Ogaden Youth and Student Union (OYSU) is an international youth organization that advocates for the rights of the Somali people in the Ogaden region under Ethiopian occupation. OYSU has over 40 branches and hundreds of members all over the world.
OYSU was first established in June 27, 2010 in Copenhagen, Denmark with the aim of unifying all youth initiatives advocating for the rights of the Ogaden people. These included Ogaden Youth Network (OYN) based in North America, Ogaden Youth League (OYL) based in Europe, Ogaden Youth Forum (OYF) based in Australia, and Somali Ogaden Youth Alliance (SOYA) based in Africa. This unification occurred in with the aim of creating a single organization that would bring together all young people interested and passionate about the Ogaden cause.
During the first international conference Mujaahid Sheikh Ibrahim was elected as chairman, an action plan was created, and new bylaws were voted on. For the first several year, Mujaahid and his board focused on building the infrastructure of the organization. The board was successful in establishing new branches, enhancing communications, and leadership training for members.
In 2013, OYSU's second international conference was held in San Diego, California. The purpose of the conference was to bring together members from around the world and evaluate the work the organization had accomplished the last several years and to make new goals for the upcoming years. Mujaahid was reelected, a new action plan was voted on, and amendments were made to the bylaws. After some time, Mujahid stepped down from chairman and Jamaal Xukun was elected in his place. Between 2013- 2016 the organization focused on strengthening its partnerships with other organizations and capacity building.
In 2016, OYSU's third international conference was held in Frankfurt, Germany. During this conference Shaafi Shilaabo was elected as chairman, the action plan was radically changed, and amendments were made to the bylaws. Durning the last two years OYSU has focused advocacy. OYSU has engaged with EU institutions, local governmental institutions around the world, the United Nations and the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO). Most recently, OYSU members, participated in the Seventeenth Session of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues in New York.
We are excited to be celebrating our 8th anniversary. Members from around the world have been using the #WeAreOYSU to share what motivated them to join OYSU. Check out the slideshow below see their stories.
Thank you to all of our members that work tirelessly to advocate for human rights in the Ogaden.