World Vision International
Press Release • Thursday, September 21st 2017

First ever young people consultation to discuss the much needed peace in Europe

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  • Over a quarter of the world’s children are living in countries affected by conflict, crisis and disaster
  • Young peacebuilders will shape EU peace and security agenda  

Next week in Brussels several organisations will host the first ever gathering of young peacebuilders. Children and young people will shape a forward looking agenda for the European Union and its leaders to ensure the implementation of the UN Security Council ground-breaking Resolution 2250 and the continuation of youth peacebuilding in Europe.

As a follow up to UN Security Council Resolution 2250 on Youth, Peace and Security, European External Action Service, World Vision, Search for Common Ground, United Network of Young Peacebuilders, European Youth Forum, Anna Lindt Foundation and UNFPA are organising the first ever regional consultation on Youth, Peace and Security in Europe on 25-27 September in Brussels.

Travelling all the way from Kosovo to represent his peers and his community, Kujtim said: “I was 12 when I started the journey of a peace builder. I will keep the memories of the Kosovo war in my head forever, but I don’t want to see that being repeated and other people getting hurt. Today, after lots of experiences, I'm ‘healed’, and I strongly believe that nobody was born to be a bad person. That’s why I want to share my experience and contribute so that violence, racism, prejudice and discrimination can be minimised.”

Participants will exchange experiences, programmatic practices and formulate recommendations for key decision-makers. The recommendations will also support the development of the UN commissioned Progress Study on the youth’s positive contribution to peace processes and conflict resolution.

 “More than a quarter of the world’s children are living in countries affected by conflict, crisis and disaster, and the number being forced to fight in adult wars is soaring,” says Justin Byworth, World Vision Brussels’ Executive Director. “World Vision hopes this opportunity for children and young people to raise their voices for peace will bring about meaningful change for all children affected by disasters”.

On top of next week’s consultation, world leaders are rallying this week in New York for the UN General Assembly annual meeting. It’s the time for them to turn words into action for children affected by conflicts around the world.

In Iraqi Kurdistan, boys and girls who fled Mosul are deeply stressed, but there isn’t enough funding for programmes to help them heal from their experiences, let alone begin the reconstruction effort.

“Our social workers are dealing with young girls who were forced to marry ISIL fighters or become sex slaves. They recently found a five-year-old girl who’d seen her family killed and been abused in this way. She was suffering post-traumatic stress disorder and constantly trying to dig holes and bury herself. She would scream if anyone touched her,” says Ian Dawes, World Vision’s Response Manager in Iraq. “At one of World Vision’s child friendly spaces, I saw a young boy drawing a picture of his father being decapitated.”

ENDS

Notes to editors

The regional consultation on Youth, Peace and Security in Europe will bring together over 50 young peacebuilders from the 28 Member States of the European Union, the four Member States of the European Free Trade Association and six countries from the Western-Balkans.

World Vision is a Christian relief, development and advocacy organisation dedicated to working with children, families and communities worldwide to reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice. It works in close to 100 countries in most regions of the world including Latin America and the Caribbean, Europe, Africa, the Middle East and the Asia Pacific Region.

World Vision Brussels’ office represents World Vision members in 12 European countries, including 10 EU member states, as well as the wider international World Vision partnership.

For more information or an interview, please contact Ludovic Wahis, Policy and Communications Officer, World Vision Brussels & EU Representation, +32 (0) 2 274 18 67, Ludovic_Wahis@wvi.org