YOUTH RIGHTS

Youths area very sacrosanct sector of any state, as they constitute the most active force of any population, and as such, are major boosters of a country’s economy. It’s funny how the old ones still tell us that the youths are the leaders of tomorrow; they are the tomorrow. Are they not aware that the “tomorrow” is here? That the “tomorrow” is today? The youths are the today that they have been waiting for, and they have rights.

More often than not, the perception about youths in every society tends towards the negative side, such as oppression, youthful exuberance, uncontrollable outbursts, among other things. But this is not to say that they should be exempted from certain things in the society. With this, we wonder, if the youths are characterised by such negative terms, why then are they given rights like right-to-work laws, voting age, labour laws, youth suffrage, and military conscription? Why are they saddled with such responsibilities? Why is much expected from them? The answer- it’s all on paper, at least, those ones that have to do with governance. The old ones still want to be at the helm because they believe “the beautiful ones are not yet born.”

Having established the fact that the youths are a very important sect of any society, it is paramount to also note that several attempts have been made to increase the level of participation of the youth in every sphere. Campaigns have been planned and executed, and the focus of those campaigns was civic engagements. These campaigns also address the right of a youth to vote and be voted for, and of course, they canvass for the reduction of voting age and the age to be voted for.

Other strategies employed by youth groups to further ensure the security of the rights of the youth include youth activism, youth political participation, youth empowerment, youth and adult partnerships and of course, intergenerational equity.

I believe that if the youths are truly the leaders of tomorrow, if the future of every economy and every political system truly wants a change, the youths should be given a fair chance in making that change; at the higher level of politics, among other civic engagements. If they can be trusted enough to be conscripted into the national army, and if they can also be trusted to be responsible at a certain age (usually 18), then they should also be trusted to do better things for their countries.

The youths have something to offer, let’s hear them out. Let us allow for expression. Their strengths, if properly guarded by the older ones (without the elders overriding them), can turn the globe around. They have the strength, let them use it. Let them rule alongside the older generation. Let intergenerational equity prevail in every sector of the society. The youths have their rights, let those rights be truly expressed and not undermined.

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