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Youth representatives of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) will meet in Trinidad and Tobago next week to address a number of issues affecting their daily lives under the theme “Human Rights, Freedoms, and Responsibilities.”

Twenty-seven youths between ages 15 – 24, drawn from a cross-section of youth groups and organisations around the Region, will be updated on their rights and responsibilities as these relate directly to the international Convention on the Rights of the Child. The two-day meeting on 24-25 February, also aims to, among other things, develop an awareness among participants of the effectiveness and appropriateness of personal values and conflict resolution techniques.

The meeting will take the form of interactive participation through group discussions, and reports. There will also be presentations by resource personnel on a number of topics including an introduction to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, overviews of survival, development, protection, and participation rights relating to child issues.

This is the first in a series of empowerment initiatives, coordinated by the CARICOM Secretariat in collaboration with the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF), aimed at gathering the views of the Region’s youth on inputs that can be made towards the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Immediately following the Trinidad and Tobago meeting, 17 youths from that group will form a CARICOM team which will participate in the International Youth Exchange in Toronto, Canada from 27 February to 5 March. This team will be headed by CARICOM Secretariat’s Deputy Programme Manager, Community Development, Dr. Heather Johnson.

The international Youth Exchange programme will be held under the theme – “Racism. Stop It! Action 2000”, and will also feature an international concert and awards show to recognise delegates for their creativity, and innovation in the struggle against racism.

While in Canada, the CARICOM youth representatives will participate in open fora sharing information on their role in helping to eliminate ethnic discrimination, and/or promote Human Rights. They will also be part of an International Youth Forum on Racism in Ottawa on 4-5 March, 2000. Among the objectives of the International Forum is to address the issue of youth advancing UNESCO’s Year of Peace in their respective communities by allowing their full participation in issues of racism, and ethnic hatred, and the promotion of peace and conflict solution.

The CARICOM youth delegation will be one of 420 teams from around the world which will attend the International Youth Exchange forum in Canada.

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