GALZ Statement on International Youth Day 2020


The world comes together on August 12th to celebrate International Youth Day.

The Zimbabwe Youth Policy sets its first goal as “To empower youth to participate and contribute to the
socio-economic development of the nation” which speaks to the theme of this year’s International Youth Day (Youth Engagement for Global Action). Zimbabwe is a signatory of the African Youth Charter, which underpins inclusion of young people in the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) during this Decade of Action.

With approximately 67.7% of Zimbabwe’s total population under the age of 35, the exclusion of youth at all levels of development poses a threat to national and global development. The majority of young people in their diversity including young LGBTI persons and those in the rural areas, are unemployed, unskilled and lack access to productive resources and are, therefore, socially and economically vulnerable to poverty and exploitation. The COVID-19 pandemic has further exacerbated these inequalities.

Youths in Zimbabwe have shown a desire to contribute meaningfully, becoming active through citizen
engagement and social activism, however, these have resulted in police brutality and denial of their right to freedom of expression including the right to fair hearing in court.

There is need for Zimbabwean youth to make their voices heard in national conversations, to ensure that the rights set out in the Constitution are upheld such as the right to access to healthcare, right to assemble, access to education and the right to participate freely in democratic processes such as voting and peaceful demonstration without fear.

Coming off the celebration of our country’s heroes who bravely fought for the country’s liberation, we affirm that those young people’s efforts were not, and should not be in vain.

GALZ calls upon the Government of Zimbabwe, complemented by the Non-Govermental Sector to encourage young peoples’ voices, actions and initiatives, as well as their meaningful, universal and equitable engagement.

Further GALZ calls upon LGBTI youth to assert their rights and demand meaningful, non-discriminatory involvement.

Let every young Zimbabwean enjoy the promise of a safer, brighter future. We aspire for a future where they can freely express the nuances of their beliefs, identities and values and in turn, share in a prosperous future in a more inclusive world.