typically aged 18 to 30. The creativity, dynamism, social responsibility, and professional readiness of young people are vital for the sustainable functioning of any democratic society.
Today, there are 1.2 billion young people in the world between the ages of 15 and 24, representing 16 percent of the world's population. By 2030, the target date for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the 2030 Agenda, the number of young people is projected to increase by 7 percent, reaching almost 1.3 billion.
As young people increasingly demand fairer, more equitable, and progressive opportunities and solutions in their societies, the imperative to address the multifaceted challenges they face, including education, health, employment, and gender equality, has never been more significant.
Youth can play a pivotal role in development and must be provided with the knowledge and opportunities necessary to fulfill their potential. This entails ensuring that young people receive the education and skills required to contribute to the economy and have access to labor markets.
For the first time in UN history, a system-wide strategy, the Youth Strategy until 2030, titled 'Strengthening Democracy through Youth Engagement in Public Life', was adopted. Uzbekistan is among the ten countries worldwide where this strategy is being implemented at an accelerated pace. The UN has welcomed Uzbekistan's rapid establishment of the Youth Parliament, the UN Youth Advisory Council; the adoption of various policies, programs, and financial instruments to ensure meaningful youth inclusion and empowerment.
Recognizing this, the Government of the Republic of Uzbekistan is increasingly investing resources in their intellectual, physical, spiritual, and moral development.
At the 78th session of the UN General Assembly in New York, President Shavkat Mirziyoyev of the Republic of Uzbekistan took the initiative to create the United Nations Working Group to advance youth development in Central Asia. This initiative underscores the high-level commitment to safeguarding youth rights and their realization in the Central Asian region. Given that nearly half of the Central Asian population consists of young people, issues pertaining to the younger generation and the fulfillment of their potential hold particular significance.
Moreover, at the 72nd session of the UN General Assembly, the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan proposed the creation of an international legal document - the UN International Convention on the Rights of Youth. Then, during the 75th session of the UN General Assembly, the head of state called on the global community to support Uzbekistan's initiative for the adoption of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Youth.
This initiative plays a crucial role in addressing youth issues and rectifying disparities in international documents related to this sphere. It is gaining growing support from the international community. The Group of Friends for Youth Rights has been established with the primary objective of supporting initiatives in youth policy and promoting the development of an international legal instrument on youth rights.
International mechanisms for the protection of youth rights
One of the important places in the development of the system for safeguarding youth rights involves the tools and standards established at intergovernmental conferences across regions such as Africa, Asia, the Pacific, Europe, and Latin America. The majority of these instruments and standards have been adopted within the UN framework. In the past 30 years, the number of international acts pertaining to youth rights has surpassed 10.
The first unique international legal instrument of historical significance containing fundamental human rights is the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the 75th anniversary of which is widely celebrated in 2023.
The anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights coincides with 30-th anniversary of the 1993 World Conference on Human Rights, which laid the foundation for the establishment of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. These are two milestones towards greater respect for human dignity
On the eve of the celebration of the 75th anniversary of this most important and much-needed document for humanity, a Presidential Decree was adopted on the broad celebration of the 75th anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The Decree provides for a variety of programmes and activities aimed at strengthening human rights and raising awareness of the key and universal rights enshrined in international human rights instruments.
The 75th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the 30th anniversary of the World Conference on Human Rights, the adoption of the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action is a moment to reaffirm and strengthen the commitment to make youth rights a reality.
As part of the commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and given that young people face particular challenges in exercising their rights, often being at the forefront of human rights work, OHCHR has established a Youth Advisory Group, which is involved in the development, implementation and follow-up of the Human Rights 75 initiative. Through this initiative, youth representatives, as well as youth and youth-focused organisations and institutions, have the opportunity to express their views on the present and future of human rights, which will inform the drafting of the Human Rights 75 Youth Declaration to be presented at a high-level event in Geneva in December 2023.
Youth is a priority in Uzbekistan
The younger generation has always been a focal point for the state due to their dynamism and mobility, which serve as valuable resources for the country's progressive development. In Uzbekistan, more than half of the population is under 30 years of age. As of January 1, 2022, the population under 30 years old comprises 19.6 million people, accounting for 55.6% of the total resident population. Therefore, a top priority in modern Uzbekistan is to ensure that young voices are given increased consideration in decision-making processes at various levels.
This commitment to youth is evident in the new norms established in the revised Constitution, which outline the state's obligations to protect the rights to education, healthcare, housing, employment, and recreation, and ensure the safeguarding of personal, political, economic, social, cultural, and environmental rights while encouraging active participation in society and the state. To facilitate active participation in society and the state, the state's responsibility is to create a foundation for youth development across intellectual, creative, physical, and moral dimensions.
Today, under the framework of state youth policy, a range of large-scale measures are being carried out to protect rights and provide guarantees for the realization of legitimate interests. The basis of the state youth policy is the 'Law on State Youth Policy,' which establishes the foundation for supporting youth in various areas, including education, creative and intellectual development, employment, and youth-driven innovations. Notably, efforts are also dedicated to promoting a healthy lifestyle and patriotic education among young people. These components represent integral aspects of the collective contribution from all social institutions engaged with youth development.
At the institutional level, youth support is provided by the Youth Affairs Agency, while at the community level, youth leaders have been active in mahallas since 2022. The Agency has developed an online platform where young individuals can access information about the support it offers and submit applications for assistance, such as preferential loans for starting businesses, training, legal or psychological advice. An allocation of 650 billion soums has been designated to support over 700,000 young individuals through the Youth Notebook.
The development of mechanisms to strengthen youth policy, such as the 'Youth of Uzbekistan - 2025' Concept, the establishment of uniform criteria for evaluating youth work, and the creation of a national index for assessing youth policy, is an ongoing process.
Equally crucial for the successful implementation of these strategies is the active engagement of young people themselves. It's essential for them to enhance their legal literacy, effectively protect their rights and interests in accordance with the law, understand the principles governing the global community, and actively address both local and international challenges. These are the tasks that young people should enthusiastically embrace, as their initiatives have the potential to yield high-quality results and contribute to making the world a better place.
Initiated by the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan, Sh.M. Mirziyoyev, the first-ever World Conference on Youth Rights took place during the 46th session of the UN Human Rights Council on August 12-13, 2020. The conference resulted in the adoption of the Samarkand Resolution, titled 'Youth 2020: Global Solidarity, Sustainable Development, and Human Rights.' This document underscores the pivotal role of youth in promoting peace, security, sustainable development, and human rights. It emphasizes the significance of active, meaningful, and inclusive youth participation in decision-making.
Furthermore, to enhance cooperation in youth policy, the heads of state in Central Asia signed an Agreement on General Directions of Youth Policy on September 15, 2023. This agreement aims to create conditions for increased youth engagement in the public, cultural, political, social, and economic life of Central Asian states.
As part of this initiative, President Sh.M. Mirziyoyev of the Republic of Uzbekistan proposed the establishment of a Center for the Empowerment and Self-realization of Central Asian Youth. The primary goal is to unite the efforts of states in developing the competencies of young people and promoting their professional training. The initiative also involves taking measures to prevent youth radicalization through the development and adoption of a Comprehensive Regional Cooperation Program to combat youth radicalization.
In line with the implementation of the Decree of the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan titled 'On the Widespread Celebration of the 75th Anniversary of the Adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,' the Government of Uzbekistan initiated an International Forum dedicated to the 75th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The forum focused on 'Youth Rights: Opportunities and Protection Mechanisms.
PURPOSE, OBJECTIVES, FORMAT, EXPECTED RESULTS
The main purpose of the Forum:
The Forum is an informational, educational and discussion platform, providing its participants with the opportunity to obtain the necessary knowledge, exchange experience and implement their own ideas and projects; live communication with politicians, public figures, representatives of scientific and academic circles.
The main objectives of the forum include:
- Objective analyses of the scope of existing international and regional instruments and mechanisms for the protection and promotion of young people's rights;
- exchange of views on how to improve the effectiveness of mechanisms for the protection and empowerment of young people's rights;
- raising public awareness and understanding of the importance of protecting the rights of young people;
- discussing and sharing experiences on best practices and effective mechanisms for the protection of youth rights;
- promoting and supporting the development of policies and legislation aimed at protecting and promoting the rights of young people;
- promoting partnership and cooperation between states, international organisations, civil society and youth organisations in the field of youth rights protection;
- involving young people in decision-making and planning processes related to their rights and interests;
- supporting the development and implementation of programmes and projects aimed at ensuring equal opportunities, developing the potential and improving the well-being of young people;
- formulating recommendations and decisions that can be used as a basis for further action and policy initiatives in the field of youth rights;
- ensuring gender equality, full participation, and contribution to development-related processes and participation in decisions affecting the lives of young people.
The objectives of the Forum include:
- discuss international, regional and national experiences and approaches to the protection and promotion of youth rights;
- analysing the scope of existing international and regional instruments and mechanisms for the protection and promotion of youth rights;
- developing ways to improve the effectiveness of mechanisms to protect and enable young people's rights;
- highlighting key challenges faced by young people to fully realise their rights;
- developing ways and means to improve legal, administrative and policy frameworks with concrete recommendations to mainstream youth rights into all government policies to enable them to make a meaningful contribution to the realisation of the Sustainable Development Goals;
- gathering youth views on the present and future of human rights for the elaboration of a Youth Declaration on Human Rights 75;
- Developing an outcome document summarising the main results of the forum and recommendations that can serve as a basis for follow-up actions and initiatives in the field of youth rights.
Format of the International Forum
As part of the celebrations for the 75th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the 30th anniversary of the World Conference, the International Forum 'Youth Rights: Opportunities and Protection Mechanisms' will be held in a hybrid format in Tashkent in October 2023.
This format will enable a broader audience and experts from around the world to participate virtually in its discussion sessions.
The International Forum will include an opening ceremony, closing ceremony, plenary sessions with representatives of youth organisations and keynote speakers.
During the plenary sessions, moderators will play a major role in keeping the discussions focused, actively engaging the audience, using social media if possible.
Invited panelists are expected to delve into the legal and conceptual aspects of the forum's theme and share best practices. Participants will receive a situational analysis of the current state of affairs in their countries, describing existing policies and programs affecting youth. They will have the opportunity to pose questions to the panelists and, drawing from their experiences, offer concrete recommendations for policies and actions to various stakeholders at both the national and international levels.
Of the International Forum
"Youth rights: opportunities and protection mechanisms"
It is planned to hold 3 Plenary sessions within the framework of the Forum:
PLENARY SESSION 1:
YOUTH AND GLOBAL CHALLENGES: PROMOTING SUSTAINABILITY AND PEACE
Human rights education is essential for the effective enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms and contributes to the promotion of tolerance, non-discrimination, equality, conflict prevention as well as countering violent extremism.
Effective human rights education not only provides a source of knowledge about human rights and the mechanisms for their protection, it also builds the skills needed to promote, protect and fulfil human rights in everyday life.
The session will discuss and define the key role of youth in today's society, and consider how human rights education can help develop informed and active citizens capable of countering violent extremism among youth and supporting those who are vulnerable.
PLENARY SESSION 2: INTERNATIONAL, REGIONAL AND NATIONAL INSTRUMENTS AND MECHANISMS FOR PROMOTION AND PROTECTION OF YOUTH RIGHTS
The session will discuss existing international and regional instruments and mechanisms for the protection and promotion of youth rights, as well as established standards for the protection of youth rights in international and regional documents.
PLENARY SESSION 3: YOUTH CONSULTATION: PROSPECTS FOR PROMOTION OF YOUTH RIGHTS AT THE
This youth consultation session will allow participants to exchange views on the present and future of human rights, what States, civil society, international organisations and the United Nations should do to strengthen, respect and protect human rights, and what commitments young people should make to advance human rights in the future.
The views of young people expressed during this youth consultation will be used to develop a youth declaration on "Human Rights 75" to be presented at a high-level event in Geneva in December 2023.
This session will take place in an interactive format with active participation of young participants in the discussion.
Establishing a network of connections and fostering long-term partnerships among forum participants, creating a platform for continued information exchange and collaboration in the realm of youth rights.
Inspiring and motivating both youth and forum participants to actively engage in safeguarding youth rights and influencing decision-making regarding their rights and interests.
Raising public awareness of youth rights issues and drawing the attention of the public, media, and politicians to this significant topic.
Facilitate a long-term strategy and action plan to promote and protect the rights of young people following the conclusion of the forum.
Formulating a long-term strategy and action plan for promoting and safeguarding youth rights after the forum's conclusion.
Establishing an international community committed to actively working to improve the situation of young people and secure their rights on the global stage.
Facilitating the mutual exchange of experience and knowledge among various countries and regions, which contributes to a more effective protection of youth rights worldwide.
Organization of the Forum
National key organizer of the Forum
National Center of the Republic of Uzbekistan for Human Rights.
Ministry of Youth Policy and Sports of the Republic of Uzbekistan
Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Innovation of the Republic of Uzbekistan
Youth Agency of Uzbekistan
Youth Union of Uzbekistan
World Youth Association of Uzbekistan
Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights,
UN OHCHR Regional Office for Central Asia,
Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe
OSCE Project Coordinator in Uzbekistan,
Office of the UN Resident Coordinator in Uzbekistan,
Representative office of the United Nations Development Program in Uzbekistan,
Representative offices of the Friedrich Ebert Foundation in Uzbekistan.
The international forum includes 150 participants, comprising local and foreign experts, youth organization leaders, representatives of youth parliaments, civil society institutions, media representatives, and international, regional organizations focused on youth rights.
Date and venue:
October 23, 2023, Tashkent
Uzbek, English and Russian languages
National Center of the Republic of Uzbekistan for Human Rights:
Phone / Fax: (+ 998 71) 239 47 22