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Human Rights And Youth

What is youth?

There is no consistent or universally agreed definition of the term ‘youth’ based on age. The variety of approaches and definitions reflects the reality of what youth is: a fluid and nonhomogeneous category, rather than a fixed age group.

Unlike other forms of identity, such as gender, ethnicity, or race, youth is a transitory phase of life.

While the transitory nature is what unifies the category of youth, it is difficult to define youth by focusing purely on chronological age; the transition from dependence in childhood to independence and autonomy in adulthood occurs at different times in relation to different rights, and depends on the socioeconomic context, among other aspects.

Recognizing that the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child defines children as anyone below the age of 18 years, the present toolkit is predominantly aimed at young people aged 18 and over, although it may be relevant to those aged 15 to 17.

What are youth rights?

Recognizing that young people face discrimination and obstacles to the enjoyment of their rights by virtue of their age, often in combination with other factors, youth rights – or the human rights of youth – refers to the full enjoyment of all fundamental rights and freedoms by all young people everywhere. Promoting or advocating for these rights means addressing the specific challenges and barriers that young people face in exercising their rights.


What Rights Do Young People Have?

As human rights are universal, meaning that everyone is equally entitled to their rights, young people possess the same rights as everybody else regardless of age.