UNITED NATIONS, May 29, CMC – Three Caribbean nationals were among more than 40 youth activists who attended the first Global UNiTe Youth Forum held in Bangkok last week.
A UN statement said that Daniella Jacques from Haiti, along with Trinidad and Tobago national Keshan Latchman and Barbadian Christa Soleyn participated in the three-day event hosted by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s global campaign UNiTE to End Violence Against Women.
It said that the young activists, aged 18-30, committed themselves to building partnerships and strengthening the movement of young people working to end persistent gender inequality and violence against women and girls.
“The fact that violence against women and girls continues to be one of the world’s most widespread human rights violations is the raison d’être of the UNiTE campaign, which was launched by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in 2008.
“Recognizing the crucial role of young people in changing mindsets, the UNiTE campaign has made youth leadership a key priority,” the UN statement said.
Co-Chair of the UN Regional Thematic Working Group on Gender Equality and Empowerment of Women Nanda Krairiksh said “ we know that violence against women is a result of deeply embedded cultural values and social attitudes and unequal power relations.
“Young people are more open to questioning outdated gender stereotypes and behaviours that perpetuate violence and discrimination,” she added.
The delegates were of the opinion that engaging with men and boys to alter patriarchal values and harmful beliefs about masculinity is a cornerstone to ending the pandemic of violence against women and girls.
“Even if young men do not practice violence themselves,” says Shoko Ishikawa, Acting Regional Programme Director of UN Women.
“They have such an important role to play in speaking out against violence against women and girls within their peer groups and beyond.”
Coming from the Caribbean, Europe, the Middle East, Asia and the Pacific, the young activists discussed the types of violence they see in their communities and the various ways they address it in their work – as peer trainers, counselors, filmmakers, bloggers, in women’s shelters and men’s anti-violence networks.
The Global UNiTE Youth Forum formed a UNiTE Youth Network said it would seek to attract more young activists from around the world to join the campaign to form an even stronger movement of committed young people working locally, internationally and online in their effort to be the generation that ends violence against women and girls.
The three-day conference ended with the presentation of a UNiTE Youth Statement to senior UN officials.