Reflections on the ICM 2013 Youth Day

Delegates taking part in one of the main ICM challenges. (c) Amnesty International

Delegates taking part in one of the main ICM challenges. (c) Amnesty International

Written by Victoria Gronwald, Youth Delegate Amnesty International Switzerland,

What does it mean to represent 20’000 young people at the ICM? We had to ask ourselves this question when we counted that for each of us 25 youth delegates there are around 20’000 Amnesty youth members. This seems like a lot, but actually, as shown by the State of the Movement report, the number of young members is decreasing. And also the number of young people forming part of sections’ and structures’ ICM delegations has diminished since the last International Council Meeting in 2011. What are the reasons for this? Are they external or is the movement maybe missing opportunities to reach out to young people?

This was just one of the topics we discussed during the Youth Day on the 17th of August. Next to really interesting meetings with IEC-member Zuska Kulinska and Secretary General Salil Shetty we discussed where and how youth can influence the discussions during this meeting. That was when I really realized what Sarah from the IS meant when she said that we should always think about from which perspective we are talking: Are we saying this as a section’s delegate, as a youth delegate, as an activist or as an individual? And surely we can think of even more roles that we all play here.

In the end what is most important I think is that we young people here are not looked at “only” as youth but that we are taken seriously and that we can contribute to the discussions on the same level as everybody else. Like this we can hopefully bring the topic of how to engage more young people on the agenda. If we miss the opportunity to do that, we are losing a huge potential of creative, enthusiastic and long-term human rights activism that will eventually lead to human rights change in the world. And this, we should not forget among all the necessary and important discussions on organisational and financial issues and governance, is what Amnesty International is about.

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