European Council conclusions on promoting young people’s access to rights
Date: 12th December 2014
Category: Non-discrimination, Awareness-raising
On 12th December 2014 the Council of the European Union adopted conclusions on promoting young's people's access to rights, in order to foster their autonomy and participation in civil society.
The conclusions call the EU and member states to promote measures to support young people's autonomy and well-being and tackling and preventing all forms of discrimination, and to invest in raising awareness among young people of their rights and how to assert them.
To do so they are invited to develop and support youth policies and youth work and, where appropriate, provide adequate support and funding for independent and youth/youth-led organisations. Importantly, the conclusions highlight that the participation of young people is regarded as an important aspect to be taken into account in the development of social and economic strategies in the EU.
Finally, the Council calls for support to campaigns and educational programmes aimed at raising awareness about human rights (including civil and political, economic, social and cultural rights) and on how young people can fully enjoy such rights, using also existing networks, with a special emphasis placed on young people with fewer opportunities.
Importantly, the conclusions highlight that the participation of young people is regarded as an important aspect to be taken into account in the development of social and economic strategies in the EU.
The Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014 which received Royal Assent in March 2014 includes duties on Scottish Ministers to consider children's rights in their decisions, to consider the views of children and young people and to raise awareness and understanding of children's rights. These duties will commence in April 2015 and are a real opportunity to further some of the European Council conclusions as outlined above.
The European Council highlights the context of the conclusions by recognising the effects of austerity on children's rights. It states "young people continue to be adversely affected by the economic and social crisis that has characterised the past few years. Demographic changes, youth unemployment and employment under precarious conditions, have consequently made it more difficult for them to achieve autonomy and exercise effectively their rights."
Scotland's Commissioner for Children and Young People has produced a briefing on how austerity relates to children's rights.