Al Manthari, keynote speaker at Regional conference on Youth right to political Participation
07 Dec 2020
Hon.Dr.Rayya Salim Said Al Manthari, Member of the State Council Member and representative of the Arab Group, participated through virtual meeting in the Forum of Young Parliamentarians at the Inter-Parliamentary Union, today in the regional conference on "Youth's Right in Political Participation" organized by the Regional Office for the Middle East and North Africa of the High Commissioner to the United Nations for Human Rights.
The conference discussed a number of developmental, social and other issues related to youth participation in public affairs and decision-making processes. The discussion session reflected the experiences of youth representatives, parliamentarians and human rights experts, in which Hon.Dr.Rayya presented an overview of the Inter-Parliamentary Union and its strong interest and care for youth to enable the strengthening of their political participation She noted the role of the Young Parliamentarians Forum which it plays to lead work towards strengthening participation of Young people in parliaments, help to ensure that young parliamentarians play active role in parliamentary work and reach out to the youth and get closer to their ideas.
Hon.Dr.Rayya emphasized the importance of the political participation of youth and women as one of the basic pillars of inclusive governance and a right that must be fulfilled. She explained in this regard that although political and social transformations usually begin with the youth, through their participation in public life or through social media, and some institutions have not enabled this in some countries of the world thus marginalizing the role of youth, who lose confidence in these institutions.
The forum deals with the most important economic and social challenges facing young people in the world, and thus the necessity to represent the needs of these young people at the political level, and to push the agenda of the political rights of the youth to overcome these challenges through concerted efforts, adopting new ideas and moving forward to make a difference and change the method of work to make the political participation of young people effective and serious.
Underscoring the efforts and measures taken by the Inter-Parliamentary Union and parliaments under its banner in integrating youth and empowering young parliamentarians and opening parliaments for them, she said they include: Adopting decisions and initiatives on youth participation, such as the "Youth Movement", which celebrates the union this year, the tenth anniversary of this initiative, the inauguration of the Young Parliamentarians Forum, the organization of several international conferences for young parliamentarians, the work to collect data on the contribution of young people in national parliaments globally and the provision of necessary guidance in the field of policy-making and other measures, calling on all parliaments and governments and political parties to take the necessary legal and policy measures to enhance youth participation.
Hon.Dr.Rayya touched on youth issues in the Middle East and North Africa, which are of particular importance due to the high percentage of youth in this region, and thus the increasing urgency to find pathways for the youth - especially young women - to engage in politics and contribute to making decisions that affect the future direction associated with them. She explained that investing in education is one of the most important means to achieve this goal, including political education, and emphasized the need for youth to become a major component of decision-making in the region.
Hon.Dr.Rayya reviewed the Sultanate’s experience in the field of caring for the youth, the gains made by Omani youth in the social, political and developmental fields and its experience as a representative of youth and parliamentarians in the Sultanate by saying: “The Sultanate’s leadership pays great attention to youth, and the institutions concerned with the youth sector in the Sultanate have multiplied, the most significant of recent time being the National Youth Commission (NYC). It includes 28 members from various sectors, not exceeding 40 years of age. I was honored to work with NYC as its Vice President for a period of three years from 2012 to 2015, before I gained the confidence of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said (may God have mercy on him) by appointing me as a member of the State Council in early 2016, followed by renewal of another term renewed in November 2019 for four years. NYC opened the way for me to approach the youth sector and know their aspirations and challenges and at the same time benefit from their energy and skills in everything that achieves the objectives of the commission and pushes the national development process forward.”
Speaking about the Omani Majlis A’Shura, the elected council, she said it includes among its members in the current period at least 26.7% of youth between the ages of 30-40 years, which confirms that the Omani society places full confidence in this vital sector, which is also a priority for various countries globally. The Youth and Human Resources Committee is one of the most important committees of Majlis A’Shura that is dedicated to youth issues and challenges.
Adding further she said, “Sultanate few years back added the student advisory councils, under the umbrella of higher education institutions, and aimed at promoting electoral culture among young students for them to know the experience of candidacy and election in detail, and lead these councils and become members and represent a direct communication bridge between students and the administration of higher education institutions. The members of these councils formed by young students are responsible for communicating the student’s voice, aspirations and challenges on various aspects related to their academics and they contribute to proposing solutions and supervise their implementation.
Further on she said, “His Majesty Sultan Haitham bin Tariq (may God preserve and protect him) assumed power in the country; interest in the youth sector was strengthened by the establishment of the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Youth, led by the youngest minister HH Sayyid Theyazin bin Haitham Al Said. His Majesty the Sultan (may God protect him) in his speech delivered on February 23, stressed on his interest in youth, and that they will be given great care, and their aspirations and needs will be listened to. This confirms that the renaissance march in Oman is proceeding according to a supportive approach to youth, which recognizes their valuable energy and capabilities, and recognizes the challenges facing this sector that will be addressed.
Hon.Dr.Rayya concluded her speech after she addressed several measures that would contribute to enhancing the political participation of youth and affirmed that the International Parliamentary Union's call to empower parliamentarians, especially young women who face special challenges, through capacity-building efforts and opening the doors for them to assume leadership positions.
It is noteworthy that the two-day conference aims to enhance the participation of young men and women in the Arab region in public affairs, by developing the knowledge and skills of the participants in representation and the ability to participate in decision-making processes, drawing the country's public policies, and providing a platform to share and exchange experiences, information, good practices, review the challenges and lessons learned regarding their right to participate in decision-making, in addition to issuing a set of recommendations and proposals directed to the concerned authorities, including the legislative and executive authorities.