• Sat. May 25th, 2024

What about the African Youth Charter (1)


Apr 4, 2023

BUJUMBURA April 4th (ABP) – Every young person has the right to leave any country, including their own, and to return there freely, this is read in the African Youth Charter in its article 3, as a check by ABP received it on Thursday, March 30, 2023, from the National Youth Council of Burundi (CNJB).

According to article 2 paragraph 1 of the said Charter, each young person shall enjoy the rights and freedoms recognized and guaranteed in that Charter, without any distinction of race, ethnic group, color, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion of national and social origin, property, birth and other status. Thus, paragraph 2 of the same article specifies that States Parties shall take appropriate measures to ensure that young people are protected against all forms of discrimination on the basis of status, activities, opinions or beliefs expressed. “Every young person has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and the free practice of religion without infringing that of others. No young person shall be subjected to arbitrary or unlawful interference with their private life, residence or correspondence, or suffer attacks on their honor or reputation, as specified in Articles 6 and 7 of the very Charter.

As for the protection of the family as the basic unit of society, article 8 emphasizes that it must be protected and supported by the States parties for its foundation and development, taking into account the fact that the structures and family patterns vary according to different social and cultural contexts. Young men and women reaching marriageable age shall marry on the basis of free consent and shall enjoy equal rights and duties, it adds.

With regard to development, the 10th article of the said Charter calls on States parties to encourage the press to disseminate information likely to be beneficial for young people economically, politically, socially and culturally; to promote the development of the youth press for the dissemination of youth information and to encourage international cooperation in the production, sharing and dissemination of information from both national and international sources, which is of economic, social and cultural interest for young people.

In the line of ideas, States parties should make available to young people information, education and training teaching them their rights and responsibilities, and training them in the democratic process, in citizenship, in taking decision-making, governance and leadership so that they develop their technical skills and confidence to participate in those processes. With a view to promoting the active participation of young people in the activities of society, the States parties to that Charter undertake to guarantee the access of young people to Parliament and to all other decision-making levels in accordance with the laws; to foster the creation of a platform for the participation of young people in decision-making at the local and national, regional and continental levels of governance, and to ensure equal access of young men and young women to decision-making processes and the exercise of civic responsibilities.

Article 11 goes on to state that States parties also undertake to prioritize policies and programs that include youth advocacy and peer education programs for young people living on the margins of society such as young people who have dropped out of school and the unemployed, with a view to giving them the chance and the motivation to reintegrate into society. They must facilitate access to information to enable young people to know their rights and the opportunities available to them to participate in decision-making and civic life and put in place measures aimed at professionalizing youth work and to introduce relevant training programs within higher education and other similar training institutions.

Furthermore, the States parties undertake to provide technical and financial support for the institutional capacity building of youth organizations and to set up voluntary policies and programs aimed at young people at the local, national, regional and international levels as an important forum for youth participation in the governance and development of the continent and as a tool for peer training. Article 11 of the Charter ends by specifying that States parties undertake to promote access to information and services which would allow young people to know their rights and responsibilities and to include representatives of young people, as an integral part, of their delegations to ordinary sessions of the African Union and other relevant meetings, in order to broaden communication networks and promote debates on youth issues.

It is worth recalling that the African Youth Charter was adopted by the 7th ordinary session of the conference held on July 2, 2006 in Banjul, The Gambia. It was ratified and promulgated by the Head of State, Evariste Ndayishimiye, on January 9, 2023.