FESTU Statement on National Youth Day

The Federation of Somali Trade Unions (FESTU) salutes the youth of Somalia on this National Youth Day, 15 May, 73rd anniversary of the establishment of Somali Youth League, which led nation’s path to independence & freedom.

What first motivated the historic youth uprising that started on 15 May 1943 must never be forgotten. It was far more than a mere rejection of colonisation. It represented a true determination to liberate and unshackle the people and the Somali nation.

The 1943-generation was a hero generation whose fearless confrontation with the colonial forces paved the way for the freedom and independence we enjoy today. And the 1943-generation has been followed by further hero generations, each one in turn bravely taking up the progressive tasks of its day.

FESTU is a home for the youth. The liberation struggle is not only for people whose youth is behind them. Trade unions have no choice but to fight for the demands of youth – for decent jobs, for dignity, for culture, for peace and for justice, because the youth of today are our future.

Youth of the country face the hopelessness and alienation of unemployment, which affects youth more then any other section of society. Unemployment demoralises young people; it crushes their aspirations for a better future; it pushes them to be tools for extremists, militia groups, warlords and terrorists; it lowers their self-respect. It must be ended as a matter of the highest priority. FESTU rejects policies that fail to place youth employment as the absolute priority and measure of success and failure.

Some government policies that encourage businesses actually lead to worker displacement, super-exploitation and an attack on decent work. Even when some youngsters are employed, these young workers are more likely to be in informal, contract and part-time employment, with insecure jobs.

Current situation continues to deny the Somali youth the fruits of their political and economic liberation. So long as we have massive levels of youth unemployment and the consequent poverty and lack of opportunity, the youth cannot be truly free. It is the mission of today’s generation to change all this.

We are sitting on a ticking time bomb of youth unemployment, poverty and mounting impatience. We call on young people to use this day as a day to come together to fight the scourge of poverty, unemployment, inequality and insecurity.

FESTU is part of the youth, and the youth is part of FESTU. We are going to win this one, together.

Happy youth day to all young people of Somalia!

Mr. Omar Faruk Osman
General Secretary
Federation of Somali Trade Unions (FESTU)

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