On July 15th 2017, OYSU UK in collaboration with Conciliation Resources- a peacebuilding organisation based in London held a progress study on ‘Youth Peace and Security’. This was done within the UN framework of UN Security Council Resolution 2250 (2015) on Youth, Peace and Security (YPS), a Progress Study to document young people’s positive contributions to peace processes and conflict resolution; in order to recommend effective responses at local, national, regional and international levels. This study was based on a participatory research methodology in order to provide young people who would not ordinarily participate in global-level policy-making and strategy-development processes a chance to do so.
The Focus group discussion held with OYSU members from London, Birmingham and Manchester consisted of two sessions using guidance notices and questions provided by the UN. It was inclusive, accessible and offered a safe space for open communication and discussion. A number of key topics were covered such as what OYSU members believed to be the biggest challenges facing young people both inside and outside of the Ogaden region, state-sponsored violence, the use of propaganda to depict a warped perspective of the conflict and to mislead the
population and the international community as well as the lack of human rights in the region. Another topic of focus was the role of the UK government both historically and their funding of the Liyu Police £15 Million a year, according to the Global Peace Index, Ethiopia is the fastest deteriorating country; and questions were raised on what this meant for the future of the Ogaden and its people. Other topics included what OYSU members outside the region are doing in order to raise awareness, building networks with similar organisations and how to employ effective campaigning strategies on specific issues.
One of the OYSU participants from London shared his experiences about the event:
'I found both sessions to be incredibly productive and fulfilling from both an individual standpoint but also as a member of a collective. To connect with like minded people and openly discuss such potent issues, I feel, is an essential experience for any young Somali interested in the plight of their kinsmen back home'
OYSU UK hope to continue working with organisations such as Conciliation Resources and similar organisations. A final and published report based on the findings of the focus group sessions will be made available soon and will be shared with OYSU networks around the world. The findings of UN Security Council Resolution 2250 (including the outcome of OYSU’s study) will also be debated at the UN headquarters in New York, the dates of which will be shared once available.