UNODC and Youth of Expression Program marked International Youth Day on Monday, 12 August
|The Youth Soirée held by the Youth of Expression Program|
Brasília, 13 August 2013 - The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) celebrated yesterday the International Youth Day, highlighting the importance of crime prevention strategies and strengthened national protection systems to protect young people around the world, especially those in conflict with the law. "Further upstream, we must ensure that our action is grounded in rehabilitation and social reintegration rather than punishment", said the UNODC Executive Director, Yury Fedotov.
In Brazil, the Youth of Expression Program marked the date by organizing the Youth Soirée, which gathered young people at Ceilândia's Citizen Square, in the Federal District, to watch and participate in spontaneous artistic and cultural presentations. Aimed at reducing the vulnerability of young people to violence, AIDS and Sexual Transmission Diseases (STD), as well as supporting entrepreneurship, the program is carried out by Caixa Seguros Group, in partnership with UNODC, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO in Brazil) and the Central Única das Favelas (Cufa/DF).
The International Youth Day is celebrated every year on 12 August. Read below Fedotov's complete message to mark the date:
"There are 1.5 billion young people worldwide. We want every one of them to grow up to be healthy and independent and a force for progress and change in their communities.
For this to happen, we must help them avoid becoming the victims of illicit drug use, human trafficking, online exploitation and many other crimes.
However, let us also acknowledge that there are young people in conflict with the law who are in detention. They deserve our full protection.
Crime prevention strategies and strengthened national protection systems are essential to address this challenge.
Further upstream, we must ensure that our action is grounded in rehabilitation and social reintegration rather than punishment. Alternatives to judicial proceedings and detention must be found. Restorative justice programmes are a viable alternative that are cost-effective and in the interests of public safety.
When deprived of their liberty young people are especially vulnerable to human rights violations, such as violence within the criminal justice system. Too often, they are marginalized and ignored, when they should be at the core of every approach to criminal justice and to human rights.
On International Youth Day, UNODC recognizes the numerous challenges faced by States when youth comes into conflict with the law. We invite the international community to provide adequate responses in line with international standards.
To assist, national laws, regulations and policies need to be in line with the Convention on the Rights of the Child and other legal instruments. Every possible service should be sensitized to their needs and receive the necessary support. Young people also hold the key to their own protection through risk prevention and knowledge of their rights. Their voices should always be heard in the processes that affect them.
If social views on this issue are to change dramatically, engagement with the media and civil society is not simply an aspiration, it is a necessity.
Youth represent all our futures. But, if we are to enable them to achieve their hopes and aspirations, we must assist them now.
On International Youth Day, UNODC is committed to playing its role by helping young people to avoid becoming the victims of crimes, while striving to protect them when they are in conflict with the law."