Youth Treaty of Hope, Reconciliation and Peace
Drafted by: The Youth Ambassadors for Peace
Kiptere, Belgut, Sigowet Division, Kenya
The Youth Ambassadors of Peace assembled in order to state that they are dissatisfied with the current situation in Kenya.
We believe that there is an opportunity for change in our country, and that only by coming together is this change possible.
We believe that identification on tribal grounds is a relic of the past that only breeds division. To overcome such division, we seek a bright future that unites, rather than divides. Elections are a natural political process that must not tear this country apart when they occur, and it is the role of the youth to ensure that conflict does not strike this country again.
We believe that peace must first be found internally before it can be spread externally. Once peace is found inside the heart of every Kenyan, then conflict will become a distant memory.
We believe that peace is possible, and we believe that united as Kenyans in harmony, we will serve as a model for the African continent.
Part I: Goals and Visions
To unite Kenya, clear goals for the future must be established. There are a variety of visions for what the future holds, and the unifying factor in all these visions is the dream of a Kenya free from conflict.
We therefore declare:
- That communities in Kenya live in a peaceful and friendly manner by ensuring that,
- Each community will respect one another,
- Every person in a community has free movement within the community, surrounding communities, and the country,
- Any Kenyan can live and work anywhere they desire,
- Communities can choose a particular political party to support free from pressure, persuasion and manipulation,
- Communities have freedom of speech, and the ability to share their views, within the concept of freedom of expression, free from manipulation or pressure,
- We ignore issues like ethnicity and tribalism, and foster an atmosphere of coexistence and equality,
- That youths play a vital role in the peaceful future of this country, and we must ensure that,
- Youths are empowered and able to take on leadership roles in future elections to ensure that their voices are heard and accounted for,
- Youths make efforts to create work for themselves and others, to avoid the detrimental effects of idleness,
- Youths are elected to public office so that they can bring the voice of this majority to the official level,
- Youths are empowered to lead seminars, workshops, conferences, and activities to spread the messages of peace, reconciliation and harmony,
- Youths are also empowered to speak about the elements that harm society, such as manipulation, corruption and poverty, and take steps to ensure that there are mechanisms in place to protect against these elements,
- That diversity is a blessing that must be used to unite, rather than divide. What is important is that we recognize our shared values, and this is what makes us unique,
- That when any problems arise, they are confronted in a reasonable, civilized manner. People must come together at times of conflict, and solve issues amicably. Violence is never an option,
- Those who strive to bring peace to Kenya- peacemakers- must be role models in their day-to-day lives, and must embody the ideals of peace.
Part II: Definition of Peaceful Relations
To foster an atmosphere of peace, there must be a clear understanding of what peaceful relations are in Kenya. Clear definitions can foster clear roles and clear goals.
We therefore declare:
- That peaceful relations mean that people can travel and work freely throughout Kenya, by ensuring that,
- Exchanges of goods and ideas can occur without the need to consider a person’s particular tribe,
- There is no favouritism between tribes,
- Natural resources are equally shared,
- There is an effort to minimize the gap between rich and poor,
- There is full equality with regard to gender, tribe, age, and profession,
- Intermarriage is encouraged between tribes,
- People can express their legal rights in a safe atmosphere,
- Defensive attitudes are no longer employed by tribes, and that attitudes become inclusive, assuming only the best in others, not the worst,
- That elections must occur free from political patronage, bribery or manipulation, by ensuring that,
- Civic education occurs regularly, especially before a national election, and that this education teaches positive forms of expression and freedom,
- That we have a moral imperative to find compromise in situations that may otherwise end in violence, such as,
- Business transactions,
- Land disputes,
- Electoral results,
- That people must strive to find the value of the individual in the process of living together as Kenyans.
Part III: Regional Framework
An atmosphere of reconciliation must occur within a general framework, understanding that even though only some communities may be affected at a certain time, we are always connected to the rest of the country through a variety of elements. Understanding our role in this regional framework is essential.
We therefore declare:
- That education is of utmost importance, and that there is a reform to the education system, by ensuring that,
- There are national education units that address relevant issues for peace,
- There are all inclusive civic education projects that are funded by Non-Governmental Organizations,
- People have the ability to influence the way laws are created, and that these laws are geared towards national cohesion and peace-building through affirmative action,
- That issues that affect one part of the country easily affect other parts of the country, such as,
- That each part of the country has a chance to assess their goals and visions to create a united goal of peace,
- That the media is utilized responsibly to ensure accountability and enlightenment free from bias, and to ensure that local governments are truly working for the people,
- That religious mechanisms are utilized to spread ideas of unity and togetherness, and that ideally, religious leaders will be politically neutral in their message.
Part IV: Rehabilitation
Previous conflicts have left many affected by the results of war. It is up to us, as peacemakers and visionaries of the future, to ensure that those who require assistance, are cared for, and those who can help, do help.
We therefore declare:
- That rehabilitation efforts are made to better the situation of Internally Displaced Persons (“IDPs”), fighting communities, women who lost husbands or children in the conflict, and children who lost parents or guardians in the conflict, by ensuring that,
- Trauma counseling is available for everyone who feels they require it, to discuss what they experienced, what they saw, and what they did during the conflict,
- IDPs are welcomed back into their various communities, that we seek their forgiveness, that we help rebuild what was taken from them, and that we demand that the government helps reimburse these costs,
- There are sports events and national prayers for reconciliation throughout the country,
- There is a national holiday established for IDPs so that we will forever remember what happened and work towards a brighter future,
- We establish a National Reconciliation Movement, as well as a National Forgive and Forget Movement,
- There is a Mercy Train effort, that collects donations for the poor, such as food and supplies, and delivers these goods to those who need it most,
- There are fundraising efforts throughout the country to help ensure that people who feel the effects of war feel that they still belong to the community, and that these efforts are done by Non-Governmental Organizations, not the government,
- There is always a form of human contact for those affected by war, either by utilizing the Church mechanism or other social mechanisms as human contact is a supremely valuable commodity that cannot be lost as a result of war,
- That government sponsorship is available to help rebuild communities, but that this sponsorship comes with full representation of all aspects of society, and aids people from all tribes and both genders,
- That sports and entertainment programs are regularly held to unite communities,
- That intermarriage is encouraged,
- That former enemies will endeavour to work together through joint ventures, whether they are social, economic or religious.
Part V: Peace-Building
Peace-building is a critical element of moving forward and creating peace. We affirm that peace-building is the effort to build bridges and links between communities that require these links to thrive, and we endeavour to create these links in the most productive manner possible. These efforts should harmonize youths nationally, and should spread the word that there is a “Youth Ethnicity” which is an extremely valuable commodity for moving forward.
We therefore declare:
- That workshops are held throughout the country to bring tribes together in order to help understand the similarities and differences of all Kenyans, and that our collective experience is used to guide the future,
- That mobile clinics are created to share the achievements of communities with successful efforts to build peaceful connections, and that these clinics help facilitate,
- Cultural events for people to highlight the traditions of their own communities, and cultural centers to hold these events,
- Forums for peace dialogue,
- The creation of youth centers in each community,
- Educational programs that stress the importance of individuals, communities, and civic education,
- Remembrance programs, so that we never forget what happened so that it does not happen again,
- Events that stress the ideas of shared values,
- Movies, music events, festivals, and methods of artistic expression to demonstrate how peace can be achieved,
- That efforts must be made to utilize the United Nations International Day of Peace, September 21, to spread the message of peace throughout the country,
- That creativity and innovation should always be encouraged since any minor idea can become an idea that may set us on a successful path to peace.
Part VI: Creating a Culture of Peace
We believe that in order for a long lasting peace to thrive in our country, efforts must be taken to ensure that a culture of peace is created. There are a variety of aspects to this culture of peace, and we believe that they stem from a number of factors. We believe that it is important to smile and greet other members of society, regardless of their background. We believe that we must respect every community’s culture, and accept, appreciate and admire that culture. We must act as role models who embody the ideals of peace, and we must believe in peace with all our hearts, and this belief should be embraced and implemented through positive programs. We must also embrace the idea that for the country to survive, we must believe that we can all live together in peace, solve problems together, believe in our commonality, and express daily our national identity. Coexistence is an important value that must never be lost sight of, and we must always believe, as a country, that we are all Kenyans.
Part VII: Security and Implementation
To ensure that this treaty is adhered to and implemented, we must create awareness through civic education efforts that eradicate stereotypes, prejudice, and negative presumptions. We believe that there must also be education efforts about how artistic expression can lead to peaceful expression, and that this expression is always valued over violence. There should be efforts to educate about weapons safety, and we believe that citizens should be able to turn over weapons to the proper authorities free from risk of detention or fines. We wish to create positive relationships with politicians, so that our dreams can be expressed in ways that can perhaps turn into official policy, and hope that politicians reciprocate this goodwill. Finally, we will endeavour to create a mentorship program, so that those who lack guidance can find that guidance through community leaders. We also believe in a culture of “Just Say No to War.” We believe that these efforts will lead to the full implementation of this agreement, and we believe that as a result, peace is on the horizon.
Signed, this day, the 17th of May, 2009