Youth Initiative for Human Rights welcomes the placing of the Bill on Ratification of the Agreement on the Establishment of the Regional Youth Cooperation Office, on the agenda for discussion in the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia.

We believe that this agreement is of particular importance for all young people in the Western Balkans, especially at a time when political tensions are at the highest level. In the light of the meeting of foreign ministers of the countries of the Western Balkans in Italy and the working dinner of Prime Ministers in Brussels on the same day, we believe that dialogue is the only mechanism for resolving regional problems.

Regional Youth Cooperation Office will provide a broader perspective on regional issues and the youth dialogue in the Western Balkans. Initiative believes that we can hope for a lasting reconciliation in the region only when all the young people had the opportunity and an incentive to travel, to meet, to talk and have dinner together.

The representatives of the Youth Initiative for Human Rights met in December with members of the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia to discuss the Bill which will confirm the Agreement on the Establishment of the Regional Office. On this occasion, the support of all political parties was requested in order for this agreement to be passed in the National Assembly as soon as possible. Initiative expects from MPs not only to vote for this bill, but to use the time for discussion to send a strong joint message of encouragement to young people in Serbia to connect with their peers in the region.

Initiative once again calls on all political parties and deputies to place the interest of young people in the region and their future before the opportunity to criticize regional or foreign policy of the current government. Regional Youth Cooperation Office (RYCO) has the potential to make a historic step forward, but the office and its first Secretary-General Djuro Blanuša need broad support for it.

Youth Initiative for Human Rights has advocated for seven years for the idea of establishing an institution modeled after the Franco-German Youth Office, which has proved to be very successful mechanism for reconciliation in post-conflict societies, in the Western Balkan region. Declaration on the Establishment of the Regional Youth Cooperation Office (RYCO) was signed on July 4, 2016 in Paris, by the Prime ministers of Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Kosovo, Macedonia and Serbia. The signing of this declaration is the culmination of the efforts of the countries in the region, but also civil society and international partners, to establish the, currently most important, mechanism for reconciliation in the region.


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