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Nils Muižnieks: My fears for Europe’s youth

Human rights commissioner Nils Muižnieks fears young people are losing their hope in the future, their faith in politics and their belief in the European project due to the impact of austerity measures.

Writing today in his latest ‘Comment’ article, Muižnieks declares: “Young people have been one of the groups hardest hit by the economic crisis in Europe, with youth unemployment being the most common pathology of many countries implementing austerity measures,” he states in his latest ‘Comment’ article.

“However, it is not only the social and economic rights of young people that are being undermined, but also their right to equal treatment, their right to participation, and their place in society, and more broadly, in Europe.

“Due to chronic unemployment, many young people are losing hope in the future of their countries, their faith in the political elite, and their belief in Europe.”

The Commissioner for Human Rights reveals that in March 2014, the youth unemployment rate (under 25 years) was 22.8% in the 28 members of the Council of Europe that are also European Union countries.

The highest levels were recorded in Greece (56.8%), Spain (53.9%) and Croatia (49.0%). The youth unemployment rate in the EU was more than twice as high as the general average rate of 10.5%. Among other European countries, youth unemployment exceeded the 50% rate in 2013 in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia and “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia” according to the International Labour Organisation.

“A rights-based approach should replace the current neglect of young people in discussions about the crisis,” Muižnieks adds.

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