Samarkand Human Rights Web-Forum on Youth 2020: “Global Solidarity, Sustainable Development and Human Rights” was successfully held on August 12-13, 2020. Ambassador Tuula Yrjölä, Director of the OSCE Centre for Conflict Prevention, Officer in Charge in the absence of the OSCE Secretary General gave an interview to “Dunyo” Information Agency correspondent.
Ambassador Yrjölä, you addressed the opening ceremony of the 2020 Samarkand Human Rights Web-Forum on Youth this week. What was your impression about the Forum?
It was a pleasure to greet participants of the Forum online – I regret that I was not able to attend in person. As a former Ambassador of Finland to Uzbekistan I would have loved to re-visit Samarkand.
I was impressed by the level, scope and number of the participants. The Forum provided a unique platform to engage participants of various nationalities and organizations to share their best practices and knowledge.
The high-level participation demonstrated that the agenda continues to gain momentum globally and that there is wide recognition of the need to engage young women and men in promoting comprehensive security.
I congratulate the Government of Uzbekistan for this timely initiative and the organizers for achieving their goal to make the Forum an inclusive, intergenerational event and success in bringing the international community together on this important topic. The online meeting showed what can be achieved by transforming challenges into opportunities, even under the current difficult circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The National Human Rights Centre of Uzbekistan is currently working on a “Samarkand Resolution”. What do you think about this outcome of the Forum?
The most important thing, in my view, is that the Forum raised awareness about the topic and enabled participants to share good practices that show continued recognition of the role that young people play in all the three dimensions of security. As I said in my opening address, engaging youth is not just about inclusion, it is also about sustainability of peace and security.
I am delighted that the Government of Uzbekistan plans to continue the tradition of holding the Forum on Human Rights every other year, and has already announced the next one in 2022, which participants can hopefully attend in person.
The “Samarkand Resolution” is an important document reflecting the spirit of the event and includes recommendations from youth and international organizations. The event also drew attention to the draft International Convention on Youth Rights – and Uzbekistan’s role in advancing the Convention.
How can the OSCE further support Uzbekistan’s youth agenda?
Through activities of the Project Co-ordinator in Uzbekistan (PCUz), the OSCE supports Uzbekistan’s youth agenda with a number of projects. For example, the PCUz, in co-operation with the University of World Economy and Diplomacy in Tashkent, will organize the first ever Model OSCE in Uzbekistan in September 2020. The event will provide future decision-makers insights into how multilateralism and international negotiation work.
The PCUz has also been actively supporting youth initiatives in digital and IT spheres. In 2021, the Office, together with the National Human Rights Centre of Uzbekistan, plans to launch a new initiative on developing an E-course on youth rights.
In addition, the Office is implementing a joint project with IT Park Uzbekistan and the Business Women’s Association in Uzbekistan in support of an initiative to develop a digital platform for self-employed young women and female entrepreneurs to sell their homemade products directly to customers.
In line with OSCE commitments and together with the Children’s Ombudsperson, they will support the development of a national strategy for crime prevention that will provide knowledge and best practices from the rest of the OSCE area.
Looking ahead, the OSCE is ready to continue the mutually beneficial collaboration with Uzbekistan. The jointly signed Road Map provides guidance for our activities. The OSCE already has a good set of commitments on youth, and participating States have recognized the role of youth in the implementation of OSCE commitments in all three dimensions of security, as well as in contributing to peaceful coexistence, dialogue, justice, trust and reconciliation. Continuing to promote the involvement of youth ensures comprehensive security, which is the ultimate goal of the OSCE. And we are glad to work on this together with Uzbekistan and all other participating States.