Local EU Statement on the Occasion of the International Day of Democracy "Engaging Youth on Democracy" (15/09/2014)

The European Union Delegation issues the following statement in agreement with the European Union Heads of Mission in Yemen:

Today the world marks the International Day of Democracy with this year's important focus on "Engaging Young People on Democracy". In Yemen half the population is under the age of 15, and another one-third are between the ages of 15 and 29. Yemen's young people can no longer afford to wait as they aspire to a future with better opportunity and more prosperity. Yemen's young people call for a new Yemen where power and resources are shared equitably, where no longer one group or individuals impose their will by force on others.

Yemen stands out in the region for having led an inclusive National Dialogue, which lays the basis for a sound democratic process and peaceful conflict resolution. At this critical juncture, Yemen's young people need to see the outcomes of the National Dialogue Conference become tangible, so that they keep faith in democracy.

Preparations for the constitutional referendum and for transparent, credible elections must be accelerated to ensure a return to the timetable of the GCC Initiative and its Implementation Mechanism. The timely completion of these milestones is the foundation for building democratic, truly inclusive institutions.

Today, as we seek to engage Yemenis, particularly the youth, to pursue a democratic path, not walk away from it, all political forces must set aside their narrow interests. The EU condemns any acts aimed at undermining the GCC Initiative. Those engaged in armed confrontation must lay down their arms, surrender weapons seized from the regular forces and act in keeping with the law.

Democracy – representative government - is at the core of what the EU is about. We reaffirm our commitment to accompany and support Yemen in its endeavour towards democracy. It is high time that Yemen's different constituencies demonstrate a commitment to dialogue and effective reform on those issues that really matter to the Yemeni people: a better, more dignified life for all.