By Ashley Tucker
Growing up I always imagined and thought of the United Nations as a grand, elite meeting ground for world intellectuals who work to change the world (hopefully in a positive way).
I could not have been more wrong.
While attending the UN High Level Meeting on Youth, I sat for hours listening to delegate after delegate in turn say the same thing- “we need youth to be involved in government. Youth participation is critical for our future. The involvement of the youth is not just for tomorrow but today!” – And this continues on and on in several languages, yet the youth attending were not allowed to participate in anything. The ‘year of youth’ is a big hypocritical joke. There are no round tables, youth participation, discussion, or input taken; only a one-sided conference declaration that was completed before any of the young people arrived.
The most educational side event I went to was put on by IPPF called ‘strengthening youth leaders, advocacy from the ground up.’ The underlining message of the meeting was youth of the word need to get involved in government and the first rights that they need to petition for are sexual rights. They need to do so courageously, relentlessly, and to never give up the battle for their human right to have sex when ever, however, wherever, and with whomever they want.
It is so refreshing to hear that in countries that don’t have proper food, water and shelter are being taught that the first way to improve their lives is to ensure they have their sexual rights. Thanks, UN. This is social justice at its very best.