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Bali Youth Force: Statement on International Youth Health and Rights

Written By: Audacia Ray
August 10, 2009

 

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From Ishita Chaudry, founder of the YP Foundation in India:

In the last two days, over 150 young people ranged from 17 to 35 years, representing over 20 countries, came together in solidarity at the youth pre congress.The youth group at the second largest AIDS forum in the world, the 9th International Congress on AIDS in Asia and the Pacific (ICAAP), drafted a collective commitment to increase young peoples stake in programmes and policy processes that impact their lives and their rights.Young peoplefrom Brunei, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Japan, China, Philippines, Brazil, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Nepal, Burma, Malaysia, Samoa, Lao, Papua New Guinea and South Korea were represented.

Our commitment is to achieve meaningful youth participation by developing strong adult peer partnerships, increase funding and capacity building for youth led and youth serving initiatives, mainstream human rights in the HIV and AIDS response for all young people, recognize and affirm young peoples sexual reproductive health and rights and eliminate stigma and discrimination amongst young people.

For the first time at ICAAP, young people have set up Commitments at the 9th ICAAP, at the Youth Corner at Asia Pacific Village, BICC, Bali where decision makers, organizations, individuals and governments are invited to make commitments to adult-peer partnerships committed to making a change. We will review the commitments made at after a 6 month and 12 month period. These commitments will also be announced at press conferences being held across ICAAP.

Here is a shortened version of the Youth Forum’s Recommendations. Click to download the slightly longer and more detailed PDF.

1. Achieve meaningful youth participation: All young people have the right to meaningfully participate in programmes and policy making processes that affect their lives. Several international documents such as the UNGASS Declaration of Commitment on HIV and AIDS, Convention on the Rights of the Child, the International Conference on Population and Development Program of Action, the Beijing Platform for Action as well as the Millennium Development Goals recognize and endorse this. Our governments have committed to implement the provisions in these documents.

2. Strengthen financial commitments for youth‐led and youth‐serving initiatives: Youth‐led organizations and groups have demonstrated a positive impact at international, national and local levels in responding to HIV and AIDS.

3. Mainstream Human Rights in the HIV and AIDS response for ALL young people. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that all people have the fundamental right to life, health, livelihood and dignity. These rights need to be respected, protected and fulfilled for all young people.

4. Fulfill young people’s sexual and reproductive rights. Governments must respect, protect and fulfill young people’s sexual and reproductive rights.

5. Eliminate stigma and discrimination against young people (esp. marginalized young people). Stigma is an obstacle for effective HIV prevention, testing, treatment, care and support for all young people. Universal access cannot be achieved without eliminating stigma and taking affirmative action. Young people living with HIV and other young people from key populations face layered stigma, thus increasing vulnerability.

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