Child rights: A Young Parliamentarian explans its purpose
What is the "Children’s Parliament"?
Have you heard about the Children’s Parliament in Uzbekistan? It was established in 2002 with support from the Uzbek Children’s Fund and UNICEF and is known as the “New generation council” by young people. My name is Sahiba, I am a parliamentarian and would like to share my observations.
The ‘Council’ was established in order to achieve a number of goals: to promote democratic ideas amongst young people; to prepare young people for independent life; to increase social participation; to improve legal, cultural and intellectual skills; and to actively participate in changes and reforms of society. It comprises elected representatives from all rayons (regions) in all oblasts (states) of the Republic. Elected parliamentarians get together twice a year in Tashkent city to conduct parliamentary sessions. Within the council are 7 committees dealing with social issues, ecology, economic issues, promotion of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), school affairs, promotion of healthy lifestyles and other issues not covered by the above.
I really enjoy the parliamentary sessions: having the opportunity to share opinions, express ideas and discuss important issues with other young people from all over Uzbekistan is very stimulating and enlightening. The sessions are run on an interactive basis and are very different from school, so we really like such methods. "We are encouraged to express our own vision and opinions freely and when our views are considered and accepted by adults, we feel excited and motivated"
A vital role of young parliamentarians is to organize training on the CRC, child rights, HIV/AIDS, drug abuse and juvenile justice. These sessions are conducted by experienced psychologists. We in turn, pass on information and provide training to peers in our own rayons, through meetings, workshops and by establishing youth clubs. We also help young people to learn about the election system and to acquire leadership and debating skills.
Having established ourselves, we are beginning to get more power and more freedom to undertake activities without the intervention of adults. This is very important because young people can learn much, and more easily from their peers. In our rayons, we are looked upon as friends. We encourage our peers to approach us for support and advice on any issues or problems that concern them. For instance, a young parliamentarian from Narpay district of Samarkand oblast, took the initiative of organizing the repair of the school heating, having approached the district Khokimiyat (Mayor’s Office) and solved this issue. In my rayon, I was contacted by a boy who, together with a relative, had gone abroad and experienced problems with identity documents and was unable to return home. We approached the relevant agencies and government departments and eventually the issue was solved and the boy returned home.
Thus, young parliamentarians are becoming leaders and are providing vital support for their peers.
We are already doing a lot to support young people in their endeavors and we want to do a great deal more to help for their future. We hope you will support us.