Social Development

7 October 2012

Thematic issues

  • Climate
  • Justice
  • Women

UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY – THIRD COMMITTEE

Statement by Mr Adam Pulford, Australian Youth Representative

Mr Chair,

I am here today as the Australian Youth Representative.

Young people are powerful.  As young people, we can act now to create the world in which we want to live.

This year, I have travelled across Australia, from our regional and remote communities, to our thriving urban cities: from Devonport to Darwin, from Bunbury to Brisbane.

Across our country, the common message coming from young Australians is they are deeply concerned about the continued existence of discrimination.

Time and again, young Australians have shared stories of the discrimination and prejudice that they’ve either experienced firsthand or seen inflicted against others.  The injustice and hurt caused by discrimination is something that they are driven to change.  Young Australians want to see a world where discrimination in all its forms is ended: a world where equality reigns.

All of us here in this room represent the incredible diversity of our world.  The differences between us are sometimes visible – through the colour of our skin, our physicality, what we wear.  However, at other times, they are less so – our beliefs, our opportunities, our emotions and our attractions.

Although these differences are not immediately apparent, these aspects of our diversity are equally valid and valuable.

Discrimination based on any of these is wrong.

Why should one be treated as less because of the colour of her or his skin?  Why should I be considered as less because someone I truly and honestly love is the same gender as me?

It is vital we all continue to work against discrimination, with a goal to achieving a world where all individuals are equal.

We are part of a much greater world: a world where vast inequalities exist.  In our world today, there remains unnecessary prejudice, suffering and death.  We must work together to address the greatest global challenges of our time; ending poverty, achieving sustainable development, addressing climate change, and fostering peace.

Because of the immensity of these challenges, ending discrimination can often not be seen as a priority.  Rather, ending discrimination in our societies, our systems and our structures, is put aside with the reasoning that other issues are more pressing.

However, it does not have to be one or the other.  In fact, progress on one can ensure further progress on the other.

The mutually reinforcing relationship between ending discrimination, and solving our global challenges, can be seen in the progress made through the Millennium Development Goals.

While we are not on track to achieving them all, the MDGs have helped us halve global poverty over the last twenty years – increasing opportunities for millions of people around the world.

However, in order to achieve a world free of discrimination, a world where all people have the opportunity to live as free and equal, with equal opportunity to realise their potential, we need to build on these achievements beyond 2015.

We need to ensure that our policies are equitable and reach all populations within our nations, including women, young people, Indigenous people, marginalised people, rural and remote people and of course people living with disabilities.

We need to ensure their voices are heard and their contributions are valued.

Through the progress we have made thus far, we know that we can work together to change our world, and move it towards one free from discrimination.   To Member States here today, let us not lose focus on this ideal as we work across the breadth of our issues.  Through our work, let us allow all of our citizens to reach their full potential, free from discrimination, for the benefit of us all.

Thank you, Mr Chair.


Last Updated: 16 June 2015