This page looks at some of the human rights instruments that will touch upon the discussions on this platform. It also includes debates under the auspices of The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (UN Human Rights).  As usual, I have kept them to summaries with appropriate links many provide official translations.  In many cases, the documents referred to are available in a variety of languages. You check the sources and links for up-dates

Human Rights and Poverty

Human rights dimension of poverty

The report particularly calls on States to devote increased attention to the issue of gender equality while designing, implementing and evaluating social protection programmes within a human rights framework. The independent expert will present this report to the General Assembly in October. This report is particularly pertinent given the UN Summit being held on the Millennium Development Goals from 20 to 22 September 2010 in New York. For more information click here.

Economic deprivation – lack of income – is a standard feature of most definitions of poverty. But this in itself does not take account of the myriad of social, cultural, and political aspects of the phenomenon. Poverty is not only deprivation of economic or material resources but a violation of human dignity too. Read more here. And choose your language in the top right-hand corner of the site.

Also associated with poverty is the issue of social protection (see also the ILO Conventions)

Toolkit on the Right to Social Security

The right to social security is the right to access and maintain benefits, whether in cash or in-kind, without discrimination in order to secure protection, inter alia, from (a) lack of work-related income caused by sickness, disability, maternity, employment injury, unemployment, old age, or death of a family member; (b) unaffordable access to health care; (c) insufficient family support, particularly for children and adult dependents. – Committee on the Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, General Comment 19. Read more here

The Human Right to Food

The right to health is a fundamental part of our human rights and of our understanding of a life in dignity. The right to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health, to give it its full name, is not new. Internationally, it was first articulated in the 1946 Constitution of the World Health Organization (WHO), whose preamble defines health as “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity”. The preamble further states that “the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health is one of the fundamental rights of every human being without distinction of race, religion, political belief, economic or social condition.”

The 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights also mentioned health as part of the right to an adequate standard of living (art. 25). s.

This definition is in line with the core elements of the right to food as defined by General Comment No. 12 of the United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (the body in charge of monitoring the implementation of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in those states which are party to it). The Committee declared that “the right to adequate food is realized when every man, woman, and child, alone or in community with others, has physical and economic access at all times to adequate food or means for its procurement. The right to adequate food shall therefore not be interpreted in a narrow or restrictive sense which equates it with a minimum package of calories, proteins, and other specific nutrients. The right to adequate food will have to be realized progressively. However, States have a core obligation to take the necessary action to mitigate and alleviate hunger even in times of natural or other disasters. Read more here

Key Aspects of the Right to Health

The right to health is “an inclusive right extending not only to timely and appropriate health care but also to the underlying determinants of health, such as access to safe and potable water and adequate sanitation, an adequate supply of safe food, nutrition and housing, healthy occupational and environmental conditions, and access to health-related education and information… ” – Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights

A summary of these aspects can be found in the Toolkit on the Right to Health here

Human Rights and Water and Sanitation

The human right to safe drinking water and sanitation is derived from the right to an adequate standard of living and inextricably related to the right to the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health, as well as the right to life and human dignity” – Human Rights Council

Key aspects

The water supply for each person must be sufficient and continuous to cover personal and domestic uses, which comprise water for drinking, washing clothes, food preparation and personal and household hygiene.

Water for personal and domestic uses must be safe and acceptable. It must be free from elements that constitute a threat to a person’s health. Water must also be of an acceptable colour, odour and taste to ensure that individuals will not resort to polluted alternatives that may look more attractive.

Water and sanitation facilities must be physically accessible and within safe reach for all sections of the population, taking into account the needs of particular groups, including persons with disabilities, women, children and the elderly.

Water services must be affordable to all. No individual or group should be denied access to safe drinking water because they cannot afford to pay.

The Right to Water and Sanitation Toolkit can be found here On the same page, you will find the links to the International instruments and resolutions relating to this topic.

It should be noted that the CEO of a multinational that dominates the market for bottled water has contested the concept of water as a human right. Suggesting that it should be regarding as any other foodstuff. A longer presentation is available Russian Television

Human Rights and Health

The right to health is “an inclusive right extending not only to timely and appropriate health care but also to the underlying determinants of health, such as access to safe and potable water and adequate sanitation, an adequate supply of safe food, nutrition and housing, healthy occupational and environmental conditions, and access to health-related education and information… ” – Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

More can be found here

The right to health is a fundamental part of our human rights and of our understanding of a life in dignity. The right to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health, to give it its full name, is not new. Internationally, it was first articulated in the 1946 Constitution of the World Health Organization (WHO), whose preamble defines health as “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity”. The preamble further states that “the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health is one of the fundamental rights of every human being without distinction of race, religion, political belief, economic or social condition.”

The 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights also mentioned health as part of the right to an adequate standard of living (art. 25). The right to health was again recognized as a human right in the 1966 International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

Human Rights and Gender Equality


Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women New York, 18 December 1979


On 18 December 1979, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly. It entered into force as an international treaty on 3 September 1981 after the twentieth country had ratified it. By the tenth anniversary of the Convention in 1989, almost one hundred nations have agreed to be bound by its provisions.

The Convention was the culmination of more than thirty years of work by the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women, a body established in 1946 to monitor the situation of women and to promote women’s rights. The Commission’s work has been instrumental in bringing to light all the areas in which women are denied equality with men. These efforts for the advancement of women have resulted in several declarations and conventions, of which the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women is the central and most comprehensive document.

Women’s Human Rights and Gender Equality

Gender equality is at the very heart of human rights and United Nations values. A fundamental principle of the United Nations Charter adopted by world leaders in 1945 is “equal rights of men and women“, and protecting and promoting women’s human rights is the responsibility of all States. The High Commissioner for Human Rights recently pledged to be a Geneva Gender Champion committing to advance gender equality in OHCHR and in international fora.

ILO vision of equality between women and men

The ILO’s goal is to promote equal opportunities for women and men to obtain Decent Work . This is fairly paid productive work carried out in conditions of freedom, equity, security and human dignity. ILO considers gender equality a critical element in efforts to achieve its four strategic objectives:

Promote and realize standards and fundamental principles and rights  at work Create greater opportunities for men and women to secure decent employment  and income Enhance the coverage and effectiveness of social protection  for all Strengthen tripartism  and social dialogue

ILO mandate on gender equality (c) ILO

The ILO’s mandate to promote gender equality in the world of work is enshrined in its Constitution  and reflected in relevant international labour standards. The four key ILO gender equality Conventions are the Equal Remuneration Convention (No. 100 ), Discrimination (Employment and Occupation) Convention (No. 111 ), Workers with Family Responsibilities Convention (No. 156  ) and Maternity Protection Convention (No. 183  ). Conventions 100 and 111 are also among the eight fundamental Conventions and the principles and rights enshrined in those Conventions are found in the ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work .

The ILO mandate on gender equality is reinforced by related Resolutions adopted by its highest decision-making body, the International Labour Conference. The most recent of these is the Resolution concerning Gender Equality at the Heart of Decent Work  , adopted in June 2009; and the Resolution concerning the Promotion of Gender Equality, Pay Equity and Maternity Protection  , adopted in June 2004. Attention to gender equality in all aspects of the ILO’s technical cooperation is mandated by the Governing Body’s March 2005 Decision on Gender Mainstreaming in Technical Cooperation  .

The ILO’s gender equality mandate is also set in the context of an array of international instruments advancing equality between women and men. Amongst others, these include the UN Charter itself, numerous resolutions of the General Assembly, the 1997 UN Economic and Social Council’s Agreed Conclusions on gender mainstreaming, the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), the 1995 Beijing Platform for Action and its follow-up, and the Millennium Development Goals and the soon to be adopted Sustainable Development Goals.

ILO policy and strategy on gender equality and mainstreaming

The ILO’s policy on equality between women and men, expressed in the Director-General’s Circular no. 564  (1999), calls for mutually reinforcing action to promote gender equality in staffing, substance and structure. This is achieved by mainstreaming gender equality into all aspects of ILO work. The Bureau for Gender Equality provides office-wide support to this process. The promotion of gender equality is reflected in the ILO programme and budgets for which the entire organization shares responsibility. The overall strategy is to intensify the mainstreaming of gender equality into all ILO programmes, including Decent Work Country Programmes  and national poverty reduction policies and strategies. The ILO supports constituents in this process through the collaboration of its gender specialists and gender focal points.

The ILO approach to gender mainstreaming is two-pronged and based on analysis that considers the specific and often different needs and interests of women and men in the world of work. On the one hand, awareness of these different needs and interests is integrated into all policies, programmes, projects and institutional structures and procedures. On the other hand, especially where inequalities are extreme or deeply entrenched, they are addressed through gender-specific measures involving women and men, either separately or together or through measures designed explicitly to overcome inequalities. Mainstreaming can include gender-specific actions where necessary.

The organization has developed a single, overarching Action Plan for Gender Equality 2010-15 , which operationalizes the 1999 ILO policy on gender equality. The Action Plan also facilitates effective and gender responsive delivery of the Decent Work Agenda, in line with the June 2009 Resolution concerning Gender Equality at the Heart of Decent Work. All five ILO Regional Offices and the subregional and country offices have developed their own gender policies and strategies adapted to regional and national contexts. This is to more effectively promote gender equality in respective programmes, particularly in Decent Work Country Programmes  .

An integrated approach to gender equality and decent work

The Decent Work Agenda  is cross-sectoral in nature and therefore implemented effectively through integrated and coordinated policy and institutional interventions. This covers different strategic objectives, such as promotion of fundamental rights, employment creation, social protection, and social dialogue. An integrated approach to gender equality and decent work form part of this approach. This means, for instance, enhancing equal employment opportunities through measures that also aim to improve women’s access to education, skills training and healthcare, while taking women’s role in the care economy adequately into account, for instance through work–family balance measures and providing workplace-level incentives for the provision of childcare and parental leave.–en/index.htm

European Union

Gender equality strategy

Human Rights Environment and Climate Change



In its 5th Assessment Report (2014), the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) unequivocally confirmed that climate change is real and that human-made greenhouse gas emissions are its primary cause. The report identified the increasing frequency of extreme weather events and natural disasters, rising sea-levels, floods, heat waves, droughts, desertification, water shortages, and the spread of tropical and vector-borne diseases as some of the adverse impacts of climate change. These phenomena directly and indirectly threaten the full and effective enjoyment of a range of human rights by people throughout the world, including the rights to life, water and sanitation, food, health, housing, self-determination, culture and development.

The negative impacts of climate change are disproportionately borne by persons and communities already in disadvantageous situations owing to geography, poverty, gender, age, disability, cultural or ethnic background, among others, that have historically contributed the least to greenhouse gas emissions. In particular, persons, communities and even entire States that occupy and rely upon low-lying coastal lands, tundra and Arctic ice, arid lands, and other delicate ecosystems and at risk territories for their housing and subsistence face the greatest threats from climate change.

The negative impacts caused by climate change are global, contemporaneous and subject to increase exponentially according to the degree of climate change that ultimately takes place. Climate change, therefore, requires a global rights-based response. The Human Rights Council (HRC), its special procedures mechanisms, and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights have sought to bring renewed attention to human rights and climate change through a series of resolutions, reports, and activities on the subject, and by advocating for a human rights based approach to climate change. The Preamble of the Paris Agreement to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change makes it clear that all States “should, when taking action to address climate change, respect, promote and consider their respective obligations on human rights”.

OHCHR’s Key Messages on Human Rights and Climate Change

OHCHR’s Key Messages on Human Rights and Climate Change highlight the essential obligations and responsibilities of States and other duty-bearers (including businesses) and their implications for climate change-related agreements, policies, and actions. In order to foster policy coherence and help ensure that climate change mitigation and adaptation efforts are adequate, sufficiently ambitious, non-discriminatory and otherwise compliant with human rights obligations, the following considerations should be reflected in all climate action.

  1. To mitigate climate change and to prevent its negative human rights impacts
  2. To ensure that all persons have the necessary capacity to adapt to climate change
  3. To ensure accountability and effective remedy for human rights harms caused by climate change
  4. To mobilize maximum available resources for sustainable, human rights-based development
  5. International cooperation
  6. To ensure equity in climate action
  7. To guarantee that everyone enjoys the benefits of science and its applications
  8. To protect human rights from business harms
  9. To guarantee equality and non-discrimination
  10. 10.To ensure meaningful and informed participation

These messages are reflected in OHCHR’s submission, Understanding Human Rights and Climate Change, to the 21st Conference of Parties to the UNFCCC (27 November 2015).

Advocating a Rights-Based Approach to Climate Change

The HRC has highlighted the importance of addressing human rights in the context of on-going discussions related to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The Council has repeatedly made available the results of its debates, studies and activities to the sessions of the Conference of Parties (COP) to the UNFCCC. The outcome document of the 2012 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development “The Future We Want” reaffirms the importance of human rights for achieving sustainable development.

Prior to this Conference, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights emphasized the responsibilities that all States have to ensure full coherence between efforts to advance the green economy, on the one hand, and their human rights obligations on the other, in an open letter to all Permanent Missions in New York and in Geneva. The Office also submitted key messages for the Conference. The negotiation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development provided further opportunities to advocate integration of human rights within the framework of international efforts to promote sustainable development; however, the most critical negotiation, to date, on the subject of climate change, that of a legally binding agreement to limit climate change, is that of COP21 of the UNFCCC (December 2015).

With an eye toward this discussion, OHCHR and the Mary Robinson Foundation – Climate Justice co-hosted a Climate Justice Dialogue in Geneva on 9 February 2015. The dialogue brought together representatives of delegates to the UNFCCC and the HRC, experts, and key civil society actors to discuss human rights and climate change. One outcome of this meeting was the Geneva Pledge for Human Rights in Climate Action, a voluntary initiative led by Costa Rica and initially supported by 18 countries from diverse regions. In the pledge, which is still open and now has over 30 signatories, countries undertake to facilitate the sharing of best practices and knowledge between human rights and climate experts at a national level.

Outlining a Rights-Based Approach to Climate Change

As the HRC has stressed, it is critical to apply a human rights-based approach to guide global policies and measures designed to address climate change. The essential attributes to a human rights-based approach are the following:

  • As policies and programmes are formulated, the main objective should be to fulfil human rights.
  • The rights-holders and their entitlements must be identified as well as the corresponding duty-bearers and their obligations in order to find ways to strengthen the capacities of rights-holders to make their claims and of duty-bearers to meet their obligations.
  • Principles and standards derived from international human rights law – especially the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the core universal human rights treaties, should guide all policies and programming in all phases of the process.

The Universal Declaration on Human Rights, the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action, the Declaration on the Right to Development, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the UN Common Understanding of a Human Rights-Based Approach to Development Cooperation and other instruments emphasize that human rights principles like universality and inalienability, indivisibility, interdependence and interrelatedness, non-discrimination and equality, participation and inclusion, accountability, and the rule of law must guide development. They outline a conceptual framework for development that has international human rights standards at its centre and the ultimate objective of fulfilling all human rights for all. The rights-based approach analyses obligations, inequalities and vulnerabilities, and seeks to redress discriminatory practices and unjust distributions of power. It anchors plans, policies and programmes in a system of rights, and corresponding obligations established by international law.

Human rights obligations apply to the goals and commitments of States in the area of climate change and require that climate actions should focus on protecting the rights of those most vulnerable to climate change. Human rights principles articulated in the Declaration on the Right to Development and other instruments call for such climate action to be both individual and collective and for it to benefit the most vulnerable. The UNFCCC further elaborates upon the need for equitable climate action calling for States to address climate change in accordance with their common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities in order to benefit present and future generations.

Existing State commitments require international cooperation, including financial, technological and capacity-building support, to realise low-carbon, climate-resilient, and sustainable development, while also rapidly reducing greenhouse gas emissions.  Only by integrating human rights in climate actions and policies and empowering people to participate in policy formulation can States promote sustainability and ensure the accountability of all duty-bearers for their actions. This, in turn, will promote consistency, policy coherence and the enjoyment of all human rights. Such an approach should be part of any climate change adaptation or mitigation measures, such as the promotion of alternative energy sources, forest conservation or tree-planting projects, resettlement schemes and others. Affected individuals and communities must participate, without discrimination, in the design and implementation of these projects. States should cooperate to address the global effects of climate change on the enjoyment of human rights around the world in a manner that emphasizes climate justice and equity.

A human rights-based approach also calls for accountability and transparency. It is not only States that must be held accountable for their contributions to climate change but also businesses which have the responsibility to respect human rights and do no harm in the course of their activities. States should make their adaptation and mitigation plans publicly available, and be transparent in the manner in which such plans are developed and financed. Accurate and transparent measurements of greenhouse gas emissions, climate change and its impacts, including human rights impacts, will be essential for successful rights-based climate change mitigation and adaptation efforts. Because of the impacts of climate change on human rights, States must effectively address climate change in order to honour their commitment to respect, protect and fulfil human rights for all. Since climate change mitigation and adaptation measures can have human rights impacts; all climate change-related actions must also respect, protect, promote and fulfil human rights standards.

Human Rights and Business

A Business Reference Guide 


Business increasingly recognises the importance of human rights. Over 5,000 companies across 130 countries are signatories to the UN Global Compact and have committed themselves to the Global Compact’s ten principles, including six that address human rights and labour standards. A 2006 survey of Global Fortune 500 companies found that nine out of ten companies responding to the survey reported having human rights principles or management practices in place. More than half of the FTSE 100 listed companies have adopted a human rights policy. Meanwhile, the processof clarifying and operationalising business and humanrights is being led by the United Nations Secretary General’s Special Representative on Business and Human Rights (the Special Representative)

The purpose of this publication is to contribute to this process of clarification by explaining universally recognised human rights in a way that makes sense to busi- ness. The publication also aims to illustrate, through the use of case studies and actions, how human rights are relevant in a corporate context and how human rights issues can be managed. The ‘Navigating the Guide’ card is provided to help managers make the best use of this reference publication.

This introduction briefly outlines the concept of ‘human rights’ and the main categories of rights, as well as the relationship between corporations and human rights. The aim is to give company managers a fuller under- standing of what their stakeholders – including employees, shareholders, customers, local communities, civil society, governments and business partners – increasingly expect of them, both in terms of strategic policy and implementation at the local level.

“The benefits of our human rights programme have so far been about reputation and the assurance process. But they are going to become more and more about the business growth agenda and commercial opportunity as well,

giving us access to new markets, new suppliers and, in particular, new consumers.”

Neil Makin, Cadbury-Schweppes

Business and human rights

Business is a major contributor to economic growth around the world and, as an essential vehicle for human progress, it helps underpin global human rights. An in- creasing number of companies are demonstrating their respect for human rights by working to embed interna- tional human rights standards within their core business practices. Many companies also make a substantive contribution by supporting projects that foster human rights, such as the enhancement of local economic development, schemes to distribute essential drugs, or programmes that provide training in democracy and the rule of law.

List of tolls for businesses

Human Rights and Social Security

Human Rights and Migration

An estimated 258 million people, approximately 3 per cent of the world’s population, currently live outside their country of origin, many of whose migration is characterised by varying degrees of compulsion. Notwithstanding that many migrant choose to leave their countries of origin each year, an increasing number of migrants are forced to leave their homes for a complex combination of reasons, including poverty, lack of access to healthcare, education, water, food, housing, and the consequences of environmental degradation and climate change, as well as the more ‘traditional’ drivers of forced displacement such as persecution and conflict.

While migration is a positive and empowering experience for many, it is increasingly clear that a lack of human rights-based migration governance at the global, regional and national levels is leading to the routine violation of migrants’ rights in transit, at international borders, and in the countries they migrate to.

While migrants are not inherently vulnerable, they can be vulnerable to human rights violations. Migrants in an irregular situation tend to be disproportionately vulnerable to discrimination, exploitation and marginalization, often living and working in the shadows, afraid to complain, and denied their human rights and fundamental freedoms.

Human rights violations against migrants can include a denial of civil and political rights such as arbitrary detention, torture, or a lack of due process, as well as economic, social and cultural rights such as the rights to health, housing or education. The denial of migrants’ rights is often closely linked to discriminatory laws and to deep-seated attitudes of prejudice or xenophobia.

Human Rights and Youth Policies

What are the human rights of youth?

Youth is a period of transition from dependence to independence and autonomy. The transition occurs at different times in relation to different rights, for example with regards to education, employment, and sexual and reproductive health, and among others depends on the socioeconomic context.

Young people face discrimination and obstacles to the enjoyment of their rights by virtue of their age, limiting their potential. The human rights of youth therefore refers to the full enjoyment of fundamental rights and freedoms by young people. Promoting these rights entails addressing the specific challenges and barriers faced.

What challenges and discrimination do young people face?

Pursuant to Human Rights Council Resolution 35/14, the Office of the High Commissioner for HumanRights published a report on youth and human rights. The report documented the discrimination and some of the challenges for young people in accessing civil, political, social, economic and cultural rights. Examples include:

 Participation: Youth are under-represented in political institutions, with less than 2% of parliamentarians worldwide aged under 30. Moreover, the age of candidacy for national parliaments, and especially for higher office, is not always aligned with the minimum voting age.

 School to work transition: Young people worldwide are three times more likely than adults to be unemployed. Where youth are employed, they often face precarious working conditions (e.g. zero-hour contracts) and thus lack quality jobs and access to social protection. Additionally, working poverty disproportionately affects youth, with 145 million young workers living in poverty. In some cases, youth poverty is linked to sub-minimum youth wages which go against the principle of equal pay for work of equal value.

 Access to health, including Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights: In some countries, parental notification is required for young people to access sexual and reproductive health services, such as contraceptive goods and services. Where information on sexual and reproductive health is not provided, adolescents’ ability to take measures to prevent unwanted pregnancy or sexually transmitted infections is hindered; adolescent girls and young women aged 15-19 account for 11% of all births.

 Conscientious objection to military service: Despite a growing body of international jurisprudence and recommendations from the international human rights system, some States do not recognize or fully implement the right to conscientious objection to military service in practice.

 Youth in vulnerable situations: Young migrants including asylum seekers and refugees, young people in conflict with the law and youth with disabilities face additional challenges due to their specific situation. Age is one characteristic that often intersects with, adds to and multiplies discrimination based on other grounds, thus preventing many young people from enjoying equal opportunities and substantive equality.

      1 Available at:

 Human rights of youth

What can Member States do?

In its report on youth and human rights, OHCHR recommended to the Human Rights Council that it consider measures that would most effectively advance the rights of young people at the international level, with options including:

1. Mainstreaming the human rights of youth through existing mechanisms, policies and programmes;

2. Creating a special procedure mandate under the auspices of the Council;

3. Considering the possibility of an international instrument;

4. Introducing a mechanism that would ensure permanent, structured youth participation in the

Council’s work, such as an annual youth forum as an ongoing component of the Council.

Member States can also take measures at the national level to ensure the protection and realization of young people’s rights, while involving youth organisations or youth-led structures in the development, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of policies, programmes or strategies affecting young people’s rights, and in decision-making more broadly. Measures may include, for example:

Participation: Enacting or amending legislation to align the minimum voting age and the minimum age of candidacy to run for office. More broadly, States should guarantee an enabling and safe environment for meaningful youth participation, which fully respects the right to freedom of opinion and expression, including the right to access information, and the rights of freedom of peaceful assembly and of association.

Detailed recommendations on enhancing participation are available in the Guidelines for States on the effective implementation of the right to participate in public affairs2 and the report of the first session of the UN Forum on Human Rights, Democracy and the Rule of Law, which focused on the

Employment & social protection: Ensuring access to social protection for all workers, regardless of form of employment, and abolishing sub-minimum youth wages where they exist. Detailed

Access to health: Introducing scientifically based and age-appropriate comprehensive sexuality education into curricula at all levels, and ensuring access to sexual and reproductive health services without parental consent.

Conscientious objection: Providing a non-punitive and non-discriminatory alternative service for conscientious objectors, and to refrain from prosecuting them.

In addition to the above, Member States are encouraged to enact legislation prohibiting discrimination on the grounds of age in all areas of life, and to provide straightforward, accessible mechanisms for reporting discrimination and seeking redress.

2 (based on A/HRC/39/28) 3 HRC 34/46

4 Available at:

International Labour Standards relevant to youth employment–en/index.htm

Youth employment

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  • More than 64 million unemployed youth worldwide and 145 million young workers living in poverty: youth employment remains a global challenge and a top policy concern

    The ILO has had a long-standing commitment to promote decent work for youth. Supported by a unique tripartite structure that brings together the key players in the world of work, ILO’s activities on youth employment span over advocacy, knowledge development and dissemination, policy and technical advice and capacity building services.

Youth Employment Databases and Platforms–en/index.htm

Decent Jobs for Youth

What works for youth Employment Building The Evidence Base On Youth Employment Programmes

YouthPOL – ILO’s database on Youth Employment Policies and Legislation

YouthPOL is an on-line inventory of current policies and legislation affecting youth employment. 

YouthPOL provides policy makers, researchers and practitioners with relevant and up-to-date information on policy responses for youth employment. Our aim is to contribute to the promotion of decent work for youth through the expansion and consolidation of the knowledge base on youth employment and legislation–en/index.htm

EU Youth Strategy

European Youth Goals

×Thank you for visiting the Youth website. The majority of pages are currently only available in English. However, the translation of the site into French, German, Spanish and Italian is ongoing. We will update pages as soon as these translations become available.

The aim of the 6th cycle of the EU Youth Dialogue – Youth in Europe: What’s next? which took place in 2017/2018 – was to collect voices of young people and contribute together to creating the EU Youth Strategy 2019-2027. As a result, eleven European Youth Goals were developed. These goals reflect the views of European youth and represent the vision of those active in the EU Youth Dialogue:

  1. Connecting EU with Youth
  2. Equality of All Genders
  3. Inclusive Societies
  4. Information & Constructive Dialogue
  5. Mental Health & Wellbeing
  6. Moving Rural Youth Forward
  7. Quality Employment for All
  8. Quality Learning
  9. Space and Participation for All
  10. 10.Sustainable Green Europe
  11. 11.Youth Organisations & European Programmes

The EU Youth Strategy should contribute to realising this vision of young people by mobilising EU level policy instruments as well as actions at national, regional and local level by all stakeholders.

Find out more

Human Rights and the International Labour Organisation