Today, Saturday 12th August 2023, is International Youth Day. Every year International Youth Day is observed to increase understanding of the obstacles and concerns encountered by young individuals worldwide, and to advocate for their untapped capabilities.
The significance of International Youth Day 2023 lies in its recognition of the crucial role that youth play as the foundation of the world. Their vigour, adaptability, and unwavering commitment possess the capacity to instigate constructive transformations, whether on a global scale or within local communities.
International Youth Day was first celebrated in 2000 and since then the day has been used to educate the general public. The day was established when the World Conference of Ministers Responsible for Youth recommended it to the UN General Assembly on December 17, 1999.
In 1965, the United Nations General Assembly started working actively to educate and inspire young people. They approved the declaration promoting the values of peace, respect for others, and intercultural understanding.
Each year, International Youth Day focuses on a specific theme that highlights different aspects of empowering and nurturing youth. In 2023, the selected theme is 'Green Skills for Youth: Towards a Sustainable World.'
"Green skills are the knowledge, abilities, values, and attitudes needed to live in, develop, and support a sustainable and resource-efficient society." United Nations United Nations | Peace, dignity and equality on a healthy planet
The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) is the most complete statement of young people’s rights ever produced and is the most widely-ratified international human rights treaty in history. The Convention has 54 articles that cover all aspects of a young person’s life and set out the civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights that all young people everywhere are entitled to. It also explains how adults and governments must work together to make sure all young people can enjoy all their rights.
Every young person has rights “without discrimination of any kind, irrespective of the child’s or his or her parent’s or legal guardian’s race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national, ethnic or social origin, property, disability, birth or other status” (Article 2).
The Convention came into force in the UK in 1992 and sets out important rights for young people, including the right to:
Relax and play (Article 31)
Freedom of expression (Article 13)
Be safe from violence (Article 19)
Education (Article 28).
Four articles in the Convention are known as the “General Principles” which help to interpret all the other articles and play a fundamental role in realising all the rights in the Convention for all young people. They are:
Non-discrimination (Article 2)
Best interest of the child (Article 3)
Right to life survival and development (Article 6)
Right to be heard (Article 12)
Today seems an opportune time to celebrate just some of the causes and organisations close to my heart who are endeavouring to improve the lives of young people here and overseas.
The Ghana School Scholarship Fund: Providing school places for children in Larabanga, Ghana.
The Children's Society: Supporting children and young people in need in the UK.
Young Minds: Providing mental health support for young people in the UK.
Barnardo's: Protecting young people un the UK by providing practical and emotional support.
Birmingham Resilience Education and Wellbeing Services CIC (BREWS): ADHD Support.
BREWS Facebook page
Jonah's Project CIC: Services for young people in Birmingham at risk of criminal activity.
Friends of Brandon Hill (FOB): Providing support for children in need in Jamaica.
Friends of Brandon Hill Facebook page
So, to young people everywhere:
H A P P Y I N T E R N A T I O N A L Y O U T H D A Y !!