The Minister of Youth and Sports, Saah Charles N’ Tow, is cautioning young people across the country to become true ambassadors of peace as Liberia goes to democratic elections in October.
He says the kind of Liberia that people would want to see during and after the elections rests on the shoulders of young people. He made the call over the weekend in the Auditorium of the University of Liberia on Capitol Hill to commemorate International Youth Day and official launch of the Youth and Election project.
The day is dedicated to celebrating young people’s contributions to conflict prevention and transformation as well as inclusion, social justice, and sustainable peace.The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is committed to fostering peaceful and inclusive societies and affirms that “Sustainable development cannot be realized without peace and security.” Goal 16 of the ASD aims to ensure responsive, inclusive, participatory and representative decision-making at all levels.
The World Programme of Action for Youth, which provides a policy framework and practical guidelines to improve the situation of young people, also encourages “promoting the active involvement of youth in maintaining peace and security”.
Minister N’ Tow calls on young people in the country to involve in activities that promote peace rather than engaging in violence, saying “Often we used to hear that young people are the source or sources of violence but I’m glad that our young people are now ambassadors of peace, this negative perception about them is no more.”
“I want to encourage you the young people in this hall under the sound of my voice and across this country to plant a seed of peace in your various communities, I also want you take a pledge of peace that you will not allow yourself to be used for violence or get involve in things that will spark up violence.”
He says the foundation laid will demonstrate the kind of country all Liberians envisage in the near future, because if Liberia would be built, it starts with the youths. The program in partnership with the United Nations Development Program or UNDP was held under the theme, “Sustaining Peace through Peaceful, Fair and Transparent Elections- the role of youth.” It brought together officials of government, members of the Diplomatic Corps, various student groups, including Federation of Liberian Youth, Mano Rive Youth Parliament, and the Liberia National Students Union or LINSU, among others.
On December 17, 1999, in its resolution 54/120, the United Nations General Assembly endorsed the recommendation made by the World Conference of Ministers Responsible for Youth (Lisbon, 8-12 August 1998) that 12 August should be celebrated globally as International Youth Day.
Since the adoption of Security Council Resolution S/RES/2250 in 2015, the Youth and Sports Minister notes that there is growing recognition that as agents of change, young people’s inclusion in the peace and security agenda and society more broadly, is key to building and sustaining peace.
Another Security Council Resolution S/RES/2282 (2016) further reaffirms the important role youth can play in deterring and resolving conflicts, and are key constituents in ensuring the success of both peacekeeping and peace building efforts in any nation.
By Lewis S.Teh -Editing by Jonathan Browne