On Youth, Youth Policies and Conflict

K. Guruparan — a BB-ite, father of the Sri Lankan Youth Parliament and well-known youth activist, spoke at a regional youth conference on youth organized by International Alert, Ceylon Chamber of Commerce and the Ministry of Youth.

Below is a synopsis of the comments he made as reported on the Bottomline newspaper.

The disillusionment of the youth in the North on the promises made by the moderate Tamil leadership led to the insurgency in the North while the disillusionment of the youth in the South on the promises made by the Old Left led to the insurgency in the 1970s, Sri Lanka Youth Parliament Member and Youth Activist K. Guruparan stated.

“No one can say that the current militia in both regions have a ‘youthful’ element, but it is undeniable that their origins were born out of youth unrest,” he said adding that in the North and the East, the ‘normalisation’ of war where the abnormal (eg; the killing of five in a village) is a normal day to day process, is very worrying. “We must work towards getting them out of this mentality. We must give the youth in the North and the East to come out and speak. To silence them is to suppress them and weaken them.”

Speaking of the state of the youth in the North and the East, Guruparan explained that the unemployment rates in the North and the East are 13% and 15.9% respectively, much higher than the national average. “While the national average of those who prefer work in the public sector is 53.4%, in the North and East it’s as much as 75%.”

He also pointed out that in the South now, most of the income coming into the region to the rural poor came from army recruitment and compensation. “We need a National Youth Policy, but we understand that the current draft does not refer to the ‘conflict’ in the country at all,” he informed, “And as a representative of the youth, we want the Policy to be more than just a piece of paper. We request a legislation to be enacted that holds individuals accountable to implement the Policy for the betterment of the youth.”

He stated that the recent Presidential Commission on Youth called for one third of the nominations in the Provincial Council to be represented by the Youth, but that the youth are then allocated to seats that the party does not win. “The most pressing need now is to have the ethnic conflict resolved and have civil society actively work towards the future of this country.” [bottomline]

The article covers comments made by other speakers at the event.

More about youth policies on this blog includes posts titled,  “young people are the future” and other nonsensePrinciples of meaningful youth participationYouth Participation and Democracy and How to make youth policy in three steps.

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Posted on 03/13/2009, in Events-Activities-Announcements, Opinions, Sri Lanka, Youth-Culture-Society and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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