Nuorisodelegaatti Jenni Sundqvistin puhe YK:n yleiskokouksessa

Suomen YK-nuorisodelegaatti Jenni Sundqvist nosti YK:n yleiskokouksen kolmannessa komiteassa pitämässään puheessa esiin muun muassa huolen kansalaisyhteiskunnan kapenevasta tilasta, vihapuheen lisääntymisestä sekä kasvavasta eriarvoistumisesta.

YK-nuorisodelegaatti Jenni Sundqvist piti Suomen puheenvuoron YK:n yleiskokouksessa 1.10.2019
YK-nuorisodelegaatti Jenni Sundqvist piti Suomen puheenvuoron YK:n yleiskokouksessa 1.10.2019

Suomen YK-nuorisodelegaatti Jenni Sundqvist piti eilen puheen YK:n yleiskokouksen kolmannessa komiteassa, jossa käsitellään mm. nuorisokysymyksiä.

Jenni Sundqvist kantoi puheessaan huolta kansalaisyhteiskunnan kapenevasta tilasta, vihapuheen lisääntymisestä ja kasvavasta eriarvoistumisesta. Hän kertoi myös Nuoret, rauha ja turvallisuus -päätöslauselman kansallisen toimeenpanosuunnitelman valmisteluista.

Jennin englanniksi YK:ssa pitämä puhe on luettavissa kokonaisuudessaan alla. Tallenne kolmannen komitean kokouksesta on katsottavissa englanniksi YK:n oman televisiokanavan tallenteena, ks. UNTV.


National Statement of Finland under the third Committee of UN General Assembly

Jenni Sundqvist, UN Youth Delegate of Finland


Chairperson, excellences, fellow youth delegates,

It is an honor to address this committee as the youth delegate of Finland and to talk about increasing inequality, the consequences of social polarization and the importance of civil society.

We live in a world, which is more interconnected than ever. We depend on products that are built upon global value chains, use services that utilize foreign workers and equally do suffer from the same problems, climate change being the major cause of stress and disbelief.

However, the way, on which our world lays today, is no coincidence. In contrast, it is a result of policies, which are built upon the idea that countries, which trade together don’t go into warfare. On contrary, while overlooking the basic principles of social equality, we have transferred the problems from international level into national settings and are now witnessing growing amount of anxiety and hostility coming from inside.

Due to shrinking civic spaces and increased inequality, we don’t face people coming from different backgrounds anymore. We are excluded into separate neighborhoods and bubbles of like-minded people. While Internet has created new platforms in engaging and connecting people, algorithms have further triggered the social polarization of our opinions and lived experiences.

The lack of understanding of the other is filled with demonizing and securitization – unconsciously transferring our personal anxieties into societal level. In similar vein, by dehumanizing the other – the migrant, unemployed, different gender, we become immune to their human sufferings and logically put the blame on them and that way legitimize our own world views.

Hence, this is reflected for instance in growing amount of hate speech. In Finland 40% of young people have faced hate speech online. The Internet being one of main platforms where young people operate – the issue is extremely urgent and needs to be tackled.

In fact, according to the consultations done as a part of the ongoing preparations of National Action Plan of Youth, Peace and Security Resolution of Finland, many respondents felt that online hate speech and abuse affect their participation. Especially women and those individuals whose name or appearance suggests they belong in a minority group, felt that the current climate in online discussions can even deter participation, as they cannot cope with the level of hate speech targeted at themselves and their communities.

So, instead of debating how the society should look like we are stuck into a situation where we only legitimize our own existence.

Thus, the erosion of civic spaces raises questions over human rights and democracy. Although inclusive associations and leisure activities, such as sports, play crucial role in bringing people together - thus increasing social capital, the building of bridges of trust, more needs to be done.

In order to truly overcome the dividedness, we need to put emphasis in supporting civil society, understood in broader sense; including movements, campaigns and petitions, and to guarantee safe environment to operate and protest.

The current global #fridaysforfuture climate movement is a great example of bottom-up political engagement, which has been recognized even at high political level. Best practices should follow this on a broader scale, thus opening up room for horizontal discussion and debate on how the society should look like - moving away from shortsighted recognition of civil society actors on political basis into holistic acceptance of new forms of participation as a corner stone of agenda setting is of crucial importance.

This, in the long run, would first of all have an impact on the policies made, but also, lessen the intolerant political views, increase belief in democratic institutions and, potentially spark new kind of emancipatory action, if people, faced by the same problem, engaged together and realized that it is not the individual character or failure, but rather, the unequal social structure, which cost the harm.

But finally, and most importantly, it would strengthen the trust in between people and that way take the ground from risks that narrow our social and political horizons.

Thank you for your attention.