The Liberian Senate has overwhelmingly passed into Law the African Youth Charter. The African Youth Charter is an international treaty that sets out a roadmap for the sustainable development for youth across the continent and especially Liberia. Liberia now joins a host of African countries to sign and ratify the charter. The Federation of Liberian Youth (FLY), the Liberian National Student Union (LINSU) and Youth Action International (YAI) were key groups lobbying for the passage of the African Youth Charter.
Mr. Kimmie Weeks, Executive Director of Youth Action International called the ratification of the African Youth Charter a major victory for youths across Liberia. Speaking on the lawn of the Legislature, Kimmie Weeks said: “this is a historic day for the youths of Liberia. I am extremely happy that we have Senators who prioritize youth and today they have proven this commitment.” Kimmie Weeks praised Senators who actively supported the bill including: Senator Jewel Taylor, Senator Geraldine Doe, Senator Blamo Nelson, Senator Roland Karn, Senator Lahai Lasanna, Senator John Ballout, Senator Nathanial Innis, and Senator Joseph Nagbe.
Mr. Kwame Ross, President of LINSU and a key player in the lobbying of the passage of the bill attended the Senate session on Tuesday and Thursday. Mr. Ross called the passage of the African Youth Charter an important achievement for young people. For his part, FLY President Augustus Zayzay hailed the passage of the bill as astonishing and timely move. Mr. Zayzay said that FLY and its partners will now work actively to popularize the bill and ensure that young people across the country are aware of the contents.
At least 200 young people gathered at the Senate chamber on Thursday to show support for the passage of the bill. The students said they had gathered because they felt the bill was important to their development and wanted to ensure that they were a part of the process to get the charter passed. Student Cornelius Gray said: “I am happy that I was a part of this process. I will be able to tell my children that I fought for something that benefits them. I am a proud Liberian today.
The African Youth Chater was passed by the African Union in 2006 in Banjul, Gambia. The Liberian government signed the bill. Ratification of the African Youth Charter now makes it a law in Liberia. Youth groups say with the ratification of the African Youth Charter the status of young people will rapidly improve over the next several years.