Forth children’s session of the Montenegrin National Parliament
PODGORICA, NOVEMBER 19, 2012 - On the occasion of the 23rd anniversary of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, 42 girls and boys representing every Montenegrin municipality asked questions on key child rights issues to the high Government officials, representatives of Parliamentary Committees, Heads of political parties, Ombudsman and representatives of international organizations.
Filip Boskovic from Pljevlja asking the Minister of Internal Affairs about road safety
The forth year in a row, National Parliament celebrates the UN CRC anniversary by organizing the children’s session with the local NGO “Centre for Child Rights” and UNICEF.
Three young female parliamentarians – Sandra Manojlović, Zvezdana Ivanović and Tijana Nišavić were presiding the children’s session of the Parliament.
“I know that it is unusual to have three girls presiding, but in this way we want to remind this Home about the necessity of higher regard for gender equality,’’ said Sandra Manojlović during her opening speech.
Marijana Blazevic, an ex student of a special school and since recently a student of the mainstream music high school, shared her positive experiences of inclusive education.
“Classmates are as good as those I had in the special school. At the beginning they were very interested in how I am organized, what my Braille machine looks like and in all of the things they did not see before. And I have become different, more self-confident and more friendly,’’ said Marijana.
She also indicated some of the challenges that need to be addressed in inclusive education.
“My greatest problem is the lack of music literature, which is not printed in Braille alphabet in Montenegro at all.”
Berisa Denisono highlighted some of the challenges that Roma, Egyptian and Ashkali children are facing in education.
“There are many children who do not go to school because they do not know the language or because they do not have the textbooks or money to get prepared to go to school, and some of them don’t go to school because they don’t like it and some because their parents make them work instead,” said Berisa.
Children asked more than 40 questions related to various child rights issues.
Ana Kuzman from Ulcinj asked the Minister of Labour and Social Welfare Suad Numanovic why the day care centres for children with disability in her hometown and in Berane municipality are still not fully functional.
“As far as Berane is concerned, construction works are finished. I expect that the management board will finish the administrative part of work at the local level these days so that the day care centre in Berane starts working by the end of this year. We have opened a day care centre in Ulcinj and the local authorities need to finish now the administrative part of work.” Minister Numanovic said.
Zarko Karadzic from Savnik, a student of the agricultural high school, asked the Minister of Agriculture Tarzan Milosevic about the possibility to provide children with education that is not centered on the use of books only.
‘’I promise to visit your school as soon as possible and I am sure that the Government will do its best to provide you with good fieldwork in future, in addition to the lessons in the school,” Minister Milosevic responded.
Adem Tivari from Ulcinj asked the Minister of Human and Minority Rights Hamdija Hasani about the provision of school journals in Albanian language for children whose mother-tongue is Albanian.
‘The Ministry will support the initiatives from students in relation to publishing school journals in which they could publish their literary works and other contents in their mother tongue,’’ Minister Hasani answered.
Saska Gomilanovic from Bar asked the Minister of Science Sanja Vlahovic about the opening of science and research centers for and about children.
“We are preparing an interesting project for you entitled “The House of Experiments”. We expect the Government to identify a building that used to belong to the Ministry of Defense for this purpose very soon. So, we will have one home of science in Podgorica, where you will be able to experience the world of science, conduct experiments and research in harmony with your age and field of interest,” Minister Vlahovic said.
Imran Nurković from Rozaje asked UNICEF Montenegro Representative Benjamin Perks about the consequences and importance of child poverty in Montenegro.
“The reasons that we care so passionately about child poverty are twofold. Firstly, there is a higher percentage of children that live in poverty than there are adults. Because it is often the children in big families or one parent families that are most likely to live in poverty. Secondly, the impact of poverty on children is irreversible and will stay with them through their entire life, ” UNICEF Representative Perks explained.
UNICEF Montenegro Representative Benjamin Perks talking about the of child poverty in Montenegro
During the forth children’s session of the Parliament, many interesting questions were made. They were related to the benefits for children of Montenegro’s progress towards the EU membership; the actions undertaken by the relevant institutions to protect children from abuse and neglect; safe transport of children to schools especially in the mountains on the north; the need to have more better quality media programmes for children; the provision of healthy meals to children in schools; the need to remove the bookmakers from the schools’ neighborhoods; the lack of appropriate health care services for children with disability and those in the northern municipalities; registration of refugee children; budget for children; etc.
Ranko Krivokapic, Speaker of the Parliament, invited municipal parliaments to follow the good practice of the National Parliament and to organize children’s sessions of local parliaments.
“I use this opportunity to invite the presidents of our 21 municipal parliaments to do the same, so that we don’t have this sort of events only once a year in the national parliament, but to have them in municipal parliaments throughout the year,” Speaker of the Parliament Krivokapic said.
Children's session of the Montenegrin Parliament lasted for two and a half hours and it was broadcasted live on the public service television.