Sunday, 11 May 2014

#WCY2014 Realising Peace, Reconciliation and Violence

One of the two thematic areas I worked on was Realising Peace, Reconciliation and Violence. We worked on the theme across three days, the first focusing on how young people have contributed so far to reconciliation within divided communities. Initially we listened to keynote speakers on the theme including Sandy Tesch Wilkins from the Red Cross, Nalaka Gunawardene a development communicator and John Loughton founder of DareToLead. We then split off into sub-groups to share ideas and experiences. I was lucky to work with young people from Germany, Sri Lanka, Ireland, Denmark and Finland to say a few. 

On the second day we focused on ideas surrounding what young people could do to aid the reconciliation processes and shared experiences and best practise. Again we had several keynote speakers such as Anna Matilda Flemig from the UNOY, Minister of Nepal for youth and sports development and Asanga Abeygunasekera, Executive Director of the Lakshman Kadiragamar Institute. 

On the third day we were presented with the challenge of prioritising three goals to be included in the Colombo declaration in order to streamline youth in the Post-15 development agenda. 

The outcome of our work is the sub-heading of Realising Peace, Reconciliation and Violence in the 2014 Colombo Declaration which suggests the UN should enforce that states:- 

64. Recognize and increase the role young people, especially young women, play in conflict prevention, peace building, conflict resolution, post-conflict reconciliation and reconstruction efforts.
65. Demand an end to the application of coercive and unilateral measures that affect the rights
of the youth and development.
66. Demand to cease politics that undermine the internal order of countries, violating the proposals and principles celebrated in the Charter of the United Nations and International Law.
67. Reaffirm the commitments of the United Nations system to protect children and young people from unlawful recruitment, including kidnapping for military purposes and terrorist activities.
68. Increase opportunities in education and employment for all youth, especially those affected by armed conflicts.
69. Increase opportunities in peace building education and employment for all youth especially those affected by armed conflicts.
70. Promote inclusive and effective post–conflict rehabilitation and reintegration policies, programs and mechanisms recognizing and dealing with the underlying causes of conflict.
71. Develop policies and programs to identify and address factors that put young people at risk of engaging in crime and prevent youth violence.
72. Implement a wider range of options that pursue restorative justice for the children or youth in conflict with the law as instead of imprisonment, and pursue other similar measures outside the criminal justice system.
73. Strengthen and promote the role of young people and youth organizations in building peace in their communities, countries and regions. 

A full copy of the Colombo declaration can be found here -

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