Do young people have special rights?

Young people must be included from birth. A society that cuts itself off from its youth severs its lifeline.

~ Kofi Annan

11-year-old journalist Sheila Carol Gashumba at the CHOGM 2007 media centre, Kampala, Uganda. Should young people have special rights and their own convention? This is a difficult question to answer. There is no single document called a ‘Convention on Youth Rights’ that you can turn to for a list of youth rights that have been agreed to and are being protected by all governments.

Recent attempts to develop a youth rights charter or convention have proved controversial in many governments, some youth organisations and some human rights groups. Some people argue that these rights are already defined and protected in other declarations. Others argue that they deserve re-iteration.