Youth organisations in Yemen want a voice at the negociating table


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A a small, malnourished boy selling bags of lime at a traffic intersection while wearing a pro-government card saying "The People are lucky to have you, Mr. President".

Sana’a YEMEN – Youth civic action group Resonate! Yemen is hosting a roundtable meeting to advance the interests of youth and street activists in the current situation in Yemen. Together with the Bena’a Foundation for Development & Human Rights, Canari Centre for Cultural Development, and AlSaeedah Centre for Heritage, Culture and Arts, Resonate! Yemen will host leaders from the nation’s main independent youth coalitions in a session titled Political Influence of Youth: Reality and Aspirations.
“Traditional power centers in Yemen began negotiating transitional government terms without involving Yemen’s youth and we do not want our sacrifices to have been in vain.” says Basim Al-Hag, a youth protest leader. “We fear a return to the system that we have been fighting against – a system that centers on tribal influence and military power instead of civil institutions, democracy and the rule of law.”
The meeting will be held at the Yemeni Writers Union on Saturday, April 2, 2011. It begins at 9:00 a.m. and all interested parties are welcome to attend. A short workshop will take place and will aim at facilitating a common declaration, and a coordination mechanism for all coalitions to unite their goals and efforts.
“The youth of Yemen have an extraordinary opportunity here to take their rightful place at the decision-making table,” says Rafat Al-Akhali from Resonate! Yemen. “We need to build a consensus and common vision of what the youth representation should be.”
Participating coalitions already confirmed to attend include:

  • Civic Coalition of Revolutionary Youth
  • Coordinating Council of the Youth Revolution of Change
  • Civil Bloc
  • Coalition of Aden Youth groups

Several civil society organizations, international development agencies, Yemeni academics, and local and foreign diplomats will also be present to participate in discussions, build consensus and communicate a shared vision.
Resonate! Yemen is a volunteer-based youth initiative aiming to bring Yemen’s youth voice to public policy discourse. Launched in 2009, Resonate! Yemen takes action on issues of local, national and international significance. It creates opportunities for young Yemenis to experience policy and develop their civic leadership skills. Resonate! Yemen aims to engage the nation’s policy makers to accept youth as relevant and credible stakeholders in policy development. In Jan 2010, Resonate! Yemen succeeded in including the voice of Yemen’s youth in the Friends of Yemen Summit held in London, U.K. to discuss combating terrorism