Eastern Equatoria celebrates International Youth Day

12 Aug 2013

Eastern Equatoria celebrates International Youth Day

12 August 2013 – Youth had a vital role to play in South Sudan's future, a senior UNMISS official said today during a ceremony to mark International Youth Day in Eastern Equatoria State.

Addressing youth at Torit's Freedom Square, UNMISS State Coordinator Hiroko Mosko urged young people to develop initiatives that would make them productive and self-reliant.

"There are a lot of things you can do to make yourselves proud," said Ms. Mosko. "The future of the state and country is in your hands."

Deputy State Governor Jerome Gama Surur called on youth to desist from criminal activities and avoid being used by politicians.

Eastern Equatoria Youth Union President Emmanuel Lolimo asked the government to include youth in building their state and nation. He also called on his peers to embrace dialogue instead of confrontation.

"I implore you to maintain upright behavior, shun cultism and avoid all forms of social vices," he said.

Ahead of the official ceremony today, UNMISS staff joined dozens of youth in cleaning Torit's main market square on 10 August.

"This (shows) our love for our community and ... demonstrates that we are responsible and productive," said Mr. Lolimo.

This year's observance of International Youth Day focuses on youth migration. In a message to mark the Day, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon noted that young people constituted more than 10 per cent of the annual total of about 214 million international migrants.

"Poverty, crowded and unsanitary living conditions and the challenges of finding decent employment are regular features of the migrant experience," said Mr. Ban.

"It is important to emphasize the positive contribution young migrants make to societies of origin, transit and destination – economically and by enriching the social and cultural fabric. Most work hard to earn a living and improve their circumstances," he added.