Young people are central members of society. The United Nations defines youth as people between the ages of 15 and 25. Today, they number 1.8 billion, or one-fourth of the world’s population. Consequently, young people’s participation in economic, political and community life is essential to facilitating social and economic development, challenging social norms and creating innovations that lead to development for everyone.
Although youth are an important part of society, they still face significant challenges. For many young people around the world, “puberty – the biological onset of adolescence –brings not only changes to their bodies but also new vulnerabilities to human rights abuses, particularly in the arenas of sexuality, marriage and child bearing”.
Social protection is crucial in improving the resilience of families — including adolescents, creating access to further education, combatting unemployment among youth and improving adolescent health outcomes. Studies have shown, for example, that access to social protection significantly reduces HIV infection rates among adolescent girls.
States should invest in social protection programmes that consider the specific needs of youth and incorporate a gender lens. Young women and men face different challenges and have different needs. Young women are particularly vulnerable due to patriarchal cultural norms that may impede their access to education, food security and reproductive rights. Human rights-based social protection systems can help all youth achieve their full potential.
Photo credit: “DSC_0042″ by CAFNR (CCBY 2.0 via Flickr).
Iberoamerican Convention on Rights of Youth
Article 28. Right to social protection. Youth have the right to social protection towards situations of illness, accident in the workplace, disability, widowhood or orphanage and any other situation meaning lack or decrease of means of subsistence or capacity to work. The States Parties shall adopt as many measures as may be necessary to achieve […]
Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), 1989
Convention on the Rights of the Child Article 26 recognizes for every child the right to benefit from social security, including social insurance. In addition, Article 27(1) recognizes the right of every child to a standard of living adequate for the child’s physical, mental, spiritual, moral and social development. Under Article 27(2) and (3), States […]
Adolescent Sexual Rights in Peru
Nature of the Case In views adopted under the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the UN Human Rights Committee held the Peruvian government accountable for failing to ensure access to legal abortion services essential to the health of the petitioner, thus violating her human rights. Summary In 2002, the […]
Women’s sexual and reproductive rights in the Philippines
Summary In 1991, the Philippines delegated responsibility for “people’s health and safety” to the local level. In exercise of this power, an executive order 003 (“EO 003”) was issued in Manila, in 2000 which declared that the city would take an “affirmative stand on pro-life issues”. In response to a joint submission from NGOs in […]
Promoting Decent Work Opportunities for Roma Youth in Central and Eastern Europe
With this Resource Guide, the ILO would like to enhance knowledge and understanding of all stakeholders of the situation of Roma in the labour market in terms of discrimination, marginalization, and lack of access to resources and services. The Resource Guide brings together relevant international instruments and experiences which can guide and assist European tripartite […]
Panorama Laboral de América Latina y el Caribe 2015
El Panorama Laboral 2015 de América Latina y el Caribe advierte que se registra un “cambio de tendencia” en los indicadores de empleo, con un deterioro en la situación laboral de las mujeres y los jóvenes e indicios de que podría estar subiendo la informalidad a través de “una mayor generación de empleos de menor […]
Promoting Youth Employment: policies and programmes
This paper deals primarily with programmes for expansion of youth employment opportunities, paying special attention to generation of self-employment through youth enterprise. Since these programmes cannot be considered in isolation of the nature of youth unemployment and the overall policies for employment creation, the initial sections of the paper focus on the emergence, dimensions and […]