Young people today in the European and Arab regions grow up in societies exposed to various pressures for change, and resistance to change, that deeply impact on their understanding and exercise of active citizenship and on their role as agents for Human Rights.

The realities for youth participation and young people’s access to rights vary from one to another context, which makes some young people closer to decision-making, and others further away. On local, regional and national level across European and the Arab regions, young people are striving to build more inclusive spaces where they can have a say.

The participants of the 7th Euro-Arab Youth Forum held in 2019 at the European Youth Centre Budapest expressed concern that young people have few opportunities for education or training on the topic of peace and security, and they lack the expertise to tackle the sensitive nature of security. The participants encouraged:

“the Council of Europe and the League of Arab States to initiate a human rights education programme for youth activists enabling them to take action on the topic of peace and security and to invite their member states to implement such interventions in the education of young people.”

The League of Arab States mission is to encourage cooperation between its member states, safeguarding their independence and sovereignty, on a range of issues including Human Rights, economic ;and social development, migration, rights of women and youth. Cooperation with the

Council of Europe in the youth field has become an important feature in the youth programme of the League, notably through the youth fora jointly organised by the two organisations. The League’s specific focus is on youth participation and empowerment through a campaign.

The 2030 strategy of the youth sector of the Council of Europe confirmed the central role of human youth participation, human rights education and intercultural dialogue in the activities of the Youth Department. The strategy aims at enabling young people to actively uphold, defend, promote and benefit from the Council of Europe’s core values of human rights, democracy and the rule of law.

 Learning together online

As a follow-up to the 7th Euro-Arab Youth Forum, the Council of Europe and the League of Arab States agreed to co-organise a Training course on Human Rights Education and Youth Participation for Euro-Arab Dialogue. The course should take place at the European Youth Centre in Strasbourg.

The situation with the COVID-19 pandemic has made the residential course impossible to be held. However, the need and opportunity for a Euro-Arab youth cooperation activity focusing on human rights education and youth participation remain intact.

The Council of Europe and the League of Arab States have thus decided to prepare and offer an online learning course. The course will focus on youth participation and empowerment in the framework of the League of Arab States campaign, as well as, will build on the experiences of the Youth for Democracy programme of the Council of Europe. The activity also contributes to the fourth phase (2020-2024) of the World Programme for Human Rights Education, focused on youth, and supports action for the Sustainable Development Goals (Goal 4.7).

The online course will takes place from 2 November – 15 December 2020. It aims to prepare participants to apply youth participation and human rights education in their youth organisations and activities.

 Aim and objectives

The online course promotes dialogue and mutual learning for youth leaders from the Council of Europe and League of Arab States on applying human rights education to address and improve youth participation and empowerment.

Objectives

  • To strengthen participants’ understanding of key concepts of human rights education and youth empowerment in the context of Euro-Arab cooperation;
  • To explore the current realities, challenges and opportunities for applying human rights education in the Council of Europe and League of Arab states area;
  • To share and devise ways of improving youth participation and empowerment through human rights education at local and national levels;
  • To support exchange and mutual learning among youth leaders interested in Euro-Arab cooperation, notably by sharing the current obstacles and opportunities
  • To associate the participants and their organisations with the priorities and work of the Council of Europe’s Youth Sector and the League of Arab States notably in relation to the Euro-Arab youth fora.

 Participants

The online learning activity gathers some 50 participants from Council of Europe member states and from the League of Arab States. All participants are youth leaders, engaged in activities with young people either focused on education, youth work, youth policy or participation in public life.