P Track

Empowering Youth with Human Rights

Grand Ballroom


Andrea Carcamo-Cavazos, Senior Policy Counsel, The Center for Victims of Torture

Jacqueline Romano, Board Member, Urban Light, Editor, Blindfold Magazine

Ka Hsaw Wa, Executive Director, EarthRights International

Priscilla Monico Marín, Managing Attorney, Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights


Human rights play a crucial role in human development, building peace and creating a better world for all. Many human rights campaigners around the world are calling the current moment “dark times for human rights”, with a rise in autocratic restrictions and abuse in many, often unexpected countries. Even the United States withdrew from the U.N. Human Rights Council last year. On the other hand, the past year has also seen some new and highly creative rights campaigns, often spearheaded by young people, showing that human rights abuses will continue to be challenged and matched by grassroots counter-movements.

This panel will focus on the crucial importance of human rights in creating a better future for young people, and explore how youth can support human rights to be better protected and advanced. Some specific fields will be explored such as human trafficking, youth and children’s rights, indigenous rights, environmental rights, and the rights of victims of war and torture. For each topic, particular attention will be paid to how the next generation of young leaders can better address these issues and take an active role.

Possible Discussion Points:

  • Until recently, human rights were typically seen as moving in a positive trend – is this still the case and, if not, what has changed and why?
  • How can we increase youth awareness and involvement in improving human rights?
  • What specific strategies or actions by youth might be most effective in this field?
  • What should be the role of the U.N. and the international community in addressing human rights? Are they fulfilling this role?
  • What is the right balance between formal political engagement and grassroots activism?
  • What advice would you give to any delegates living in countries where there is very low tolerance for human rights campaigning?
  • How important is freedom of speech both in itself and in helping spread awareness of other human rights issues?
  • In recent years, women’s rights have been described as “under attack” or seeing a “push-back”. Why is this happening now, and what can be done to stop this?
  • What particular rights should children and youth have, and how can these be better protected across the world?