Statement of Youth to the World
We, the young people of the world, being under the age of 30, acknowledge the fact that, like all human persons, are created in the image and likeness of God, therefore we have inherent human dignity. We believe that youth is the “sculptress that shapes the whole of life” and as such is perhaps the most critical period in the development of the human person. Because we are the future of the human family, we strive to be an instrument for the common good and a force for positive renewal in society, and look forward to the continuation of the human family. We hereby adopt the following principles that are of fundamental importance to youth.
- Young people are relational beings, formed in the family – We are children of parents, and members of a family. We firmly agree with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights that the family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the state. We are relational persons, not autonomous individuals.
- Parents are the primary educators of young people – Access to education is critical to our formation and our long-term success. We firmly agree with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights that parents have the prior right to educate their children. Parents have the primary right, duty, and responsibility to educate us and should be assured of the proper assistance to provide for the moral, religious, intellectual, practical, and physical education of youth.
- Rights of Youth are Based on Their Evolving Capacities – The period of youth comprises a critical period of development, during which time our right to make decisions for ourselves evolves according to our maturity, and, according to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, must be balanced with the rights and duties of parents.
- Present Day Youth are Survivors – Many in the last two generations have been born into societies that do not protect their right to life before birth, and we consider ourselves survivors by virtue of our being born at all. Only by restoring appropriate legal protection, before as well as after birth, can there be true justice and peace in society.
- Youth are Participants in Development and Employment – Being the key to the future, young people should be at the center of development. Youth is the time for discerning talents that can be used for the rest of one’s life.
- Respecting Sexuality and Healthy Relationships – Youth, in learning about and encountering their natural sexuality, must be instilled with a sense of responsibility and self-respect. The full and proper expression of one’s sexuality can only be realized in the total life-long and selfless commitment founded on love and rooted in the natural institution of marriage.
- Gender is Not a Social Construct – Youth, like all members of the human family, are created male and female. While men and women are fully equal, they each have characteristics that are unique to their gender. Youth should strive for a proper understanding of masculinity and femininity, which are complimentary and form the foundation of the natural institution of marriage.
- Crimes Against the Dignity of Youth – All human persons, and most especially youth, should be protected from exploitation of all forms. In particular, youth should be protected from exploitation and trafficking for the purposes of forced-labor, sex trade, slavery, and from participation in military conflict, i.e. child soldiers.