Representatives of the Libyan youth from all regions of the country launched a campaign to advocate for their Constitutional Demands.
A workshop “Finding Our Future: Libyan Youth Demands for the Constitution, held in Tunis from 11th to 16th of May, built on previous experiences of the Libyan youth active in the constitution-making process and provided participants with variety of tools to enhance their advocacy efforts.
In the course of the intensive six-day event organised by UNDP, UNESCO, UNICEF, UNSMIL and DRI, participants jointly formulated a chart of youth constitutional demands, practiced presentation skills and agreed on the advocacy plan for the subsequent phase of the process. Furthermore, the event provided the participants with a unique opportunity to exchange directly with representatives of the Constitution Drafting Assembly (CDA) during a roundtable meeting held on the 15th of May who agreed to support number of the demands.
Mohammed Eljarh (Tobruk), representing the CSO Destourna Network, remarked: “The workshop gave us a chance to meet and interact with CDA members and present our demands to them. It was a very important milestone in the course of the constitution drafting process. It was also beneficial to bring young people from different backgrounds together. Even though we disagreed on some issues, we managed to compromise on others, and this is a good exercise in peace building and resolution, which is badly needed in Libya.”
CDA member Albadri Sharif added: “This workshop was a very good opportunity to meet youth, learn about their concerns for the constitution and exchange experiences. I benefited from sitting with youth from different backgrounds, they all form an important part of Libyan society and we must work to help them.”
The demands press for more presence of youth in the legislative, executive and judiciary bodies as well as propose a minimum of 30% youth participation in Local Councils. Moreover, youth expect guarantees for better education and employment opportunities as well as more enabling provisions for civil society organisations t o help them play a greater role in society.
Young activist Khadija Baba (Tripoli) commented that: “The most important demand to me as a young woman and a mother is ensuring that Libyan women are able to give the citizenship to their children. And as an ethnic minority [Tuareg], I’m also concerned about protecting minority rights.”
She then adds: “It’s important for youth to give voice to their demands because there’s no guarantee of the protection of their rights from policy-makers. Having our rights in the constitution will protect us.”
CDA member Murzuq Khalid Wahli echoed this statement by saying: “It’s very important for youth demands to be in the constitution as it will protect the interests of future generations. It’s important for youth to have their voices heard within the CDA. There was no focus on youth before, but now we’re seeing a lot more youth efforts and initiatives. We will defend their causes and ensure that they are given more attention.”
The youth activists will now commence a broad advocacy phase in Libya, consulting further with other youth as they step up their direct engagement with the CDA.