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What young people can teach us about protecting rights

Wayhome Studio ©, 2021


Today most critical political decisions about our future are made by Baby Boomers, with little or no reference to the Zoomers from Generation Z.

It is time for policymakers to sit up and listen.

That is why young people will take centre stage at the Fundamental Rights Forum 2021 in October. Their voices will be heard across each of the Forum’s six themes.

They will lead human rights discussions on everything from the impact of climate change and migration to education and the arts.

Through the past year, the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) has been having open and ongoing dialogue with young people from across Europe.

FRA Director, Michael O’Flaherty, explains: “One thing young people tell me repeatedly is that they have opinions, but nowhere to express them. We want to give young people a platform.

“We need to speak up for you in the Forum. We need to promote the effort to mainstream attention to young people across the whole range of EU policy.

“Also, we need and we want to give you a space to make your voice heard.”

In the process of listening to those voices, FRA heard from Maurits De Haan of JongPIT, a group campaigning for the rights of people with a chronic illness or disability.

Maurits said: “Equal access to inclusive education and adapting to the needs of chronically ill should become standard practice in all EU countries.

“Start a conversation with this group of young people to make equality and fair education possible for young people with this disorder.”

Giulia Simoni, from Don Bosco International, asked: “What more can be done in the European Union to highlight that environmental protection is a human right and to prevent that climate change has unequal effects on people?”

The latest FRA dialogue also heard the first-hand experience of arriving in Europe as a migrant from Moh Hamdan.

He explained: “I lived in a camp where human rights do not exist: no healthcare, no shelter, no access to education.

“It is an unsafe place. There is a big risk of the camps turning into human rights black boxes.”

What can we do to address these concerns head-on?

Ahead of the Forum, Michael O’Flaherty will take part in another dialogue with young people as part of the Young Bled Strategic Forum on 31 August.

He will bring the concerns of young people to the Forum, where they will take centre stage in the discussions.

Make sure to join this year’s Fundamental Rights Forum to play your part.

Registrations will open at the beginning of September.
Sign up for updates to stay well informed.


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