Sep 15, 2023

UNPO Youth submission of their input on the future of human rights for the Human Rights 75 Initiative

The UNPO is incredibly proud of the progression, resilience and commitment to advocacy demonstrated by the flourishing Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organisation Youth (UNPOy) network. Their recent submission on the future of human rights for the ‘Human Rights 75 Initiative’ is a testament to these qualities. In their input, they shared their perspectives on the challenges the world is facing and how these challenges will impact human rights, in addition to their recommendations to decision and policy makers to help realise their future vision of human rights.


On the 1 September 2023, the UNPOy submitted an input to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. The Office published a call for input on views from youth-led and youth-focused organisations and institutions on the future of human rights for the development of the Human Rights 75 Youth Declaration. This call was made in the context of the 75th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and a recognition of the significance of engaging Youth voices regarding the future. The views presented by youth organisations, along with the outcomes of the Global Youth Consultation, will inform the development of the Human Rights 75 Youth Declaration.

The UNPOy expressed their commitment to the extension of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to everyone, prioritising advocating for the principle of self-determination, as included in Article I of the Charter of the United Nations.

As young people, the UNPOy should be protected in imaging, pursuing and freely engaging in the creation of their future. However, threats to the right to self-determination have eroded the voices of young marginalised communities, creating the following issues. First, due to a lack of engagement in national politics, the cultural, environmental, and political rights of marginalised youth are threatened. Additionally, youth from marginalised groups are excluded from mechanisms of international cooperation, preventing mobility, cultural dialogue, and engagement with global debate. Finally, within frozen conflicts or regions of political instability, marginalised youth are some of the most vulnerable, resulting in uncertainty and an inability to contribute towards imagining a sustainable and equal future.

The UNPOy provided recommendations for the Right to Self-identification, Identity and Cultural Rights. At present, the denial of self-determination and an inability for groups to self-identify as indigenous threatens the rights of young people, their culture, and their heritage. For example, many indigenous and minority languages are currently under threat, with young people struggling to preserve, learn and foster their language.

UNPOy recommendations on the Right of Self-Determination, the Right to Self-identification, Identity and Cultural Rights:

    • Educate and increase cultural engagement of Minority Youth: Upholding the right to education is paramount. We recommend that education systems recognise and celebrate the linguistic and cultural diversity of indigenous and minority communities. Empowering our communities with knowledge about human rights through harnessing modern technology will help mould a culture of respect.

    • Full Implementation of UN declarations and conventions such us the UNDRIP: States must ratify the treaties and conventions protecting indigenous and minorities. Moreover, they must actively ensure its implementation and further develop legislation related to minority rights. Recognition and protection of our minorities’ indigenous identities must be non-negotiable. We implore the States, UN Experts, and international actors to recognize indigenous peoples, minorities, and youth over the world, including those living in non-recognised states, to guarantee them full access to their rights as stated in the UDHR.

UNPOy provided recommendations for the Environment and Climate Change. At present, the UNPO youth are extremely vulnerable to environmental degradation, with many communities experiencing adverse affects. This degradation presents a threat to self-determination. However, UNPOy members have no means to advocate for climate prevention or mitigation strategies, nationally or internationally.

UNPOy recommendations on the Environment and Climate Change:

  • The UNPO Youth is appealing to the international community to expand the scope of their youth climate engagement towards marginalised communities. The inclusion of ALL young people in discussions about climate and the environment is a prerequisite to a sustainable and equal future. A future formed without the consultation of the marginalised Youth will be one of uncertainty, the abandonment of ancestral land, and a hostile international environment for climate refugees. Because of that, the UNPOy recommends the establishment of provisions that ensure the inclusion of all Youth communities in climate change forums.

UNPOy provided recommendations for the Political Participation of Youth. At present, marginalised youth are restricted in contributing to national and international dialogue. Not only do UNPO Youth members wish to share their unique and innovative perspectives with others, but they wish to lend a hand in the construction of an equitable future for all. On an international stage, UNPOy is advocating for the value of diverse perspectives.

UNPOy recommendations on the Political Participation of Youth:

  • Right to Self-Determination: The UN should enhance the implementation of the Charter on self-determination, safeguarde youth and future generations' rights to land and culture, and uphold the ICCPR and the ICESCR.

  • Global Collaboration: By transcending geographical boundaries, we commit to collaborating with youth from all corners of the world, forging solidarity and amplifying our collective impact. 

  • Empowerment of Indigenous and Minority Youth through integration in governance structure of the state: Foster spaces for youth from marginalised communities to engage actively in decision-making processes.

  • Global Reporting Standards: The Human Rights Council should establish transparent reporting mechanisms to hold states accountable for human rights implementation, reprise non-compliance, and demonstrate commitment to minority youth safety.