Youth forum to submit suggestions to UN

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Flag of the United Nations

The Never Again youth forum on genocide prevention ended in Kigali, Rwanda with young people from the Great Lakes region and other countries making a string of recommendations for the prevention of genocide.

Following the visit by the World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz, during which he promised to give the Never Again network his "moral support" and asked members about their views on what African youth needed, the network will send its ideas to the consultation for civil society on the U.N. High Level Panel to be discussed in September, which includes bringing in a new principle of Responsibility to Protect into the international framework of sovereignty.

Conference participants called for more local input in international protection work as well as for the international community to listen more to voices on the ground. They accused the international community of failing in their duty by not giving U.N. missions more power on the ground and using the "excuse" that they did not know local languages and therefore did not respond to incitement to violence towards Tutsis broadcast on national radio in the lead-up to the genocide in Rwanda in 1994.

Many participants criticised the uneven responses given by the international community to different regions. A participant from the Congo called for help to be given to "all citizens in the world, without distinction". Another said: "If our poverty [in Africa] is the cause of our being ignored then I fear for the future. Where there is interest there is energy and I fear we will lose the energy."

The final day also featured intense dialogue on regional conflict in the Great Lakes region and showed the different perspectives on the Burundi/Rwanda refugee story (link). Discussion groups looked at ways in which the youth could create better international networks and improve critical thinking and communication amongst the youth.

A media group took part in the conference and reported it for Wikinews this week. They will now produce a publication which will be translated into Kinyarwandan and distributed vocally as well as on paper as a way of involving young Rwandese from rural areas who have very high levels of poverty and illiteracy.

This article features first-hand journalism by Wikinews members. See the collaboration page for more details.
This article features first-hand journalism by Wikinews members. See the collaboration page for more details.