IMG_0004The African Youth Symposium was part of this year’s Eritrean festival programme bringing together African youth from across the continent in order to create a platform for information, discussions as well as questions and answers.

Young panellists from Ogaden, Gambella, South Africa, Sudan, Rwanda, and Zimbabwe presented their short reports, following this the floor was opened up for the audience to ask the panellists questions concerning their speeches and topics related to it.
Juweriya from the Ogaden Youth and Student Union spoke on the ‘Systematic destruction of Ogaden Youth’ which touched upon matters to do with the conscription of youth to military/ paramilitary groups as a result of the forced displacement of innocent civilians many of whom are young people accompanied by their parents.

She further linked this phenomenon with the issue of young people from the Ogaden fleeing to neighbouring countries only to live in dire conditions as a result of being forced to evacuate from their own homes.
Extremely poignant was also the topic of rape as a weapon of war and as a means of terrorising young women in particular and the wider society in general. The report concluded with highlighting that ‘the damage that such human rights violations causes mentally is something we cannot begin to imagine’ thereupon urging young people to continue raising awareness regarding the atrocities committed in the Ogaden particularly through the use of social media.



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