Karenni Youth Call On Govt to Set Up Youth Affairs Ministry

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Karenni youth have said that they will demand that the new government set up a youth affairs ministry following the 2020 general elections.

The decision came at an ethnic youth conference held in Wan Ngor village in Karenni State’s Loikaw Township from March 16-18. It was attended by some 300 young people from the Kayah, Kayan, Kayaw, Kaw Kaw (Manu Manau), Yintalay, and Karen communities, as well as refugee community.

“Many people say that youth are important but neither Karenni State nor our country have any official department concerned with youth affairs,” Khu Ree Reh, a leading member of the Karenni State youth leadership committee. “If we have an issue concerning youth affairs, we cannot go to talk about and negotiate this issue. There is no official youth center.”

Khun Bee Htoo, chair of the Kayan National Party, said that his party would commit to forming a youth committee in government.

“If our party wins in the election and if we can join the Kayah State government, and if I am elected as chief minister of Kayah State, we will push to form a strong youth committee which can implement youth issues,” he said, adding that he “was sure” that they could allocate budget for such a committee even without a youth ministry as part of the current government structure.

Shwe Moe, a Yintalay youth, said that the country’s future depends on young people, so their demands should be taken seriously.

“The future of Burma is in the hands of the youth. Whatever government comes into power, we have to demand that they set up a youth affairs ministry which can promote the role of youth. That’s why we are demanding it,” he explained.

Participants in this week’s conference discussed issues including education, job opportunities, the fight against drug abuse, and politics. They also elected 21 people to form the Karenni State Youth Leadership Committee.

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