Earlier this year, we called on US Secretary of State Antony Blinken to announce measures to support the fundamental human rights of young people. Today, we commend the introduction of bi-partisan legislation in the U.S. Congress that recognizes the positive role young people play in peace and security. The legislation also commits the U.S. to greater support for youth-led peacebuilding.
The global youth population now stands at over 1.8 billion, and in conflict-affected regions around the world, young people make up the majority of the population. Around the world, they are at the forefront of global movements against climate change, violence, and injustice such as #BlackLivesMatter, #ENDSARs, and #MilkTeaAlliance. Young people are building movements for change in Colombia, Myanmar/Burma, Nigeria, the United States, and many other places. This legislation comes at a critical time to ensure that their efforts to resolve conflict are supported and acknowledged.
We applaud the leadership of members of the U.S House of Representatives Rep. Grace Meng (D-NY), Rep. Dean Phillips (D-MN), Rep. John Curtis (R-UT), and Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) in supporting this policy change.
The H.R.4838 legislation—the Youth, Peace, and Security Act of 2021 (YPS Act)—recognizes the vital role youth play in reducing violent conflict and building peace. Their efforts help de-escalate tensions, stop conflict from spreading, prevent recurring cycles of violence, improve the effectiveness and sustainability of peace agreements, and strengthen a culture of peace and security.
This change in policy is a critical opportunity to support young peacebuilders. We will continue working to ensure U.S policy makers empower, resource and include the efforts of young people to prevent and resolve conflict around the world.