Parliamentarians in the Committee for Education, Youth and Sports have given their ultimate support for the domestication and ratification of the African Youth Charter in Sierra Leone.
They give their support during a sensitization programme organized by the Salone Youth and Adolescent Network on Population and Development (SaLYAN) at Parliament Building on Friday.
SaLYAN Coordinator, Sheku Ansumana Nuni said that, “the aims and objectives of the African Youth Charter is to foster and strengthen the capacity of youths and adolescents in the area of population and development”.
He added that, the Charter also aims at promoting and advocating for the use of existing services and ensure access to quality health care and information which would meet their needs and respect their concerns.
Giving a background of the African Youth Charter, Sheku Nuni said that the Charter was approved by African Ministers in charge of Youths and endorsed by African Union Heads of State and Government as a legal framework of action for African Youth in Banjul in July 2006.
The Coordinator pointed out that, “the African Youth Charter is a political and legal document which provides a strategic framework and direction for youth empowerment and development activities at continental, regional and national levels”.
The Charter, he said provides an avenue for effective youth participation in all developmental process.
Nuni disclosed that “the Charter calls on state parties to guarantee the participation of youths in Parliament and other national decision making bodies as well as facilitate the establishment or strengthening of national, regional and continental platforms for youth participation”.
On education, SaLYAN Coordinator said that “the Charter recognizes that every young person has the right to education whether formal or informal; distance learning or life long education that meets the diverse needs of young people”.
On health, Sheku Nuni said that State Parties should implore measures to ensure access to health care especially in rural and poor urban areas with emphasis to prevent the transmission of sexually transmitted infections.
He further stated that, State Parties should also ensure prioritization of youth employment in national development programs.
Honorable Mohamed Albert Tarawally said that the document is timely as is preparing Sierra Leone for a different meaningful future.
He added that, this document when ratified and implemented would make our youths more useful, adding that when the document is laid before Parliament it would receive maximum support from him.
Hon Gina James Musa further said that having gone through the documents “I have seen the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) report”, assuring SaLYAN of his total support when the document is before the house.
Director of Youths, Anthony Koroma also assured the gathering of his Ministry’s support to the Charter and also underscored the role of his Ministry in addressing youth problems in the country.
UNFPA Youth Programme Coordinator Christiana Kaikai said that her institution is committed to promoting youths especially in making their voices heard.