Teaching young people to respect human dignity

Young people are the focus of special interest in studies on the humanitarian, social and political situation throughout the world. As victims, their plight attracts particular attention on account of their vulnerability, which is recognized in all cultures everywhere - albeit with considerable variation in views as to the age of reaching adulthood. If they belong to deviant groups such as street children, criminals, children outside the school system or child soldiers, they are treated as victims, permanent outcasts or a threat, depending on where they are and what they do. Lastly, those who belong to a controlled group, in other words those enjoying a normal social and/or school life, are subject to demands which are all the greater given their elders - own disarray in face of the accelerated pace of change at the turn of the century, and the adults - desire to prepare the rising generation to cope with an uncertain future.

About the author

Édith Baeriswyl
Head of the Youth Sector of the ICRC’s Division for the Promotion of International Humanitarian Law

After 20 years’ experience in teaching and educational research, she carried out several assignments as an ICRC delegate, mostly in Africa.