European states should take legislative and other measures to enable representatives of national minority youth to meaningfully influence political decision-making at local, regional and national levels, says a new Recommendation to 46 member states of the Council of Europe, adopted by the organisation’s Committee of Ministers.
Prepared by the Steering Committee on Anti-Discrimination, Diversity and Inclusion (CDADI), the Recommendation encourages states to enshrine the right of national minority youth to participate in law, and to facilitate their active political participation by ensuring that there are spaces where such participation could occur. Such spaces include elected bodies, governmental institutions, youth parliaments and councils, school and student parliaments, advisory and consultative bodies, online spaces and media. The Recommendation provides detailed guidance on how to involve national minority youth and mainstream their views in legislative, budgetary and policy-making processes and how to provide them with information on participation in political life.
The Recommendation draws upon the Study on the active political participation of national minority youth in Council of Europe member states, as well as best practice examples from member states and existing Council of Europe standards. A public consultation was held on the draft text in January 2023 and representatives of youth and national minority youth had the opportunity to give their opinions on the draft during online focus group consultations held in January 2023.
The Recommendation contributes to the implementation of decisions taken at the 4th Council of Europe Summit of Heads of State and Government (Reykjavík, 16-17 May 2023), in particular the Reykjavík Declaration - “United around our values” and the Reykjavík Principles for Democracy, in which member states committed to “invest in a democratic future by ensuring that everyone is able to play their role in democratic processes” and “ensure full, equal and meaningful participation in political and public life for all, in particular for women and girls, free from violence, fear, harassment, hate speech and hate crime, as well as discrimination based on any ground.”