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Youth should maintain the country’s peace-International Youth Day

As August 12 marked another International Youth Day commemoration, the Ministry of Youth Affairs, National Youth Commission, the UN and partners held a one day event at the Maitta Conference Hall in Freetown. The International Youth Day was set aside by the United Nations as a day for youths to celebrate achievements, reflect on the many challenges as well as map the way forward for their development and empowerment. This day has been commemorated since its inception in 2009 by young people all over the world. The theme for this year was ‘Youth Building Peace’.
Speakers at the event emphasized the timeliness of the theme as Sierra Leone prepares for National Elections next year- 2018. Several appeals were made to youths to ensure they maintain a peaceful environment especially during the elections period.
According to the UN Resident Coordinator Mr. Sunil Saigal “the United Nations recognizes the need for civic engagements and peace-building interventions especially for young people.” He said the UN will collaborate with community based organizations, women groups, youth groups etc to develop comprehensive programmes to enhance civic engagements, preserve peace and prevent conflict in the country.
Chairman of the National Youth Council, Mr. Ibrahim Prince Thorley noted that although the Ministry, National Youth Commission and partners have been investing on youth programmes, yet the impact of these interventions are very minimal because many of the country’s youth are yet to benefit. He said youth issues need to be mainstreamed at the international level so more commitments would be made by governments and partners. In that light, Mr. Thorley recommended a separate UN agency working on youth issues as he mentioned Unicef, UN Women among others that have specific focus. He said subsumed youth issues have not created the desired impact. He called on young people to maintain peace and play a positive role during the elections and stay away from violence.
In his address, Youth Minister Hon. Bai Mahmoud Bangura, underscored the significance of the day and gave a brief historical background to it. The Minister noted that the country is on the right trajectory in relation to peace and relative stability, emphasizing that youths have been contributing to maintaining the peace. He expressed satisfaction over the strides government has taken to address the concerns of youth and to instill in them positive attitude with a view to maintaining peace.



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