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Youth Leaders on the Ratification of African Youth Charter

Apr 16, 2009, 6:35 AM | Article By: Nfamara Jawneh

Following the recent ratification of the African Youth Charter by the National Assembly Youth Forum sounded the opinion of some youth leaders in the country regarding the development.

Pa Malick Ceesay, Executive Secretary National Youth Council said the ratification is a big boost for the youth sub sector as it will complement the already existing national youth policy programme of action and other youth related documents of the country. "It's a reminder for young people of their roles and responsibilities towards national development".  The Charter is also a reminder to all stake holders of their participation and contribution to the development of youths. He hailed government through the ministry of Youth and Sports and the national assembly for ratifying the charter and the UNFPA and all stakeholders for their support. Ceesay also urged the government to deposit the charter at the African Union so that the Gambia can maintain its position as the 12th country to ratify the charter.

Article 15 of the Charter talk about Sustainable Livelihoods and Youth Employment.

Article 15 (1) state that "Every young person shall have the right to gainful employment".

Abdou Boye is the National Coordinator of Youth Employment Network (YEN) Gambia Chapter. He commended the ministry for tabling a bill that youths were yearning for since 2006. He also applauded the national assembly for ratifying the charter without any reservation. YEN Coordinator encouraged the youths to familiarise themselves with the charter and other related documents. He appealed to the government to implement the provisions of the charter for the betterment of the young people of the country.

Article 4 of the charter talks about Freedom of Expression.

Article 4 (1) reads. "Every young person shall be assured the right to express his or her ideas and opinions freely in all matters and to disseminate his or her ideas and opinions subject to the restrictions as are prescribed by laws.

2. Every young person shall have the freedom to seek, receive and disseminate information and ideas of all kinds, either orally, in writing, in print, in the form of art or through any media of the young person's choice subject to the restrictions as are prescribed by laws.

Assan Sallah is the Public Relation Officer of the Young Journalists Association of the Gambia YJAG. He hailed the ratification of the Charter. Sallah expressed hope that the provisions will be implemented to the later making reference to article 4 of the charter. He also called for the need for a responsible journalism despite the charter guaranteed freedom of expression noting that this freedom has limitations as indicated by the Charter.

Ibrahim Ceesay National Coordinator of Children to Children Organization described it as a move in the right direction. He revealed that most of the articles in the Charter have already been attained by the Gambia. He however, urged the government to quickly deposit the charter at the African Union Headquarters. Ceesay however called for the domestication of the charter as well as the establishment of a national plan of action for the entire implementation of the charter.

Tumani Danjo President of Beakanyang welcomes the development noting that it's meant to empower the country's future leaders.

 Article 17: Deals with Peace and Security

b) For instance states "institute mechanisms to promote a culture of peace and tolerance amongst young people that discourages their participation in acts of violence, terrorism, xenophobia, racial discrimination, gender-based discrimination, foreign occupation and trafficking in arms and drugs".

This article made Fabakary Kallah Executive Secretary of Youth Ambassadors of Peace admires the Charter most as a peace educator.  He said that the Charter is trying to promote the need for African youths to nurture security and peace. "For me is one of the best thing the national assembly should have done for us because this charter was first passed in Banjul summit so we should have been among the first group of countries to pass however is never too late" he noted.