Youth and the right to work report

The report on youth and the right to work, A/HRC/40/31, has been prepared pursuant to Human Rights Council resolution 37/16 which requested the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to prepare an analytical report on the relationship between the realization of the right to work and the enjoyment of all human rights by young people, with an emphasis on their empowerment, in accordance with States’ respective obligations under international human rights law, and to indicate major challenges and best practices in that regard.

For the preparation of this report, and as requested by the Council, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) consulted States, United Nations agencies, funds and programmes, including the International Labour Organization, as well as the treaty bodies, the special procedures, civil society and national human rights institutions. A questionnaire was sent to relevant stakeholders and the responses received are listed below.

The report builds upon previous reports of the High Commissioner for Human Rights on the right to work  as well as on youth and human rights.  The latter, in particular, highlights how youth experience violence, sexual violence, lack of access to sexual and reproductive health services, abuse as people on the move, lack of political participation and education and work opportunities.

Today, the world hosts the largest generation of young people in history.  There are 1.2 billion young people between the ages of 15 and 24 most of whom live in developing countries.  Countries with relatively young populations have the potential of a “demographic dividend” if these young people can have opportunities for education and productive engagement in the labour force. However, youth unemployment is a concern virtually everywhere in the world. According to the International Labour Organization’s report Global Employment Trends for Youth 2018, young people are three times more likely than adults to be unemployed and an estimated 70 million young people were unemployed in 2017.

The report provides an overview of the barriers youth face in enjoying their rights to access and participate in the labour market. It highlights that to tackle those barriers States should put in place concerted legislative, policy and budgetary measures with a strong gender lens not only in the area of the right to work but also in the area of interrelated and interdependent rights such as the right to social security, the right to education and the right to participate in public affairs. This approach fosters youth’s empowerment and requires a fundamental shift to lay out the conditions for promoting young people as agents of their own future, change and progress.

Submissions received:


National Human Rights Institutions