Feature: Yemeni youth aspire to peace, development despite ongoing violence

Source: Xinhua| 2019-06-13 04:17:58|Editor: Mu Xuequan
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by Murad Abdo

ADEN, Yemen, June 12 (Xinhua) -- Despite years-long conflicts, many young Yemeni people are still actively engaged in their community, aspiring to permanent peace and development for their war-ravaged country.

In the southern port city of Aden, Yemen's temporary capital, many young people maintain a clear vision of what their country's situation should be, and of a future free of military conflicts and political divisions.

Voluntarily, some young people organized a cultural ceremony as the first event to promote peace, security, and development in the strategic port city of Aden and other neighboring provinces controlled by the Saudi-backed Yemeni government.

Members of the Yemeni Youth and Children's Government (YCG) based in Aden attended the cultural ceremony and spoke exclusively to Xinhua about their aspirations to peace, security, and development, following years of bloodshed as a result of the deadly fighting.

They said that the ongoing conflict created a lot of repercussions and countless obstacles that deprived many young people of shaping their country's future through peaceful contributions.

Yahya Tabaqy, minister of justice at the YCG, said that many young Yemenis are suffering from the impacts caused by years of the conflicts, raging between the Yemeni government forces and the Houthi rebels aligned with Iran.

"Many young people are suffering from psychological problems after their engagement in the armed confrontations and others joined illegal activities such as dealing with drugs," said Yahya.

"The Houthi militias are continuing using force and recruiting children who have no relationship to the ongoing conflict," he said.

He urged both warring factions in Yemen to engage in political negotiations to end the conflict that is in escalation in different parts of the impoverished Arab country.

Yemen's civil war that has been raging since 2015 caused one of the largest humanitarian crisis in the world in addition to destroying the country's infrastructure and historical landmarks.

Zayed Abdul-Hakim Mana, who is working as the country's minister of culture in the YCG, told Xinhua that the majority of Yemen's young people are really fed up with the constant violence.

"The military conflict created more divisions and even aimed at destroying Yemen's historical landmarks including the churches in Aden province and other old places," said Zayed.

"The conflicts led us into darkness and we got nothing good for the country except crises and hunger... Now we are trying to create some hopes through organizing such cultural activities," he added.

Despite the recent difficult circumstances under which they are living, the Yemeni young ministers launched several initiatives seeking to achieve peace and encourage the country's youth to positively participate in the development.

Sami Saeedy, minister of legal affairs at the YCG, told Xinhua that the situation in Yemen is so complex and has largely affected the country's youth.

"We, as representatives for the Yemeni youth, started creating some cultural activities and awareness campaigns to confront sectarianism and hatred beliefs in the society," said Sami.

The Houthis aligned with Iran launched a large military campaign and seized the capital Sanaa in late 2014, forcing Yemen's President Abdu-Rabbu Mansour Hadi and his government to flee into the southern port city of Aden.

Subsequently, the pro-Houthi forces backed by armored vehicles attacked Aden and shelled Hadi's Republican Palace, leading him to escape again into exile in neighboring Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia with other Arab countries intervened militarily and began pounding the Houthi-controlled capital Sanaa in March 2015 in response to an official public request from Hadi to protect Yemen and roll back Iran's influence.

The internal military conflict between the Iranian-backed Houthis and the Saudi-backed Yemeni government recently entered its fifth year, aggravating the suffering of Yemenis and deepening the world's worst humanitarian crisis in the country.

The ongoing fighting between the two warring rivals with daily Saudi-led airstrikes plunged the most impoverished Arab country in the Middle East into more chaos and violence.

Three-quarters of the population, or more than 22 million people, urgently require humanitarian help, including 8.4 million people who struggle to find their next meal.