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Capturing the voices of young people at the World Youth Conference

LEON, MEXICO, 26 August 2010 - Engaging with adolescents and young people and discussing pressing issues they face in their lives is the goal of UNICEF’s participation in the World Youth Conference in Mexico.

Approximately 106 million young people between 15 and 24 years of age live in Latin America and the Caribbean region and they account for about 20 per cent of the total population. Together with the government of Mexico, and partners from UN agencies, academic institutions and NGOs, UNICEF is organising multiple activities for young people from the region during the one week conference in Mexico.

Migration is a central issue for young people in Central America. There is evidence of an increasing numbers of children and adolescents migrating on their own, often in a desperate effort to rejoin missing parents. These children face a variety of serious risks.

During the conference, UNICEF screened Which Way Home, an award winning documentary on the topic of migration. After the screening, passionate young people expressed their views on the need to uphold the rights of migrant children, the importance of family values and support for adolescents, especially for those in difficult circumstances.

Fifteen-year-old Jorge Pinzón from Mexico shared his thoughts on issues affecting young people during a lively hip hop session, while Julio Martinez, a popular book author in Latin America, discussed the difficult situation young indigenous people in Central America often face. There are 15 million indigenous children and adolescents in Latin America and the Caribbean. They are often disproportionally affected by high levels of extreme poverty, discrimination, exclusion and family destabilization.

UNICEF is working with youth organisations such as the Scouts and the Girl Guides to capture the voices of children and young people attending the conference by using flipcams. Participants share stories around the Millennium Development Goals in their respective communities on video and present their ideas on how to achieve the goals. The videos are then made available on UNICEF’s special youth website www.voicesofyouth.org.

The World Youth Conference Mexico is one of many activities celebrating the International Year of Youth, which was launched on 12 August 2010.

For further information, please contact:
Monica Sayrols, UNICEF Media, Mexico
Tel: + 52 5528 49556,
Janine Kandel, UNICEF Media, New York
Tel: + 507 621 88 205,




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