Finland must advocate for a convention on youth rights, demands Allianssi

Uutiset 30.4.2018

More robust legal mechanisms must be put into place to ensure that the rights of young people are realized – Allianssi urges Finland to advocate for the creation of a convention on youth rights

Minister for Foreign Affairs Timo Soini announced today, April 26th, that Finland will begin drafting a national action plan on the UN resolution 2250. The national action plan defines how the United Nations Security Council resolution 2250 on Youth, Peace and Security will be implemented in Finland. The resolution 2250 emphasizes the active role of young people in building a peaceful society and underlines the importance of involving youth in decision-making processes. Finland is the first country in the world to announce the further development of a national action plan on Youth, Peace and Security.

The Finnish Minister on Foreign Affairs Timo Soini says that non-governmental organizations will be heavily involved in preparing the national action plan. Finnish Youth Co-operation – Allianssi is pleased with this position from Soini, and wishes to remind involved parties how crucial it is that young people themselves participate in decision-making processes which directly affect them. Allianssi and its member organizations are ready to actively participate in preparing the national action plan.

Allianssi demands that the national action plan defines concrete steps for the execution of the resolution and that the effectiveness of these actions are clearly measured. A national, cross-administrative monitoring group must be set up for the platform, with a young people and youth organizations centrally and equally represented. The national action plan must promote the participation of youth in decision-making at all levels. Through the action plan Finland must actively work for preventing conflicts and to form partnerships which promote peace and equality. Over half of the world’s population is under 25 years old, one third of youth are unemployed, and over 600 million young people live in countries with armed conflicts.

“Governments have a vital role in ensuring that the rights of young people are realized, and it is clear that more robust mechanisms are necessary to ensure that this happens. Lofty ideals are not going to cut it; enough resources must be allocated to the national action plan so that it can truly advance the realization of youth rights both in Finland and internationally,” demands Allianssi chair Elisa Gebhard.

Allianssi demands that, in addition to drafting the national action plan on 2250, Finland should begin actively advocating for the creation of a convention for the rights of youth. The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, adopted in 1989, relates to under-18-year-olds, and its main emphasis is on social protection. A treaty for the rights of youth should emphasize youth autonomy and increasing civic engagement of young people.

“We are very glad at Allianssi that Minister for Foreign Affairs Timo Soini wants to strengthen Finland’s profile as a forerunner of youth participation. With the momentum at UN on youth rights, now would be an excellent opportunity to fulfill this promise by proposing that the UN Human Rights Council start negotiations towards a convention on the rights of youth” says Gebhard.

The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights is currently compiling a report on youth and human rights. The report will be published this summer, and it is expected to incite active discussion and a possible resolution on youth rights, at the Human Rights Council.


More information: Allianssi chairperson Elisa Gebhard, +358 50 575 1723, President of the International Committee Silja Markkula, +358 40 582 9786