ASEAN Youth Statement (2014)
THE YANGON DECLARATION
ASEAN Youth Statement
(Approved during the 2014 AYF in Yangon, Myanmar)
One Community! One Strategy! Youth for Unity!
We, the young people of ASEAN, aspire for the promotion of non-discrimination, equality, peace, protection, sustainability, and inclusive development of the ASEAN community that are in line with the principles and values of human rights, democracy, justice and freedom in all aspects of our lives.
We, the young people of ASEAN, strongly call for the creation of a sustainable rights-based, inclusive, people-centered, and youth-driven regional community.
We, the young people of ASEAN, strongly call for affirmative action by our leaders in ASEAN countries to create an enabling environment at regional, national, and local levels that highly addresses the needs, fulfills the aspirations of young people and ensures youth-embracing Post-2015 Development agenda for the region.
To attain our vision, we strongly demand:
- The full recognition of the ASEAN Youth Forum (AYF) as a youth-based, autonomous and independent regional movement that represents the voices of young Southeast Asians, and to monitor and evaluate the implementation of youth-related policies, agenda, and recommendations;
- The facilitation and integration of an inclusive, accessible, non-discriminatory, needs-based, evidence-based, human rights-centered approach to formal and non-formal education;
- The immediate reform and repeal of policies & laws that indirectly criminalize and discriminate young people based on their political views and status, SOGIE (Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Expression), religion, and Social economic status; and
- Meaningful participation of youth in all sectors, with emphasis on young vulnerable groups including adolescent girls, LGBTIQ (young people with diverse sexual orientation, gender identities, and gender expression), persons with disabilities, indigenous people, religious minorities, migrants, stateless people, people living in poverty, language minorities, women, pregnant girls, children, people living in the context of war and humanitarian contexts, sex workers, people living with HIV and AIDS, dropouts, drug users and internally displaced peoples; with genuine democratic consultation, sufficient funding allocation and provision of other resources, and protection on the rights to freedom of expression and assembly
- Immediate action to fully address and work with young people on the following issues:
Role of Young People and Impacts of Peace and Reconciliation:
- Create and support peaceful dialogues with governments and various stakeholders;
- Initiate youth focused peace education in curriculums and alternative peace building programs.
- Provide safe spaces for youth to meaningfully engage in peace-building efforts such as interfaith dialogues and cross-cultural exchanges at the community, national and regional levels specifically in conflict areas; and
- Provide protection for youth impacted by conflict.
– Good Governance, Democracy, and Freedom of Expression:
- Reform and reinforce the existing youth government institutions and youth policies to ensure meaningful participation of youth in all levels of policy implementation;
- Review and repeal all laws and policies that are against the basic principles of democracy and human rights of young people and to promote free, fair, and peaceful elections, free and independent media, transparency, accountability and access to information; and
- Empower existing regional institutions to ensure the promotion and protection of youth rights in ASEAN and accept and support for the regional youth Charter.
– Ensuring Decent Work and Livelihood for the Youth of Southeast Asia:
- Implement, monitor and evaluate transparent, youth-friendly, rights- and evidence-based national employment policies that generate decent work for ASEAN youth and adherence to International Labour Organisation (ILO) standard, which is stable, safe, secure, non- discriminatory, and provides decent wage and opportunities for career development;
- Prioritize creation of jobs and a skilled workforce by increased investment including from the private sector through programs that foster youth entrepreneurship and provide internship opportunity and capacity building to young people through trainings, continuing professional education, using formal, informal and non-formal approach, employment counseling, offer social protection, mentoring and expertise sharing so that ASEAN youth can get the necessary information and skills to access decent work opportunities;
- Invest in building and enhancing the motivation of young people. If so, it may also help in creating an enabling and conducive environment for young people to participate in all stages of decision-making for their livelihood and future;
- Ensure humane and equal access to decent work that free from discrimination, respectful of diversity, and promoting human development for all young people, including vulnerable and migrant youth. ASEAN must also eliminate gender biases in all sectors and at all levels of the workforce; and
- Implement and enforce policies that address discrimination of young people in the labor market.
– Quality education for all Young Southeast Asians:
- Identify and develop relevant and standardized framework, right based educational programmes (formal, informal, and non-formal) designed for and with young people. Quality of Academic staff, infrastructure, teaching and learning materials and facilities must be ensured;
- Allocate and properly distribute funding to ensure non-discriminatory and quality education that focuses on empowerment and capacity enhancement of young people; and
- Establishment of a regional policy that mandates for free, accessible and available education for all.
– Empowering Young People’s Sexual & Reproductive Health and Rights (gender, sexuality, access to health, and comprehensive sexual education):
- Fully provide youth-friendly access to reproductive and sexual health services to anyone in the region including all young LGBTIQ, young migrant workers, young stateless person/ refugees, young sex workers–male, female, transgender, transsexuals; and
- Provide Comprehensive Sexuality rights-based information and education for all young people. Teaching strategies must be differentiated and be flexible to meet the differing needs of female and male learners, taking into account the fact that persons with special needs — such as young people not attending school or young married women — have to be taught about sexuality through methods other than formal education.
– Youth in Migration: Assuring Safety, Freedom, and their Rights (trafficking, refugees, statelessness, and migrant workers):
- Implement formal and educational curricula that emphasizes on people-centred history, human rights, migration and cultural appreciation;
- Ensure full access of young migrant people to all levels of formal, skills-based, informal and non-formal education;
- Develop and implement policies that promote and protect the rights and freedoms of young migrant people especially undocumented, stateless, asylum seeking young people; and
- Immediately ratify international labor and human rights conventions that directly affect young migrant people.
– Actualizing and Maintaining a Regional Environment (self-determination, preservation of local wisdom and indigenous culture):
- Facilitate and support youth-initiated green programmes that aim to address local and transnational environmental matters;
- Acknowledge and uphold environmental justice as fair treatment and meaningful involvement of young people with respect to the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies to ensure healthy environment to learn, live and work;
- Ensure transparency, accountability and rights to access information on local, regional and transnational development plans;
- Involve young people in all forms of consultations and decision making processes to ensure sustainable and healthy environment; and
- Improve disaster risk-preparedness for young people.
We, the young people of ASEAN, must always freely access and shape local, national and regional spaces to lead, claim our rights, and drive a people-centered ASEAN community.
Youth Rights are FUNDAMENTAL HUMAN RIGHTS!
Yangon University, Yangon, Myanmar