At the Third Assembly of the World Movement for Democracy in South Africa in 2004, a group of young democracy and human rights activists from around the world came together to found what was then called the Youth Movement for Democracy in order to support each other, build solidarity, and develop sustainable democracy and human rights movements by empowering a younger generation in democracy promotion activities.
Today, the Youth Movement aims to serve as a platform for young activists to address the importance of promoting democratic values, a forum for sharing information and ideas, and an action-oriented, solidarity movement.
It provides a space for young activists to build relationships with each other, to collaborate across borders, to deepen their knowledge on key issues, and to develop practical skills. Like the World Movement, the Youth Movement aims to support youth participation in efforts to strengthen democracy where it is weak, to reform and invigorate democracy even where it is longstanding, and to bolster pro-democracy groups in countries that have not yet entered into a process of democratic transition.
Founded as a youth wing of the World Movement for Democracy, the Youth Movement shares the values and principles of the World Movement's Founding Statement. These include belief in:
- the universality of democratic values,
- the importance of learning from others' experiences in advancing democracy,
- human rights, particulary minority rights,
- broad public participation in politics, and
- the importance of acknowledging the diverse forms of democracy around the world.
Within the Youth Movement, all activities must be undertaken with a strong commitment to non-violence, human rights, and respect for the rule of law.
The current focus of the Youth Movement is the development of collaborative projects at the regional and international level in the following areas:
- Capacity-building to deepen young activist's knowledge of democracy issues and practical skill training for conflict resolution and the non-violent promotion of democracy;
- Advocacy and promotion of democratic values and human rights, and for the participation of youth in achieving them;
- Networking to exchange ideas and promote collaboration;
- Developing international solidarity networks, to support young people working in adverse circumstances.
Participation is open to all young democracy activists affiliated with organizations promoting democratic principles as well as individuals and organizations that support activities of young activists and youth organizations.
The main areas of democracy work taken on by Youth Movement participants include:
- Supporting Youth Participation in Politics;
- Promoting Human Rights;
- Advancing the Rule of Law;
- Increasing Women's Political Participation and Leadership;
- Empowering Democratic Governance, especially at the Local Level;
- Educating Youth about Democratic Principles and Practices; and
- Promoting Youth Involvement in Policy-making Processes.
Where is World Youth Movement for Democracy (WYMD)