Youth should play greater role in tackling migration issues, UN Assembly president says

GA President Sheikha Haya

1 December 2006 – Young people should play a greater role in addressing migration, gender equality, human rights, the dialogue among civilizations and other issues affecting the world today, the United Nations General Assembly president told a gathering of students in New York today.

“Young people are among the most likely to become migrants for economic reasons and are highly vulnerable to risks including trafficking and exploitation,” Sheikha Haya Rashed Al Khalifa observed in her address to the Ninth Annual Student Conference on Human Rights in New York.

But she also noted that “the voices of young people remain far too absent in the policy-making discussions that will affect their lives.”

The General Assembly president said a fresh approach is needed. “Our efforts to enhance the benefits of globalization demand a change of perspective,” she said.

Sheikha Haya, who recently convened the first of three informal debates of the General Assembly on the topics of development, gender, and the dialogue among civilizations, told the students that their generation should take the lead in these areas “by using technology to foster greater inter-cultural knowledge and understanding.”

She encouraged the participants to embrace the challenges ahead. “Young leaders have a crucial role to play in helping to foster the motivation, compassion and awareness that are necessary for us to achieve real progress,” she said.

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