Editorial: Safe spaces for youth

August has a lot of historical significance for us. In the 70s, the nation saw the devastation wrought by the Plaza Miranda bombing shortly before the elections.

In the 80’s, August was the month when charismatic political leader Senator Ninoy Aquino was shot at the Tarmac giving impetus to the growing opposition that finally led to the downfall of the late Pres. Ferdinand Marcos.

August is also the time when the nations of the world look at the capability of the youth to help in the transformation of societies. The United Nations marks August 12 as International Youth Day to give the world an “opportunity to recognize the potential of the youth, to celebrate their achievements, and plan for ways to better engage young people to successfully take action in the development of their societies. It presents a unique opportunity for all stakeholders to rally together to ensure that young people are included in decision-making at all levels.”

It has always been the youth who have been in the forefront of great changes in history. With technology added to their arsenal, they can make a greater contribution in helping change the world into one that is kinder to the next generation.

According to the UN, there are 1.8 billion young people between the ages of 10 and 24 in the world, but 1 in 10 of the world’s children live in conflict zones and 24 million of them are out of school. Political instability, labor market challenges and limited space for political and civic participation have led to increasing isolation of youth in societies.

The theme for this year is “Safe Spaces for Youth” which underlines the need for safe spaces “where they can come together, engage in activities related to their diverse needs and interests, participate in decision making processes and freely express themselves.”

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres in his message, underscores that peace, economic dynamism, social justice and tolerance depends on tapping into the power of the youth.

Posted in Opinion