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Youths, Effective Agents of Peace

Youths, Effective Agents of Peace
Minister for Youth and Sports Laisenia Tuitubou.
August 12
12:46 2017

Today is International Youth Day and the United Nations has identified the theme ‘Youth Building Peace’.

The Minister for Youth and Sports Mr Laisenia Tuitubou said the UN decision stemmed from the belief that youths, if mobilised and empowered, could be effective agents of peace.

“The call today is for your inclusion in decision-making and policy discussions so you can voice your opinion on what matters to you regarding security, peace and your future. Your participation is key to building and sustaining peace,” he said.

He said youths were often used as protagonists of criminal and political violence or conflicts. However, he said youths could also be peace-builders if they were mobilized to build peace efforts.

“The Ministry of Youth and Sports will continue to emphasise the need to empower, train and equip young people and encourage in you a greater and more effective awareness of your responsibilities, opportunities and limits in relation to human rights.”

The Ministry he said believed using their youthful energy and skills, so that they could become effective mediators, humanitarian workers and peace makers working within the framework of the Fiji Constitution.

He said a leading coordinator at the United Network of Young Peace-Builders, Matilda Flemming said: “Young people alone by no means have the answers to the challenges the world and communities around the world are facing. Neither do older generations. By bringing together the vision of young people today, and the experience of older generations, new answers to challenges are created.”

Any abuse or violation of basic rights at a family or community level he said were possible catalysts to conflict and destabilising peace. ”The Ministry, through its collaboration with stakeholders such as UNDP, UNICEF, UNFPA and Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre, is working to shift the thinking of youths towards the prevention of abuse by ensuring a culture of respect, that you act as peace-builders in your different capacities in your communities.  As Graca Machel says:  “Preventing the conflicts of tomorrow means changing the mindsets of youth today”.

The Ministry he said hoped that every organisation, community, young person would recognise the abundant potential in young people and supported them to meet the challenges of today and tomorrow.

“We also call for a strengthened partnership to ensure that we help every young Fijian to build your full potential.”

The Ministry wishes every Fijian, young and old, the best for this year’s International Youth Day. 

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