Youth in the region have been cautioned against ethnic divisions.
The remarks were made at a meeting bringing together about 80 youths from Rwanda and DR Congo, in Rubavu District, yesterday.
Officials said since some parents and leaders for long taught their children ethnic divisionism, it is prudent to educate them about cohesion.
Participants cited poverty, colonial history and negative ideology among the root causes of endless conflicts in the region, but pledged to take steps to address them.
Johnston Shara, from DR Congo, said the youth are key in peace building and reconciliation.
The youth forum was organised by Never Again Rwanda and DRC-based Pole Institute, in collaboration with different youth organisations.
It was held under the theme; “The role of the youth in consolidating capacities for peace.”
Epimac Nkunzurwanda, the representative the Economic Community of the Great Lakes Region (CEPGL), challenged the youth to be catalysts of peace building in the region.
“You are still young and energetic. Once you don’t promote peace now, your generation will suffer. But if you help reconcile your neighbors, you will live in peaceful region, and remember, once your neighbour suffers, the consequences affect you as well. When one country faces insecurity it affects its neighbors,” said Nkunzurwanda.
Immaculée Mukankubito, from Never Again Rwanda, told the youth that fostering peace starts from their homes and neighborhoods.
The participants shared ideas on the role of the youth in reconciliation and peace efforts in the Great Lakes Region and discussed major challenges to peace and social cohesion in the region.