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Summary: United Nations forum on Human Rights, Democracy and the Rule of Law” at Geneva, Switzerland on 21-22 November, 2016

National President Dr. Prakash Banjade and General Secretary Mr. Madan Rai have participated in United Nations forum on Human Rights, Democracy and the Rule of Law” at Geneva, Switzerland on 21-22 November, 2016 that they have been invited by WFUNA Office recognizing their strong engagement for youth empowerment and participation in Nepal on the platform of United Nations Youth and Student Association Nepal (UNYSAN). Seven hundreds of youth activists, representatives from UN youth organizations, UN agency and government officials gathered at the United Nations Office in Geneva on November 21-22 to attend the first-ever Forum on Human Rights, Democracy and the Rule of Law.

In particular, this year’s inaugural session focused on “Widening the Democratic Space: The Role of Youth in Public Decision-Making.”  The formal discussions of the two-day event focused on creating an enabling environment for the effective participation of youth in public decision-making and on ways to increase the participation of young people in public and political processes. Through a set of four diverse plenary sessions that included panel presentations followed by interactive discussions, participants identified and analyzed best practices, challenges and opportunities for Member States in their efforts to widen the democratic space for youth in public decision-making.UNYSAN has addressed the forum on the behalf of UNYSAN urging to unite the youths for ensuring human rights, democratic practices and enjoy the value of rule of law of Nepalese who are in foreign employment and other foreign employees and portrayed the current state of Nepali working in overseas. He also stated about democratic practice for the promulgation of Nepal’s constitution and challenge of its implementation. Ms. Irene Martinetti, director of programs of the world federation of UN Associations Office at Geneva, Aziel-Philippos Goulandris, Education officer of WFUNA Office, Nais Mouret, Training and Education Associate and Jessica Gasser, program Assistant at WFUNA in Geneva have made excellent coordination and management of WFUNA Delegates. In the first session of program that focusing on creating an enabling environment for the effective participation of youth in public decision making, His Excellency Ambassador Choi Kyonglim, President of the Human Rights Council expressed his statement, Mr. Jan Eliasson, Deputy Secretary-General of United Nations delivered video message, Mr. Zeid Ra’ad AL Hussein, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights has given his statement. The program has been co-Chaired by Mr. Ahmad Alhendawi, the UN Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth, and His Excellency Ambassador Daniiar Mukashev, Permanent Representative of the Kyrgyz Republic to the United Nations Office at Geneva. Similarly, various distinguished panelists have presented their presentation and have offered a fruitful interaction following Ms. Sara Oviedo, Member of the Committee on the Rights of child, Ms. Chaely Mycroft, ability activist, founding member of the Hidsrights Youngsters, founder of the chaely Campaign, Ms. Gulalai Ismail, peae activist, founder of Aware Girls.

 Mr. Dejan Bojanic, board member of the European Youth Forum, Youth rights and education policy advisor, Ms, Anne Lambelin, Senator of the parliament of Belgium and delegate at the inter-parliament union forum of youth parliamentarians, Mr. Tomaz Dezelan, Associate professor of political science, Jean Monnet Chair for citizebship education and vice dean for quality assurance and development at the university of Ljubljana, policy advisor on youth political participation to the OSCE and International IDEA, Ms. AYA Chebbi, activist and blogger, and member of the board of director of CIVICUS World alliance for citizen participation, Mr. Anshul Tewari, founder and editor-in-chief of youthkiawaaz.com and director of the board of collectively, Ms. Ana Saldarriaga, former Global president of AIESEC, current member of AIESEC Supervisory board, Mr. Scott Attran, anthropologist at France’s national center for scientific Research, oxford university and the university of Michigan, Ms. Hajer Sharief, co-founder of MAAN Nabniha (“ Together we build it”) in Lybia and member of the advisory group of expert for the progress study on youth, peace and security, mandated by security council resolution 2250 (2015), Ms. Martine Kessy Ekomo-Soiget, founder of URU (Take Off ) and member of the advisory group of experts for the progress study on youth, peace and security mandated by security council resolution 2250 (2015), Mr. Max Trejo Cervantes, Secretary-general of International Youth Organization for IBERO-America, Mr. Alexander Kauschanski, Youth Delegrate programme Multiplier of the work Federation of UN Associations, Ms. Rita Muyambo, Head of programmes for World YWCA. And the moderators of the different sessions were Mr. Romulo Dantas, Executive-secretary for youth empowerment at world YMCA,Mr. Iran Power, executive director of Spunout.ie, Ireland’s youth information website, and president of the national youth council of Ireland, Ms. Francine Muyumba, president, Pan African Youth Union, and Mr. Ahmad Alhendawi, the UN Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth for the final session.

On the margins of this Forum, the very inspirational campaign “Not Too Young To Run” was launched, originally a youth-led initiative in Nigeria now picked up by the Office of the Secretary General’s Envoy on Youth with several partners. “Not Too Young To Run” is an initiative calling for the promotion of the rights of young people to run for public office and to end the widespread age discrimination in this area.

In conclusion, the Forum addressed various challenges young people around the world face while trying to participate in public policy-making and decision-making. In order to establish effective ways of meaningful youth participation and more importantly – the action based on youth voices, there is a need to review the mechanisms and strategies that already exist, even to create new avenues, and make them work for the benefits of young people.

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