National Youth Council of Serbia and the Council of Europe: Publication of the Compass Handbook and the visit by Antje Rothmund

On June 8 in Belgrade, the Council of Europe organized a panel discussion under the name “Living, learning, acting for human rights“, where the new version of the Compass – manual for human rights education with young people was launched in the Serbian language. 

This launch is an important event for youth education on human rights in Serbia. Its translation helps further empower youth leaders, educators, and youth workers to actively promote youth participation in democratic life and respect for human rights. Furthermore, Support to youth participation in democratic life and decision-making processes, including through education about human rights and core democratic values is also one of the cornerstones of Reykjavík Principles for Democracy, adopted during the Council of Europe Summit in May 2023. 

The panel was opened by Tobias Flessenkemper, Head of the Council of Europe Office in Belgrade, H.E. Cathy Buggenhout, the Ambassador of Belgium to Serbia, and Ivana Antonijević, Assistant Minister in the Ministry of Tourism and Youth. 

The key-note address was given by Antje Rothemund, Head of the Youth Department, Council of Europe, followed by “Towards a Culture of Human Rights in Times of Crisis – Are We Up to the Challenge?” panel discussion where KOMS was represented by its Secretary-General, Miljana Pejić

Miljana emphasized the need for greater investment in youth education on participation and human rights, both through formal and non-formal education, and highlighted the “Compass” as an excellent guide for that purpose. She concluded that not every form of youth participation in public life is meaningful and purposeful, and it is necessary for institutions to have a much greater responsibility towards young people and include them equitably in making important decisions regarding their future. 

On the same day, we had the great pleasure of hosting Antje Rothemund and Maja Micić Lazović, a representative of the Council of Europe Office in Belgrade, at the KOMS premises. We discussed the importance of the management mechanism applied through the Advisory Council on Youth of the Council of Europe, in which KOMS will have its representative in 2024 and 2025. 

Additionally, during the meeting, we had the opportunity to discuss the importance of the independence of the national youth councils and networks of youth organizations as authentic representative bodies of young people, as well as the principles covered by the Recommendation on the role of national youth councils in youth policy development adopted by the Committee of Ministers in 2006.