UNGA 72, Third Committee
Item 27 Social Development
Statement of Finland
2 October 2017
Youth Delegate of Finland
Thank you chair,
It is an honour for me to take part in this discussion as the UN youth delegate of Finland.
I would like to point out three topics that are highly important: firstly, youth, peace and security, secondly, gender equality and thirdly, the rights of refugees and those forced to migrate.
As many of you know, the UN Security Council adopted a resolution on youth, peace and security in 2015. The resolution highlights the role of young people as positive change makers. To implement this binding resolution I encourage all Member States to involve young people in peace building efforts as well as in decision-making processes at all levels. This is necessary if we want to achieve a peaceful and prosperous future. Inter-generational dialogue requires that more space is given to young people. In Finland, for example, young people are participating in decision-making processes at the local level through Youth Councils, which have been introduced also in the legislation.
The rights of young women and girls are often neglected and violated. Far too many young women do not have the right to choose their own future in terms of family and profession. But women’s rights are human rights. Girls and women should have universal access to sexual and reproductive health and rights. Girls and women should have equal access to quality education. States should take immediate measures to eliminate discrimination on the basis of gender stereotypes. We should work hard to change the culture around gendered skillsets and careers to realise the full potential of our societies.
In a similar way, individuals are denied their human rights on the basis of their sexual orientation and gender identity and persecuted in many places around the globe. The right not to be discriminated against on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity is a human right that should be protected at all times.
Thirdly, I would like to touch on global migration. Human rights are also rights of people on the move, many of whom are young.
In Finland too, as in the rest of Europe, growing migration flows has brought about an increase in hate speech towards migrants and refugees. Hate speech contributes to an atmosphere of fear, discrimination and demonization, and narrows the space for freedom of speech in society. To tackle this we must denounce and counter hate speech. And we must ensure that dignity and equal human rights of migrants and refugees arriving into our societies are safeguarded. Only by doing so are we able to face current and upcoming challenges.
As we all know, silence changes nothing. Thus, let us work towards a world in which human rights are fully realised, girls and women participate fully in society, and youth are well represented at decision making tables
I thank you chair.