BORDERLESS YOUTH AT THE UNESCAP when youths speak, the world must listen

business April 18, 2019

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To invest in the future is to invest in today’s youths. at UNESCAP Bangkok, three teams from the “Borderless Youth Forum” have presented their findings on three important issues: social reintegration for ex-prisoners, gender-based violence and access to justice for vulnerable peoples.

This was the side-event of the 6th UNESCAP Asia-Pacific Forum Sustainable Development, “Redesigning Youth: Showcase of the TIJ-UNODC Borderless Youth Forum” – a collaboration between the Thailand Institute of Justice (TIJ) and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) Regional Office for Southeast Asia and the Pacific (ROSEAP).

Borderless Youth is a program designed by TIJ and uses the “Design Across Border” technology from Stanford d.school. Here, 162 young people from 10 countries regionwide came together to find solutions to the three issues as mentioned, under the guidance of over 20 experts.

At the UNESCAP, three teams consisting of 18 youths will present their findings, demonstrate their collaborative methods and relate their experiences of working together with other youths from diverse cultural backgrounds to find solutions and inspirations.

Executive director of TIJ, Prof. Dr. Kittipong Kittayarak said, “We must take the Borderless Youth Forum onto the international arena.”

He also stated the importance of investing in young people in order to make changes in society for the better, in accordance with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals 16 (SDG 16): to promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels. 

“We are training the future leaders of tomorrow and giving them a stage where they can make impact,” said Prof. Dr. Kittipong.

Today, one of the concerns to society is ex-prisoners returning to the life of crime. As such, the youths collaborated on how the criminal justice system must 

incorporate social reintegration programs so that ex-prisoners would be rehabilitated and given the vocational skills to reenter society as productive and law-abiding citizens.

Furthermore, gender-based violence is a problem worldwide, but the criminal justice system must take care not to further abuse victims the through the lack of gender sensitivity. Therefore, the youths were also tasked to tackle the issue of justice for victims of gender-based violence, in accordance with TIJ’s research papers, Women as Justice Makers and Towards Gender-Responsive Criminal Justice.

Finally, the principles of rule of law are to ensure peace, justice, equality and that “no one is left behind”. Therefore, the youths also examined solutions to vulnerable peoples that lack access to justice, such as women, children, minorities, persons with disabilities and migrants.

“When young people make a stance, the adults must listen to them,” said Prof. Dr. Kittipong.