The United Nations has called attention to the wave of attacks in South Africa targeting foreigners living in the country. The attacks in South Africa have spawned calls for retaliation on South African businesses and nationals in Nigeria. The UN news site, the UN Dispatch, reports that youth groups have been the major drivers in this violence, and it goes on to quote an open letter by Ugandan youth leader and Tutu Fellow Victor Ochen. In his open letter, Ochen says that while the youth have been at the center of the attacks, they can also be part of the solution. He called on youth leaders in Africa to embrace non-violence.
In his open letter, Ochen acknowledges the frustrations of young people across Africa. He says that the indignity of unemployment, refugee and asylum situations, structural inequality, inherited grievances and cycles of violence and poverty places a heavy burden on young people across the continent. He points out that the use of violence provides a route to instability that will tear apart Africa and the building blocks of prosperity.
The Nobel Peace Prize nominee and Global Advisor to the UNHCR on Gender, Forced Displacement and Protection, pointed out that Africa is both the youngest continent on Earth and also that many young people will leave their homes to go elsewhere. Ochen called on governments to implement policies that respond to the needs of their people and which will create opportunities for young people to reach their dreams.
The full piece by Mark Leon Goldberg, the Managing Editor of the UN Dispatch, as well as Victor's open letter, can be read at the Dispatch website.