Real lives

Real lives

 

Children take initiative, asking questions to politicians in the State Parliament

© UNICEF/BHG2009
Children presented five key issues: respect for and the knowledge of child conventions, participation of children, peace building, lack of opportunities for learning and peer violence.

About 40 children from all over Bosnia and Herzegovina presented local politicians their needs and problems and asked dozens of questions about education, health care, culture and sports during the Open Dialogue between children, parliamentarians and representatives of the executive authority. The discussion was organized by UNICEF, Save the Children and the Joint Commission for Human Rights, Rights of the Child, Youth, Immigration, Refugees, Asylum and Ethics of the Parliamentary Assembly of BiH. The five key issues of children and all questions raised during discussions will be forwarded to the Council of Ministers.

Before they asked the first question, students asked the politicians to respond sincerely and concretely and to believe in their capacities.

At the open dialogue between children, parliamentarians and representatives of executive authorities of Bosnia and Herzegovina, a 13-year-old Kenan Hadžirović from Sarajevo asked the government representatives whether free sports training and cultural events could help children as they grow up, and in particular how to help the education of the Roma children. The event was held in the Blue Hall of the Parliament of BiH, organized by the Joint Commission for Human Rights, Rights of the Child, Youth, Immigration, Refugees, Asylum and Ethics of the Parliamentary

Assembly of BiH, in cooperation with UNICEF, the Ministry for Human Rights and Refugees, Save the Children and other international and nongovernmental organizations, on the occasion of 20 years of the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Hadžirović, a student of the seventh grade in the Primary School Grbavica II, said this was his first opportunity to put questions to the authorities and that he was partially satisfied with their answers.

- They were circumventing the issues - he explained, but I still think that this was a great opportunity for children to explain the authorities their problems.
They also presented five key child issues in BiH that they selected: respect for and the knowledge of child conventions, greater participation of children in the curricula, peace building, lack of opportunities for children and youth to learn and make progress, and peer violence.
Children from several cities in Bosnia and Herzegovina were first addressed by Safet Halilović, State Minister for Human Rights and Refugees and Sadik Ahmetović, a deputy in the State

Parliament and the president of the Joint Committee on Human Rights and the Rights of the Child. They welcomed the children and explained they were free to ask whatever they wanted.
- Your word is the obligation to the Parliament, because we want your future in BiH to be better - Ahmetović said in his opening speech after which the actors of the Banja Luka theater, Zdravo da ste, performed an interactive play, wanting to show local authorities the treatment of children who ask for the respect of their rights.
Children had the opportunity to be engaged in the course of the performance which initiated an interesting discussion about the inability of the youngest population of Bosnia and Herzegovina to reach local and higher levels of government and explain them their needs and problems, and whether they should act alone toward the authorities or with the help of parents.

Before they asked the first question, students asked the politicians to respond sincerely and concretely and to believe in their capacities. The children divided questions in several categories including education, health, culture and sports. Several dozen of their questions answered by the competent people, were about the non-compliance with the conventions on the right of the child, child insecurity in BiH, inconsistent and inadequate education and low quality textbooks, health care and education for the socially vulnerable children, among whom a special attention was dedicated to the Roma population.
Answering these questions Goran Jurcic of the Federation Ministry of Education and Science said that he thinks that a lot was done for them and that by the end of the year a single Registry of the Roma children not attending compulsory education should be completed.

Sead Avdić, representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Bosnia and Herzegovina, explained that Bosnia is becoming a part of the EU educational space, which will improve the conditions for schooling, but still a lot must be done to unify schools.
- Two schools under one roof is a clear discrimination on an ethnic basis - said Avdic, after which it was stated that BiH is slowly reducing the number of such schools.

One of the last questions was more like a wish - to hear the text of the anthem, whereupon Ahmetović replied that the House of Representatives adopted the text of the anthem, but the House of Peoples failed to pass it and he hopes the adoption will happen as soon as possible.

A list of all issues from today’s debate, in which the children took the initiative, will be submitted to the state delegates and on such a basis they will make conclusions for the Council of Ministers of BiH. Politicians promised children that these conclusions will become binding for them.

 

 

 
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