Prehistory...

Youth rights are the rights of young people. They are an important concept in movements responding to the oppression of young people, with advocates challenging ephebiphobia, adultism and ageism through youth participation, youth/adult partnerships, and promoting, ultimately, intergenerational equity.

First emerging as a distinct movement in the 1930s, youth rights have long been concerned with civil rights and intergenerational equity. Tracing its roots to youth activists during the Great Depression, youth rights has influenced the civil rights movement, opposition to the Vietnam War, and many other movements. Since the advent of the Internet youth rights is gaining predominance again. The European Youth Forum (YFJ, from Youth Forum Jeunesse) is the platform of the National Youth Council and International Non-Governamental Youth Organisations in Europe.

It strives for youth rights in International Institutions such as the European Union, the Council of Europe and the United Nations. The European Youth Forum works in the fields of youth policy and youth work development. It focuses its work on European youth policy matters, whilst through engagement on the global level it is enhancing the capacities of its members and promoting global interdependence. In its daily work the European Youth Forum represents the views and opinions of youth organisations in all relevant policy areas and promotes the cross-sectoral nature of youth policy towards a variety of institutional actors. The principles of equality and sustainable development are mainstreamed in the work of the European Youth Forum. Other International youth rights organi ations include Article 12 in Scotland and K.R.A.T.Z.A. in Germany. Youth for Human Rights International is an organization formed in 2001. In support of the United Nations Decade for Human Rights Education from 1995 to 2004, Youth for Human Rights International's first project was to launch a Europe-wide essay writing contest for youth between the ages of eight and eighteen, in coordination with Friends of the United Nations.

Youth rights, as a philosophy and as a movement, has been informed and is led by a variety of individuals and institutions across the United States and around the world. In the 1960s and 70s John Holt, Richard Farson, Paul Goodman and Neil Postman were regarded authors who spoke out about youth rights throughout society, including education, government, social services and popular citizenship. Shulamith Firestone also wrote about youth rights issues in the second-wave feminist classic "The Dialectic of Sex." Alex Koroknay-Palicz has become a vocal youth rights proponent, making regular appearances on television and in newspapers. Mike A. Males is a prominent sociologist and researcher who has published several books regarding the rights of young people across the United States. Robert Epstein is another prominent author who has called for greater rights and responsibilities for youth. Several organizational leaders, including Sarah Fitz-Claridge of Taking Children Seriously, Bennett Haselton of Peacefire and Adam Fletcher (activist) of The Freechild Project conduct local, national, and international outreach for youth and adults regarding youth rights. The president of MinorsVote.comis Baxter Hankin.

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