Statement by Vassily Nebenzia, Permanent Representative of Russia to the UN, at the open VTC of UNSC Member-States on Youth, Peace and Security
We would like to thank Secretary-General for his presentation of youth, peace and security report. We are also grateful to Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth, Ms. Wickramanayake, as well as other briefers – Ms. Olla Al-Sakkaf and Mr. Gatwal Augustine Gatkouth for sharing their views.
It goes without saying that youth has a great potential and an important role to play in the development of society, inter alia through meaningful participation in a wide range of peace related tasks, such as resolution of conflicts, peacebuilding and sustaining peace. The need for the constructive engagement of youth in such activities aimed at maintaining peace and security in situations of armed conflict is also reflected in Security Council resolutions 2250 and 2419.
At the same time involvement of young people in any political activity should be meaningful and based on their professional knowledge and skills, rather than driven by desire to produce beautiful statistical figures or to fill up certain quota, pertaining to age or gender. Moreover, young people shouldn’t be drawn into any political activities until they reach legal age.
The task of promoting positive image of youth should not overshadow real challenges we have to address as members of the Security Council. It is well-known that, unfortunately, young people are especially vulnerable to radical ideology. Their search for self-identification against the background of lack of life wisdom, or experience, or education, as well as strive to find their place in society are often exploited by extremist and terrorist groups in order to involve youth in illegal activities.
In this regard the United Nations antiterrorism mechanisms could and should be useful to help the young people by promoting stronger cooperation of international community in shielding young people from the influence of terrorist and radical ideologies, cutting off the channels through which such groups incite young people, combating use of Internet by terrorist groups for recruitment of youngsters.
Special attention should be also paid to the phenomenon of meddling in internal affairs of sovereign States by external stakeholders through indoctrinating and brain-washing young people, in particular with the aim to shape domestic political landscape or overthrow legitimate authorities under the disguise of promoting democracy or human rights. Any external support for youth should not trigger unrest or protests.
We are convinced in importance of promotion of a culture of peace and tolerance among young people. For this goal, each State has to create favorable conditions to help young people realize their full potential and be well integrated into society and its social, economical and political activities. Providing youth with high-quality education and employment opportunities are important steps in this regard. It is also vital to encourage young people to participate in socially meaningful activities, help them improve their skills and talents, increase their self-confidence and self-esteem, make them support the concept of peaceful coexistence.
In Russia we pay special attention to the support of youth organizations and promotion of intercultural and interreligious dialogue among youth. The Russian Federation is doing a lot for helping young people to achieve these aims. They are at the core of national policy on youth until 2025, adopted by the Government in 2014 and implemented at the federal, regional and municipal levels. Apart from pursuing these aims we pay particular attention to prevent younger generation from the spread of radical and terrorist ideology.
We are also holding numerous relevant seminars and fora at the national and international levels. In particular, in October 2017 we were pleased to host the nineteenth World Youth Festival in Sochi, which assembled over 20,000 people from more than 180 countries.
I thank you.