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Art for change is an arts event that aims at celebrating and appreciating at work that has a positive impact to the society. This first of its kind event Targets young people with artistic skills and are focused to making positive change in the society. art is a strong tool that can be used to advance positive change. If well nurtured and appreciated then it can transform our society. More »


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Category Archives: Voices of the Youth



Tribalism and Democracy

Africa’s democratic transition is back in the spotlight. The concern is no longer the stranglehold of autocrats, but the hijacking of the democratic process by tribal politics.(BBC)

Arbitrary Arrest of Rights Activists on the Rise:the story of Abubakr

youth voices

After the split of South Sudan in 2011, Human Rights Violations rates in Sudan skyrocketed. Humanitarian organizations were kicked out on claims of espionage and sympathizing with rebels, and the paranoid government imposed stricter sanctions on media houses and civil society groups. Security agents were trained in the thousands, blending in youth, political or civil society rallies and weeding out those assumed to be spearheading the campaigns to initiate change.

The situation became exceptionally dangerous for journalists , activists and political leaders whose views were not aligned with government interest, as they were arrested and arbitrarily detained and sometimes even tortured to stop what was deemed anti-government and unpatriotic calls

One young man whom we shall name Abubakr, recently fell in with the NIS agents and narrated the following story .

shadow-of-a-friend-843132-mHe had traveled to a nearby east African country to undertake an short course in English, upon his return to Khartoum, the young man who felt energized continued his activism in the streets, universities and youth clubs on corruption and democracy.

Unknown to him, Abubakr had already become a target of the intelligence service.An active member of Girifna He was arbitrarily detained no his way to visit his mother in one of the towns in Eastern Sudan.

After three days of extensive interrogation, torture both physically and emotionally. Abubakr who was told “How do you think a black personal like you can one day rule,” and “stay where you belong and stop dreaming.”

He was however released after he was issued an ultimatum to either sign an apology letter stating he would not speak against the government or face continued imprisonment.

Now Abubakr is free, attending more human rights workshops and avid activist.

When speaking to AYID Abubakr said,” I will continue doing my part, only then can I feel content with myself.”


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by Amnesty International

UA: 136/14 Index: AFR 54/008/2014 Sudan Date: 21 May 2014



Three Sudanese student activists have been detained without charge in Khartoum since 12 May after being arrested outside their university by security forces. They are at risk of torture and other ill-treatment.

Mohamed Salah Mohamed Abdelrahman is a graduate from the Faculty of Science of the University of Khartoum, Moamar Musa Mohamed and Taj Alsir Jaafar are students from the same university. They were arrested separately outside their university during the afternoon of 12 May. Mohamed Salah Abdelrahman was leaving the university, when a pick-up truck with men in civilian clothing reportedly stopped and arrested him. The same afternoon, Moamar Musa Mohamed and Taj Alsir Jaafar were also detained after leaving the university. When Mohamed Salah Mohamed Abdelrahman’s family inquired about his whereabouts at the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) office, they were informed that he was detained in the political division of a prison in Bahri, a neighbourhood of Khartoum. When Taj Alsir Jaafar’s family contacted the NISS office to ask where he was, they were told that they should file a visit request after 15 days. The family tried to give the NISS medication that Taj Alsir Jaafar needs, but the security agents refused to take it.

All three are prominent student activists and were involved in protests at the University of Khartoum in late March 2014 in response to the death of Ali Abaker Mussa Idris, a student who was shot dead by security forces at a demonstration on 11 March. Both Mohamed Salah Abdelrahman and Taj Alsir Jaafar were detained and released without charge multiple times for participating in student protests and for their activities as student activists. Mohamed Salah Mohamed Abdelrahman was previously detained without charge in June 2012, and more recently in March 2014 at Khartoum airport while waiting for his flight to Tunisia, where he was going to participate in a workshop. He was released on 7 April. Taj Al Sir Jaafar was previously detained without charge in 2009, and twice in 2011.

There are credible fears that Mohamed Salah Abdelrahman, Moamar Musa Mohamed and Taj Alsir Jaafar may be at risk of torture or ill-treatment. The Sudanese authorities must either charge them with a recognizable offence and grant them a fair trial, or immediate released them.

Please write immediately in Arabic, English or your own language:

Urging the authorities to ensure that Mohamed Salah Mohamed Abdelrahman, Moamar Musa Mohamed, Taj Alsir Jaafar are either charged with a recognizable offence or are immediately and unconditionally released;

Calling on the authorities to reveal the location of Taj El Sir Jaafar and Moamar Musa Mohamed, and give all three detainees access to lawyers, to medical treatment and to their families;

Urging them to ensure that the detainees are not subjected to torture or any ill-treatment.



Minister of Justice

Mohamed Bushara Dousa

Ministry of Justice,

PO Box 302 Al Nil Avenue

Khartoum, Sudan


Fax: + 249 183 791544

Salutation: Your Excellency

Minister of Foreign Affairs

Ali Ahmed Karti

Ministry of Foreign Affairs

PO Box: 302, Republic Street



Fax: + 249 183 772941

Democracy consists of four basic element

My Effect 7


Democracy consists of four basic elements:

My Effect 7

  I want to begin with an overview of what democracy is.  We can think of democracy as a system of government with four key elements:

  1. A political system for choosing and replacing the government through free and fair elections.

2.  The active participation of the people, as citizens, in politics and civic life. 3.  Protection of the human rights of all citizens. 4.  A rule of law, in which the laws and procedures apply equally to all citizens. I want to talk about each of these four elements of what democracy is.  Then I will talk about the obligations and requirements of citizens in a democracy. Then I will conclude by talking about the obligations that we, the international community, have to the people of Iraq as you seek to build the first true democracy in the Arab world. I.  Democracy as a Political System of Competition for Power Democracy is a means for the people to choose their leaders and to hold their leaders accountable for their policies and their conduct in office. The people decide who will represent them in parliament, and who will head the government at the national and local levels.  They do so by choosing between competing parties in regular, free and fair elections. Government is based on the consent of the governed. In a democracy, the people are sovereign—they are the highest form of political authority. Power flows from the people to the leaders of government, who hold power only temporarily. Laws and policies require majority support in parliament, but the rights of minorities are protected in various ways. The people are free to criticize their elected leaders and representatives, and to observe how they conduct the business of government. Elected representatives at the national and local levels should listen to the people and respond to their needs and suggestions. Elections have to occur at regular intervals, as prescribed by law.  Those in power cannot extend their terms in office without asking for the consent of the people again in an election. For elections to be free and fair, they have to be administered by a neutral, fair, and professional body that treats all political parties and candidates equally. All parties and candidates must have the right to campaign freely, to present their proposals to the voters both directly and through the mass media. Voters must be able to vote in secret, free of intimidation and violence. Independent observers must be able to observe the voting and the vote counting to ensure that the process is free of corruption, intimidation, and fraud. There needs to be some impartial and independent tribunal to resolve any disputes about the election results. This is why it takes a lot of time to organize a good, democratic election. Any country can hold an election, but for an election to be free and fair requires a lot of organization, preparation, and training of political parties, electoral officials, and civil society organizations who monitor the process. II.  Participation:  The Role of the Citizen in A Democracy The key role of citizens in a democracy is to participate in public life. Citizens have an obligation to become informed about public issues, to watch carefully how their political leaders and representatives use their powers, and to express their own opinions and interests. Voting in elections is another important civic duty of all citizens. But to vote wisely, each citizen should listen to the views of the different parties and candidates, and then make his or her own decision on whom to support. Participation can also involve campaigning for a political party or candidate, standing as a candidate for political office, debating public issues, attending community meetings, petitioning the government, and even protesting. A vital form of participation comes through active membership in independent, non-governmental organizations, what we call “civil society.” These organizations represent a variety of interests and beliefs:  farmers, workers, doctors, teachers, business owners, religious believers, women, students, human rights activists. It is important that women participate fully both in politics and in civil society. This requires efforts by civil society organizations to educate women about their democratic rights and responsibilities, improve their political skills, represent their common interests, and involve them in political life. In a democracy, participation in civic groups should be voluntary.  No one should be forced to join an organization against their will. Political parties are vital organizations in a democracy, and democracy is stronger when citizens become active members of political parties. However, no one should support a political party because he is pressured or threatened by others.  In a democracy, citizens are free to choose which party to support. Democracy depends on citizen participation in all these ways.  But participation must be peaceful, respectful of the law, and tolerant of the different views of other groups and individuals.   III.  The Rights of Citizens in a Democracy In a democracy, every citizen has certain basic rights that the state cannot take away from them. These rights are guaranteed under international law. You have the right to have your own beliefs, and to say and write what you think. No one can tell you what you must think, believe, and say or not say There is freedom of religion.  Everyone is free to choose their own religion and to worship and practice their religion as they see fit. Every individual has the right to enjoy their own culture, along with other members of their group, even if their group is a minority There is freedom and pluralism in the mass media. You can choose between different sources of news and opinion to read in the newspapers, to hear on the radio, and to watch on television. You have the right to associate with other people, and to form and join organizations of your own choice, including trade unions. You are free to move about the country, and if you wish, to leave the country. You have the right to assemble freely, and to protest government actions. However, everyone has an obligation to exercise these rights peacefully, with respect for the law and for the rights of others. IV.  The Rule of Law Democracy is a system of rule by laws, not by individuals. In a democracy, the rule of law protects the rights of citizens, maintains order, and limits the power of government. All citizens are equal under the law.  No one may be discriminated against on the basis of their race, religion, ethnic group, or gender. No one may be arrested, imprisoned, or exiled arbitrarily. If you are detained, you have the right to know the charges against you, and to be presumed innocent until proven guilty according to the law. Anyone charged with a crime has the right to a fair, speedy, and public trial by an impartial court. No one may be taxed or prosecuted except by a law established in advance. No one is above the law, not even a king or an elected president. The law is fairly, impartially, and consistently enforced, by courts that are independent of the other branches of government. Torture and cruel and inhumane treatment are absolutely forbidden. The rule of law places limits on the power of government. No government official may violate these limits. No ruler, minister, or political party can tell a judge how to decide a case. Office holders cannot use their power to enrich themselves.  Independent courts and commissions punish corruption, no matter who is guilty. V.  The Limits and Requirements for Democracy If democracy is to work, citizens must not only participate and exercise their rights.  They must also observe certain principles and rules of democratic conduct. People must respect the law and reject violence.  Nothing ever justifies using violence against your political opponents, just because you disagree with them. Every citizen must respect the rights of his or her fellow citizens, and their dignity as human beings. No one should denounce a political opponent as evil and illegitimate, just because they have different views People should question the decisions of the government, but not reject the government’s authority. Every group has the right to practice its culture and to have some control over its own affairs, but each group should accept that it is a part of a democratic state. When you express your opinions, you should also listen to the views of other people, even people you disagree with.  Everyone has a right to be heard. Don’t be so convinced of the rightness of your views that you refuse to see any merit in another position.   Consider different interests and points of view. When you make demands, you should understand that in a democracy, it is impossible for everyone to achieve everything they want Democracy requires compromise.  Groups with different interests and opinions must be willing to sit down with one another and negotiate. In a democracy, one group does not always win everything it wants.  Different combinations of groups win on different issues.  Over time, everyone wins something. If one group is always excluded and fails to be heard, it may turn against democracy in anger and frustration. Everyone who is willing to participate peacefully and respect the rights of others should have some say in the way the country is governed. VI.  What the International Community Owes Iraqi Democracy I want to conclude with a few words about what we in the United States and other democracies around the world owe the Iraqi people, as you seek to build the first true Arab democracy. I know some of you fear that we will abandon Iraq, and your effort to build democracy, when Iraqis regain their sovereignty on July 1. I want to tell you from my deepest conviction, this will not happen. We have all sacrificed together to give the people of Iraq this opportunity to live in freedom. For this just cause, the blood of many nations has been spilled on this soil. People in the United States are still divided about whether we should have gone to war in Iraq. But the overwhelming majority of Americans support what we are trying to do here now to assist the emergence of a new Iraq. We in the United States, and in the international community, are going to spend more money and energy to help you build a democracy and rebuild your economy than we have spent to help any other country in the last fifty years. Over the coming months and years, this assistance will help you develop your political parties and civic organizations, your legislatures and local governments, your elections and your courts. copy by African Youth initiative For Democracy We will be your partners for many years to come.

” Democracy is, in essence, a form of government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised directly by the people or by their elected agents under a free electoral system.”

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Nininahazwe Desire, is a young African youth from Burundi, the  humble Information Technology expert is a prominent youth leader who has a way with words and a strong advocate in non-violent conflict resolution and the power of youth political participation.
The concept of democracy
is a polysemous concept. There is no definition that would avoid the “Cartesian doubt”, that is to say a clear and distinct definition.

Democracy can take many forms. Indeed the form of democracy practiced in England is different from that practiced in Belgium.
But the essential definition of a healthy and functioning democracy is that Abraham Lincoln: “A government by and for the people

Democracy is, in essence, a form of government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised directly by the people or by their elected agents under a free electoral system.”

“Democracy ensures equality and justice for all, knowing that empowers us with knowledge on our rights as youth, as a people , as a nation.”


10371492_10152429383008604_4941617536930219228_nLionel Nintereste is a quite young man from Burundi, the passion that consumes him once he talks about youth comes as a huge surprise.

“Democracy ensures equality and justice for all, knowing that empowers us with knowledge on our rights as youth, as a people , as a nation.”

The young man is currently incarcerated for his loud political views on democracy, when not in detention Lionel works as a chief receptionist at a leading hotel in Bujumbura.He is an active member of the East African Youth Forum and an avid activist on equality and justice.

“Governments should be democratic, there should ensure equality , the government should provide necessary services like hospitals, schools e.t.c, And we the citizens will pick it up from there,”`



“We have to play our role to ensure there is democracy , using non-violent means.our leadership too should stop being self centered and focus on the needs of the people.
Ayub  Daniel currently works as an horticulturist in Arusha, Despite scoring grades that could have him join any university of his choice, the economic crisis affected his sponsor who was unable to continue funding his education.He is a human rights activist and plans to become a geologist in the future.

“What is democracy, i don’t know what democracy is, what i know is that democracy means self reliance,” said 27 years Tumanini Daniel when asked on her knowledge of democracy.


She is a fiery young woman who welcome you with a hearty smile, is a few minutes we were able to learn her story.Tumanini dropped out of school when she was 12 years old in her sixth year primary school.She like many Tanzanian youth from poor background went out in search of a job and landed the current one which she has been holding for the past 11 years.

What is democracy, i don’t know what democracy is, what i know is that democracy  means self reliance,” said 27 years Tumanini Daniel when asked on her knowledge of democracy.Tumaini_n

“Here in Tanzanian all the youth work, and rely on themselves because jobs are scarce and everyday there are more graduates, you cannot secure a job without a reference no matter how small the job,”she adds.

“Even if you want to be a cleaner at a hotel you must have connections.”
The job she holds was not by choice but she has come to understand it, however since she is an employee the money she earns is very little.She describes her pay as too little, it is just something to keep busy with.

Tumainis’ story mirrors the life of thousands of youth across Africa who have zero or a distorted perception of what democracy is.After being alighted by AYID on what democracy is and its core principles Tumanini has vowed to spread the word to her peers and start the dialogue.



This photograph was taken in displaced persons camps in Darfur



A revolution of intellectual youth is an inevitable paradigm shift, it is a slow but sure start,” Nepo.



He strides for the interview in long graceful strides,  Rwema Sibomana Jean Nepo is a young African man from Rwanda with an authoritative aura about him.His serious looks softens when asked about his childhood.

years later the survivor of the Rwandan genocide is a strong advocate of Non-violent conflict resolution , an active member of the Rwandan Youth Action Network and  a serious believer in the power of organized youth.

Nepo is a born leader and a force to reckon with and will be starring in a documentary film under production by African Youth Initiative for Democracy.

“ we (youth) can contribute to the upbringing of a new generation in Africa that believes in democracy,respect for human rights, sustainable development and the fight against corruption,” El-Sir.


El-Sir Elsharief is a Sudanese Human rights activist working  in several human rights organizations as well as the civil society .He currently  residence in the Republic of Mali – Bamako,where he spearheads a social media campaign on democracy and human rights .



A380170_3086922135079_309184363_n1fter 20 years of democracy, South Africans celebrate that human rights have been realized and that society is transforming. While there is strong disappointment with the government and its leaders, South Africans retain their faith in the democratic system and do not transfer their discontent to the African National Congress (ANC). These are among the key findings of Freedom House’s study of South African democracy, conducted through 27 moderated focus groups convened between June and October 2013 that included South Africans from all racial and income groups and from rural as well as urban areas.

African youth