International Youth Day is commemorated every year on August 12th. This year, the Public Solicitor’s Office (PSO) is celebrating by bringing together young people for a cross city screening of local production ‘Juvenile’ and dialogue on youth justice, under the theme Youth Engagement for Global Action.

This event is in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) through the collaboration of the Solomon Islands Access to Justice Project and Empowering Youth as Agents for Peace and Social Cohesion in the Solomon Islands Project, in association with Save the Children.

International youth day presents a special opportunity for youth engagement and awareness on the complexities of navigating through the justice system and its impact on youth. Utilizing young people’s potential as agents of change requires involving and empowering them in development, policies and supporting their participation at all levels especially regarding access to justice.

Twenty youth representatives from youth caucuses in and around Honiara established by the Empowering Youth as Agents for Peace and Social Cohesion in the Solomon Islands Project, attended the film screening at the Iumi Waka Youth Co-Lab', Town Ground in Honiara. A similar event was held in Gizo, Western Province.

The screening of the Dreamcast and Save the Children joint production ‘Juvenile’ raised awareness amongst the youth participants about the systemic challenges in Solomon Islands society. ‘Juvenile’ is a powerful production which follows the justice journeys of two youths who commit crimes.

It explores different processes within the justice system and engages various actors and themes such as Royal Solomon Islands Police (RSIPF), the PSO, alternate dispute resolution mechanisms such as mediation and treatment of youths in the justice system. These issues were addressed in a complementary presentation by the PSO Youth Justice Clinic lawyers after the screening.

Lawyers Paul None (Gizo) and Rodney Manebosa (Honiara), both expressed that International Youth Day was an opportunity to hear differing views and suggestions particularly from the youth perspective. They delivered engaging presentations and facilitated fruitful discussions and engagement from youth on how the PSO could be further enriched to help achieve its goal of providing access to its legal services and information.

Empowering Youth as Agents for Peace and Social Cohesion in the Solomon Islands Solomon Islands Access to Justice Project

These events contribute to the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its commitment to engage, advance and empower young people’s participation as resilience and peace builders.

The International Youth Day event was a successful collaboration between the Australian Government funded Solomon Islands Access to Justice Project and UN Peace Building funded project Empowering Youths as Agents for Peace and Social Cohesion.

Both projects have mutually reinforcing commitments in advancing young people’s participation and empowerment in building resilience and peace, and focus on enhancing access to justice for all Solomon Islanders including youth. The collaboration contributes to the aim of empowering and fostering the engagement of young women and men who will proactively contribute to peace and sustainable development of their country and build resilience to crises such as Covid-19.

The Iumi Waka, UNDP’s youth led innovation lab was proud to host the event and will continue to help facilitate knowledge sharing and learning amongst youths in the Solomon Islands.

The International Youth Day is commemorated annually around the world to celebrate and mainstream young peoples’ voices, actions and initiatives, as well as their meaningful, universal and equitable engagement.

Source: UNDP