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International Youth Day Seminar “Political Participation and Decision Making” 6 August, 2019 ESCWA, UN House, Beirut, Lebanon
Under the Patronage of the President of the Council of Ministers H.E. Mr. Saad Hariri, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights for the Middle East and North Africa (OHCHR-MENA) celebrated International Youth Day in a Seminar on “Political Participation and Decision Making” on Tuesday 6 August 2019 at ESCWA, UN House, Beirut. Ms. Roueida El Hage, OHCHR-MENA Regional Representative inaugurated the seminar along with H.E. Mr. M’hammed Grine, Ambassador of Morocco to Lebanon, Mr. Philippe Lazzarini, United Nations Deputy Special Coordinator for Lebanon, Humanitarian and Resident Coordinator and H.E Mr. Saad Hariri represented by the Member of Parliament H.E. Mr. Sami Fatfat. The seminar, which brought together around 110 university students from all over Lebanon, aimed at raising awareness regarding youth rights according to international conventions and standards. OHCHR trainers coached students on how to interact with United Nations human rights mechanisms to their fullest potential, as well as, how to craft focused recommendations to their State. Out of the results of the final group work, the students put together a document of commitments and recommendations from the Lebanese youth. Finally, the seminar provided a safe space for students to build a youth network for future cooperation as well as to interact with youth politician MP Mr. Sami Fatfat in a Q&A session at the end of the seminar and left with a certificate of attendance. Addressing the audience, Ms. El Hage said: “This is a timely reminder that together, we need to create a safe, enabling and inclusive spaces for young people. Safe spaces are imperative for young people to realize their rights by coming together to participate in activities that suit their needs, engage in open discussion, and freely express themselves”. Ambassador M’hammed Grine said: “If despair spills into the minds, it can be the most dangerous scourge that can affect the people of the country, especially youth”. “You, young people, are allies of progress and you must take responsibilities and engage in political life because it provides hope and enthusiasm that you cannot find in any other field”, he added. Mr. Philippe Lazzarini declared: “It’s critical that you become day-by-day more active in your community, have hope and a say for a positive outlook on the future. To do that, you have to work together, bridge your differences, be active citizens and to help shape local and national policies that affect your lives and the Lebanon you want in 2030- 2050, the Lebanon you want to leave to the generation to come. Mr. Sami Fatfat said: His Excellency President Saad Al Hariri, believed in the role of youth and gave us a chance, whether it was me or other member of parliaments. It is true that we come from houses that have participated in political life, but we represent a certain age from the people, we represent you. The country needs to pump new blood to change the political taste in Lebanon, we can do that by breaking what already exists, which requires us to be courageous to share new information that may cause a shock to those before us.