World observes 2013 Youth Day

Job SeekersMore than 21.4 million young people are among the annual total of some 214 million international migrants, Mr Ban Ki-Moon, Secretary General of the United Nations (UN), said on the occasion of International Youth Day.

He said despite the huge numbers little is known about their struggles and experiences.

“The reasons young people migrate are many, some are fleeing persecution, and others are escaping economic hardship,” a statement issued by the United Nations in New York and copied to the Ghana News Agency on Monday said.

It said this year’s observance of International Youth Day focuses on the issue of youth migration and that some youth migrants are alone, others part of a family – with parents, siblings and even children of their own whist some have communities to go to others must make new connections.

“In transit and at their final destinations, many young migrants face equal or greater struggles, including racism, xenophobia, discrimination and human rights violations.  Young women, in particular, face the risk of sexual exploitation and abuse”, he said.

“Poverty, crowded and unsanitary living conditions and the challenges of finding decent employment are regular features of the migrant experience,” he stated.

Mr Ban said these challenges are exacerbated by the current global economic and financial crisis.

He said migrants are also often accused by communities and politicians of taking jobs from local people, exposing them to further risk of discrimination.

“In other cases, young people left behind by migrating parents face psychological and social challenges and greater vulnerability. It is important to emphasize the positive contribution young migrants make to societies of origin, transit and destination – economically and by enriching the social and cultural fabric,” Mr Ban said.

“Most work hard to earn a living and improve their circumstances,” the Secretary-General said and added that the remittances they send to support families in their home countries are a major contributor to economies worldwide.

He stated that when they return home, young migrants often enhance development by applying skills and ideas acquired abroad; and, in many cases, women are empowered through migration as they gain financial and social independence.

“I urge Member States to consider youth migration.  Working with and for young people is one of my top priorities.  On this International Youth Day, I encourage Member States, youth-led organizations and other stakeholders to act to promote the rights of all young migrants and maximize the development potential of youth migration,” Mr Ban said.

In October, the United Nations General Assembly will host the second High-Level Dialogue on International Migration and Development.

International Youth Day is an awareness day designated by the UN. It was first observed on August 12, 2000.

Source: GNA

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