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What To Expect

What can I expect from engaging with the UN human rights mechanisms?

Human rights mechanisms receive a high volume of information and requests for intervention from different sources. With the exception of very urgent or grave human rights situations, they are not always able to rapidly or comprehensively address all the issues that are brought to their attention.

Nonetheless, do not let this discourage you from engaging with the mechanisms to raise the human rights concerns of youth in your context.

The UN produces numerous reports on human rights thematic and country issues. Some reports and recommendations carry more weight than others, particularly when States have a legal obligation to abide by certain provisions or recommendations. As you begin to navigate the different mechanisms and search through reports and recommendations, consider these as tools that can complement and bolster your advocacy for youth rights.

Using UN reports for youth rights advocacy

In 2016, the first session of the UN Forum on Human Rights, Democracy and the Rule of Law took place, focusing on the topic of widening the democratic space: the role of youth participation in public decision-making. The Forum provided a space for young people and youth organizations to participate, contribute and put forward recommendations to States. The report from the Forum includes a number of recommendations on promoting meaningful youth participation, for example:

  • Consider adopting or amending national legislation to align the minimum voting age and the minimum age of eligibility to run for office.
  • Collect data to track youth participation, representation and inclusion in political processes and institutions.
  • Establish or strengthen accessible and inclusive structures, such as local youth councils, youth parliaments or other consultative mechanisms, to foster youth participation in all institutions. Such mechanisms should be grounded in law, provided with an adequate budget and tasked with the formulation of recommendations that should be acted upon and followed up.

A summary of recommendations is available in English, while the full report is available in all six UN languages. While States are not obliged to implement the recommendations of the report, compiling recommendations from various sources can help build a case and apply pressure when advocating for youth rights.

Bodies And Mechanisms

Which bodies and mechanisms does the toolkit cover?