Give youth a say, today and tomorrow

Worldwide, we have the largest youth population ever. Globally 1.8 billion young people are living through turbulent times. As 12 August marks International Youth Day 2018, the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) joins the call for safe spaces for youth, the focus of this year’s international day.

Today’s youth often face political instability and information overload from polarised viewpoints, sometimes true, sometimes fake. They have difficulties finding work in a volatile job market where the job security their parents enjoyed no longer applies. In addition, they risk being isolated in society as opportunities for political and civic participation are limited.

From 25 to 27 September in Vienna, FRA will host its Fundamental Rights Forum. Careful attention has been paid to ensure young people can meaningfully take part in the discussions and have their voices heard on issues that affect them.

There will be sessions where young people will speak about their experiences of protecting their personal information in the digital age. They will also speak of the real barriers they face in exercising their rights and accessing public services.

Other conference sessions will explore child poverty, inclusive education, a fairer job markets, violence against young women, and much more. All topics of everyday relevance that matter to young people everywhere.

There will also be hands-on opportunities to illustrate the power of sport to bring people closer together, and promote common values and inclusive societies.

By creating such safe spaces, young people, no matter their background, can have their say and voice the concerns that matters most to them. By allowing them to engage and be listened to, they will become empowered to get involved in the physical real and virtual worlds to bring about the change for their future and ours.