Commemorations highlight Youth and Irregular Migration

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PDRC-1: Youth Rally for Peace.

Puntland: on 12 August about 400 Puntland/Somalia youth from different regions of Puntland state and the neighboring Galmudug, have simultaneously gathered at the PDRC’s Conference Hall in Garowe and Uunlaaye Hotel in Galkayo. Youth celebrated the Day with the aim to reduce the adverse of both the “youth and the Mental Health” and its effect in “Youth and Irregular Migration”.

International Youth day is celebrated each year with a particular theme; the 2014 theme is “Youth and Mental Health”. In Puntland, however, the issue of irregular migration is crucial, multi-faceted and presents enormous challenges to the mental and emotional states of Somali youth and their families. Thus this year’s theme was timely and relevant to Somali youth victims and their affected families.

As youth commemorate their day around the world, Somali youth in Puntland State remain resilient, hopeful and committed in pursuing peaceful ideals in a difficult environment. The Puntland Development Research Center (PDRC), in partnership with Puntland youth, Interpeace, and government authorities join their efforts in commemoration of the ceremony.

For that purpose youth travelled from the different regions of Puntland State to Garowe and Galkayo as well as from the southern section of Galkayo (the Galmudug youth participated both the ceremony and in the football game that took place in Galkayo town), to participate in planned youth led activities to mark the event. PDRC hosted the commemorations in Garowe and in Galkayo. The partner organizations, PDRC and Interpeace, had substantially contributed in the sponsorship of this event simply to empower youth from Puntland and Galmudug to plan and implement cultural and sports events during the commemoration of the day and to strengthen peaceful co-existence amongst their divided communities.

Commemorations in Garowe

In Garowe, the administrative capital of Puntland State, youth jointly with the Ministry of Labor, Youth and Sports have gathered at the PDRC conference hall to mark the main event. Both Youth and other dignitaries had expressed the importance of the themes, shared the existing advent traumatic experiences, and called upon Puntland youth to act against irregular migration. “…We shall not allow our youth to perish in the desert and at hostile seas” PDRC Programme Director said.

Through speeches, drama, poetry and sports, youth participants urged fellow youth to dissuade from the lures of the exploitative criminal networks that use the vulnerabilities of irregular migrants to harvest the savings of their mothers and fathers (as ransom extortion from poor relatives in Somalia) and committing all forms of human trafficking especially on female irregular migrants.

In his turn, the Puntland Vice-president addressing the gathering said: “It is unfortunate that youth have indulged in terrorism, piracy and illegal migration”. “We shall ensure Puntland youth’s right to healthcare and education to dissuade them from evil practices.” The vice president concluded.

The youth presented a drama that highlighted the dangers and the impact of irregular migration amongst the youth and the families they leave behind. The play showed on how dared exploitation of irregular migrants by foreign abductors inflict damage in the economic status of the impoverished families and relatives in Somalia.

Commemorations in Galkayo District

On the other hand, Youth from Puntland and Galmudug participated in a conference held to mark the event at Uunlaaye Hotel’s Conference facility in northern Galkayo. Regional and district authorities from the regions of Mudug, Haylaan, and Cayn presented keynote speeches at the youth Conference. The leaders urged them to exploit the country’s abundant natural resources instead of engaging in irregular migration. Participants commemorating the youth day identified irregular migration as a major cause of death amongst Somali youth. “Irregular migration no longer involves victims of conflict only” Mr. Burhan the lead researcher of PDRC’s Galkayo Satellite Office (GSO) said. He went on by emphasizing, “that it is a mental problem surely, when the youth of affluent families decide to take dangerous voyages and treks without any reasonable cause.” The researcher further stated “Allah told us in the Quran not to seek destruction with your own hands” The Mudug police commander told the youth. “I perceive the educated youth of our society who are indulging in irregular migration as people engaged in self destruction”. Similarly, youth leaders reiterated speeches with strong messages both to the government and to the youth.

During the ceremonies youth used various aspects of cultural expression to highlight the dangers and implications of irregular. The Midnimo band of Galkayo town presented a musical drama revealing the hazards of irregular migration in the hands of treacherous foreigners dominating the irregular migrants’ routes across the Sahara and the Mediterranean Sea. The drama was presented on a multi-lingual platform where the victims spoke in Somali while the perpetrators spoke in Arabic or even French. As the stage drama tickled it drew applause from the large youth audiences.

PDRC2: Inspired and Hopeful.
PDRC2: Inspired and Hopeful.

In addition to that, youth poets expressed their feelings and fears in literate poetry and modern songs. The performing arts expressions presented at the event, made calls to action urging the youth to shun irregular migration, and seek an honest living from their land.