International Youth Day did not come to Egypt

38

The world celebrates International Youth Day on August 12 every year to draw the international community’s attention to youth issues and celebrate the youth’s potential as partners in the global community, as UNESCO said. International Youth Day is a means to consider the status of Egyptian youth, who are experiencing their worst period during the past seven years, in which they have suffered from severe political, economic, and social problems. Although the Egyptian youth won the confidence and admiration of the whole world after their widespread participation in the 25 January 2011 revolution and their ability to bring about change, the consequences were terrible for them. According to observers, young people in Egypt are paying the price for their dreams, ambitions, and bringing about change in the January revolution and its aftermath. Opponents say that the ruling regime after the military coup in 2013 held the youth accountable for what they did and took revenge on them.

International Youth Day

On December 17 1999 the United Nations General Assembly Resolution 54/120 decided that August 12 would be declared World Youth Day according to the recommendation made by the World Conference of Ministers Responsible for Youth (Lisbon, 8-12 August 1998). The General Assembly recommended organising activities in support of this day to enhance awareness of the World Programme of Action for Youth, which was adopted by the General Assembly in its resolution 81/50 in 1996.

The celebration comes at a time when more than 40,000 young people in Egypt are behind bars and inside detention centres, and most of them have suffered enforced disappearance and torture in camps, police stations, and the National Security Headquarters. Outside prisons, university students face movement restrictions and a ban on student activities, which had the most significant impact on the reluctance of young people to participate in the elections and community activities. From the social point of view, young people are frustrated and some of them have turned to drugs and struggle to get married. Egypt currently has record-high divorce rates.

According to reports by human rights organisations, the Egyptian authorities have arrested more than 40,000 young people, 90 per cent of whom are under the age of 30. Meanwhile, the authorities have executed young people during the past years in cases not based on evidence. Besides, many young people in Egypt disappear in mysterious circumstances. The disappeared usually appear after a long time in police stations after they have been arrested on the street, at the university, or even while eating dinner with friends.

Human rights defenders demand to end the overcrowding of Egyptian prisons with thousands of young people with different orientations and opinions on political charges, fake cases, and confessions extracted under torture.

Economic and social conditions

In terms of economic conditions, many Egyptian youths lost their jobs due to the corona pandemic and the ruling regime prohibiting government appointments, public sector companies and public works, and the decline in private sector business. In its plan for 2020/2021, the government estimated that unemployment rates would rise to nine per cent in the year 2019/2020, and would continue to grow with the consequences of the corona crisis, reaching 10 per cent in 2020/2021.

One study showed that 84 per cent of young people under 35 years of age want to emigrate and that 58 per cent of young people under the age of 28 do not consider marriage due to financial poverty. Meanwhile, the Central Agency for Public Mobilisation and Statistics data indicates that the number of marriage contracts decreased in 2019, compared to 2018 by 8,017 contracts, down to 879,298 contracts, while divorce rates reached their highest levels in more than half a century.

Studies also revealed that 46 per cent of newly married young men do not want to have children in the first year of marriage, and 62 per cent of girls under 28-years of age do not accept marriage with people on a low income.