National Children’s Forum strengthens the voice of Turkmenistan children
ASHGABAT, Turkmenistan, 31 May 2007 – About 200 children drawn from across Turkmenistan have gathered in Ashgabat today to debate and discuss child rights, as part of the Third National Children’s Forum.
The Forum, jointly organized by the United Nation’s Children’s Fund and the Government of Turkmenistan. started on the eve of the International Child Protection Day, a date reminding everyone to respect children’s rights and build a humane and just society.
Over the last three years the Children’s Forum has become a national event that has given young people a chance to debate and voice their views on different aspects of child rights and well-being.
“UNICEF encourages governments to discuss issues with children themselves so that policy makers and legislators hear their opinions before drafting policies and laws on behalf of children,” said Mahboob Shareef, UNICEF Representative in Turkmenistan, at the opening speech of the Forum.
This year the Forum has assembled twice as many young participants as last year, and they will learn about child participation through the concept of child-friendly schools and about effective partnership of children and grown ups through a demonstration of short video films made by a group of young people at the recent “One Minutes Jr. Video” workshop.
The national legislation and international child rights instruments such as the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child will be high on the Forum agenda. Children from all regions of Turkmenistan will also learn about the programmes that the Government of Turkmenistan implements for the benefit of children. Once equipped with knowledge on legislation and programmes for children, participants will come up with a set of recommendations for policy makers and legislators on further steps to enhance children’s rights to quality education, healthcare, protection and participation.
UNICEF is on the ground in over 150 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence. The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS. UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments.
Shohrat Orazov, UNICEF Social Policy Officer
Gulyalek Soltanova, UNICEF Communication Officer