Children’s Parliament of Guinea-Bissau presents its ‘Manifesto’ to candidates ahead of legislative elections
Bissau, 6 November 2008 - The Children’s Parliament of Guinea Bissau, - supported by UNICEF, the Institute of Women and Children, the National Youth Council and Guinea-Bissau League for Human Rights - presented its Manifesto to the 19 political parties and 2 coalitions campaigning for the Legislative Elections that will take place the 16th of November 2008.
The Manifesto had been officially endorsed by the Children Parliament on the 16th of June 2008, during the celebrations for the Day of the African Child. Through this Manifesto, the National Children Parliament, in representation of all children of Guinea-Bissau, demands that children’s rights are fulfilled.
The graphic conception and the printing of the Manifesto have been supported by the UNICEF office in Bissau, which also supports the children parliamentarians in its dissemination.
“The upcoming legislative elections are an opportunity that cannot be ignored. This is the time when the future representatives of the people of this country are campaigning. We hope that they will prioritize – not only during their campaigning but especially once elected - children’s needs and the implementation of their rights”, says Silvia Luciani, UNICEF Representative in Guinea Bissau.
This year, the theme of the Day of the African Child was the Right to Participate. In the Manifesto, the children ask that they are allowed to participate. And now, just 10 days before the elections, they demand to the elections candidates that their concerns are considered, and that candidates integrate them within their political agendas and future government programmes.
“It is important to remember that the Convention on the Right of the Child was ratified by Guinea-Bissau 18 years ago, the 20 of August 1990, but until now, most of ours fundamental rights are not respected”, affirm the youth of the National Children Parliament.
The Manifesto also evokes the situation of children in Guinea Bissau, based on the most recent statistical data on health, education, HIV/AIDS and protection (from the Multiple Indicators Cluster Surveys Report of 2006).
Concerning Health, the document reminds all of us that 223 out of 1,000 children born die before their 5th anniversary due to malaria, acute respiratory infections and diarrheal diseases. Malnutrition and HIV-AIDS also contribute to the high children and maternal mortality rates.
Regarding Education, the Manifesto stresses that for each 100 children of school age, 72 do not frequent primary school, and that for each 100 primary schools only 14 have the 6 levels needed for completion.
As far as Protection is concerned, too many children are still victim of traffic, violence, abuse and female genital mutilation. In this respect, the Manifesto underlines the need for harmonization of national legislation with the Convention on the Rights of the Child and other international instruments established to protect woman and children.