Mmegi Online :: Young Batswana seek radical amendments to African Youth Charter
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Last Updated
Friday 15 December 2017, 17:56 pm.
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Young Batswana seek radical amendments to African Youth Charter

Botswana youths want a quota of seats in national parliaments of AU member states reserved for young people and a repeal of laws that bar youths with criminal records from employment.
By MONKAGEDI GAOTLHOBOGWE
Staff Writer
(GMT +2)
Mmegi Online :: Young Batswana seek radical amendments to African Youth Charter








These form part of the Botswana position as spelt out in recommendations presented to the Minister of Youth, Sport and Culture yesterday following a recent national conference of the Botswana National Youth Council (BNYC) in Mogoditshane.

They are to be presented to SADC and AU youth meetings ahead of the World Youth Conference scheduled for Mexico in August. The objective is to have the African Youth Charter amended in accordance with this BNYC position and for the Botswana government to sign and ratify the charter.

Altogether, young Batswana want seven amendments to the African Youth Charter, which has already been signed by 39 African governments and ratified by 19. Among others, Botswana youths want Article 6 of the African Youth Charter amended so that the youth are protected from certain religious doctrines that deny children and young people access to health and other social services.

Perhaps the most radical recommendation of young Batswana is to have a quota of parliamentary seats reserved for the youth in member countries of the African Union. Alternatively, they want a genuine youth parliament established in every country.

The BNYC wants a clause of the African Youth Charter on education and skills to be gender neutral so that boys and young men are also empowered. It also wants Article 24 of the Charter that addresses mentally and physically challenged youths amended so that there is a separate age cohort for the mentally-challenged because they develop more slowly.

In accordance with resolutions of their recent national conference, young Batswana want the youth

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minister to urgently attend to the National Youth Policy and Action Plan to ensure that the policy review is finalised and tabled before parliament.

They also urge Minister Shaw Kgathi to expedite the tabling of the BNYC Bill in Parliament.

The recent national conference of BNYC was convened to adopt a country position ahead of the World Youth Conference, which will be preceded by two African youth conferences - one in Namibia for the SADC region in June, the other for the continent in Nigeria.

It was a follow-up on the meeting for African Ministers in Charge of Youth (COMY III) that was held in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe from April 12 to 16. It was jointly organised by the Department of Youth in the Ministry of Youth, Sport and Culture and BNYC in partnership with United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).

The conference brought together young Batswana from all over the country consisting of BNYC affiliates (youth serving organisations), District Youth Councils, young political leaders, as well as Principal Youth Officers in line ministries and local authorities.

According to BNYC Executive Director, Fidelis Molao, the Botswana position is intended to feed into the SADC Position on the Youth Agenda. He says a side meeting for SADC Ministers in Charge of Youth will be organised during the upcoming Abuja, Nigeria conference, which will in turn feed into the Africa position.

"It is expected that the African Position on the Youth Agenda will be presented at the World Youth Conference scheduled for August in Mexico City," Molao says.

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