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Overcoming youth marginalisation

The Human Rights Youth Organization (H.R.Y.O) in partnership with the European Economic and Social Committee and the Intergroup of the European Parliament on the Rights of the Child held a public conference on sharing good practices to prevent the marginalisation of young people in vulnerable situations, proposing as one of the solution between all the : “International human mobility – Charter of Palermo”

Can the experiences and good practices carried out in two small European municipalities make an important contribution to the prevention of radicalism and youth crime? To answer this question, the municipalities of Palermo and Mechelen meet with the European institutions, highlighting the results achieved in their territory

From Palermo, the Mayor Leoluca Orlando commented: “Also this initiatives confirms that as a culture of welcoming and solidarity, Palermo now shares those values. Values that become everyday practice not only of the institutions but also of many NGOs and civil society actors who, as HRYO has done today, make themselves ambassadors of it in Europe and in the world. “

In Italy, many young people living in a state of exclusion and marginalization are exploited by criminal networks while in Belgium young people in vulnerable conditions become an easy target for terrorist organizations and criminal networks. Using examples from Belgium and Italy, this conference illustrated the problems young people face and the best practices used by civil society organizations involved in this field. The outcome of this conference can be a useful tool to address these issues at Community level.

“Combating marginalization of young people should be a priority not only for the EU, but also for national and regional authorities, as well as for all civil society organizations” –  At the opening the conference, the President of the Economic and Social Committee-EESC, George Dassis stated (Pictured).

Marco Farina, President of H.R.Y.O. “Today we are witnessing the emergence of new models of intervention for young people in marginalized conditions, we hope that events like these can contribute more to the meeting of all those European-level realities. Young people are not just the future, but the present of our society. The model we are carrying, given the same problems in each European city, is based on a simple principle: “Encouraging the meeting” between different cultures, places, and quarters. This also means favoring the human plan by involving citizens who animate the territories. By comparison, we have seen how our local realities are very similar not only to the problems but also and above all to the virtuous phenomena that have led to tangible improvements in our territories. Being able to break down any form of prejudice, not just racial but of class and category in each country, is the key to preventing the phenomenon of marginalization and criminalization of young people.”

Bart Somers, Major of Mechelen-Belgio “By giving a sense of belonging to the city, by promoting social cohesion and by all integrating in diversity, we can counter the threat of extremism and consequential violent radicalism. Putting our youth at the center of an inclusive society is the best prevention against marginalization which often leads to radicalisation: we need to be living together, not next to each other.” –An extract from Mrs Caterina Chinnici MEP S&D- Member of the Commission for Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs – Co-chair of the European Parliament’s Children Rights Intergroup. “Modern society offers young people many opportunities – said Caterina Chinnici – but also poses them to many more dangers. It is indispensable, then, to avoid any form of marginalization, because above all the main problems arise. The key element is culture, in the sense of knowledge that is presupposed of freedom of choice. Therefore, education through family, school and adult example, all reference models. Thus it is possible to stimulate the sense of collectivity in young people. The European Union could do its part by encouraging and enhancing good practices, which are not lacking. Emblematic, for example, peer education started a few years ago in the prison in Catania where, to promote integration, young Italian prisoners have been studied in the culture of foreign detainees. “

Concludes Hilde Vautmans, MEP ALDE, and Member of the European Parliament’s Children Rights Intergroup. “We need a European action plan in order to prevent and counter marginalisation and radicalisation of young people. In this framework we should focus on the issue of foreign fighters and address the complexity of all specific factors and causes, such as poverty, discrimination and intolerance. You can find good practices in several countries. We must share those practices and cooperate! Furthermore, special attention for children in migration is vital. They are the most vulnerable and are easily victims of organised crime, human trafficking and recruitment. If we do not fulfil our obligations towards them, we do harm to a whole generation and beyond”.

Henry Borzi

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