Zimbabwe’s Children claim their stake in the Constitution making process
Harare, 23 September 2010 – A two day children’s national consultative outreach programme has given the children of Zimbabwe space to be heard and have their concerns and issues considered as the Inclusive Government of Zimbabwe continues with consultations for the redrafting of a new Constitution.
Over a two day period, and using child friendly participatory methods that have been developed by children, the Parliamentary Select Committee, CoPAC, supported by UNICEF, has convened this special consultative session where more than 300 children from all the 52 districts of Zimbabwe were given an opportunity to bring up issues to be considered in the new Constitution. Children nominated from different districts across Zimbabwe include the Zimbabwe Junior Parliamentarians, children from the Ministry of Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs’ capacity building programme and children from special interest groups including children living with HIV, children with disabilities and children living on the streets.
“Children’s voices and contribution to the constitution making process is critical,” says UNICEF Representative, Dr. Peter Salama. “All Zimbabwean children have a legitimate claim to make contributions to this process as issues tabled in the constitution will affect their lives today and in future.” “I commend the Inclusive Government of Zimbabwe and CoPAC in particular for this bold undertaking to ensure that the views of children are taken into account directly in the Constitution making process” added Dr. Salama.
Children and young people make up more than 70% of Zimbabwe’s population. Over the last decade, it is this constituency that has felt the greatest challenges and uncertainties in the education, health and other basic social services sectors. The representatives of Zimbabwe’s children articulated the great concerns of most children in the country including the issue of access to education, health, nutrition, access to safe water, birth registration and protection from violence.
Honourable Mangwana, on behalf of the CoPAC Co-Chairpersons said ”Traditional practice has generally not considered children’s opinions and views to be important, but we have decided that in this historic process, their views should be considered because children are the future. “ CoPAC is committed to its mandate of producing a true people-driven Constitution.”
Supported by a range of partners including the Zimbabwe Youth Council, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), UNICEF and civil society (Justice for Children Trust, Africa Community Publishing and Development Trust and ChildLine) the Inclusive Government of Zimbabwe is undertaking the Constitution review process in compliance with provisions established under the Global Political Agreement of September 2008. Under this Agreement, a new Constitution is to be crafted in Zimbabwe and the process for this should be “Owned and driven by the people and must be inclusive and democratic. “
The contributions drawn from the children will be input into the draft Constitution to be presented in the last quarter of this year.
For more information please contact
Ms. Florence Mabeza, Media and Communications Manager, COPAC, 04 703268, email: email@example.com
Ms. Micaela Marques De Sousa – Chief of Communications, UNICEF, Cell: 0912124268 email, firstname.lastname@example.org