Paunovic: The government is committed to improving the position of young people in Serbia

Belgrade, December 12, 2019 - Director of the Office for Human and Minority Rights, Suzana Paunovic, said today that celebrating International Human Rights Day this year is a sign of the realization of youth rights. The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights's Stand Up for Human Rights campaign aims to promote the potential of young people as constructive change-makers, strengthen their voice and involve them in decision-making in all matters of their importance.

Addressing the gathering on the occasion of the presentation of the Zero Report on Youth Rights in our country, Paunovic stated that our country is contributing to this global movement with the first report on youth human rights in the Republic of Serbia.

This report is the result of the work of the associates of the Belgrade Center for Human Rights Youth Program, in partnership with the United Nations Human Rights Team in Serbia, with the support of the Office for Human and Minority Rights.

As she explained, this is another indicator that civil society organizations see a reliable partner in the Government of Serbia for resolving all issues through dialogue, consultative processes, trainings and programs.

For the past six months, together with the youth program of the Belgrade Center for Human Rights, we have highlighted this important topic through trainings on raising the capacity of youth organizations and for youth in four cities in Serbia to establish stronger interoperability with the UN human rights mechanisms in Belgrade, Novi Sad , Niš and Novi Pazar, said Paunovic, adding that today's gathering was also held within the framework of a program supported by the Office for Human and Minority Rights.

The aim of this report is to present the situation, identify the existing challenges and obstacles to the realization of human rights of young people in the Republic of Serbia.

Paunovic believes that the report will also serve as a basis for future action by youth organizations and youth, for well-founded advocacy for an even better position of youth in Serbia, before United Nations mechanisms, international actors and decision-makers.

The fact is that there is no specific UN treaty body overseeing the implementation of youth recommendations, nor is there a Convention governing the position of young people. This indicates that the topic of youth status has not been at the top of UN priorities for a long time, and that monitoring their rights is of great importance in order to implement measures aimed at improving their position and implementing the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals as soon as possible, Paunović pointed out.

Of the total of 392 recommendations that human rights monitoring mechanisms in the UN system have addressed to Serbia, 47 can be linked to the situation of young people, Paunovic said, citing that the youth are explicitly mentioned in only eight received recommendations.

UN permanent coordinator in Serbia Francoise Jacob, who stated that our country was on the right track and that the efforts of the institutions and the Office for Human and Minority Rights were clearly visible, and the head of the Council of Europe Mission in Belgrade, Tobias Flesenkemper, also spoke at the conference.

The participants of the event pointed out the importance of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1948, that technology is a great challenge for everyone and especially young people, and that access to rights is something we all fight for together.