Youth workshop in Tunis (May 2018)
From May 2nd to 5th 2018, OHCHR organized a regional workshop in Tunis on the role of youth faith actors in promoting human rights in the Middle East and North Africa region.
25 participants from Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq, Mauritania, Morocco, Sudan, Tunisia, Qatar and Yemen attended the workshop, including young human rights activists, religious actors, women human rights defenders, human rights educators and government officials.
They presented several youth-led initiatives from across the region, for example to promote tolerance in schools; social media initiatives; promoting minority rights through advocacy with United Nations mechanisms; youth entrepreneurship to combat radicalisation; and reintegration of former youth who had joined violent extremist groups. Three experts also shared their experiences, challenges and lessons learned in drafting and implementing the Rabat Plan of Action as well as the Beirut Declaration and its 18 commitments on “Faith for Rights”.
Through an interactive role play exercise, each participant briefly presented the impact they want to achieve through a project idea. Subsequently, similar project ideas were discussed in four groups with a view to developping the main components in the following areas: (a) providing capacity-building for faith actors;
(b) founding a regional coalition to counter religious violent extremism and radicalisation; (c) developping an electronic platform to collect and share resources, best practices and lessons learned; and (d) capacity-building for staff in the administration of justice who interact with violent extremists. Furthermore, some standalone project ideas were discussed, such as a mobile phone application to educate children and adolescents on “Faith for Rights” through artistic and creative activities or to advocate for the creation of a new mandate of a Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and Youth.
The participants of the youth workshop in Tunis made the following main recommendations for follow-up:
- Youth in the Middle East and North Africa region should be considered
as a key partner in promoting tolerance
and combatting radicalisation.
- OHCHR should strengthen its technical and financial support to youth-led projects.
- OHCHR should also lead the development of capacity-building and training tools, especially for faith-based actors.