Government of Armenia holds a groundbreaking cabinet session with the participation of children and young people
To mark the anniversary of the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the cabinet invites UNICEF Representative and HRD Council on Children’s and Youth Rights to government meeting for the first time.
YEREVAN – On 23 November 2023, UNICEF Representative Christine Weigand joined Human Rights Defender (HRD) of the Republic of Armenia Anahit Manasyan and 13 members of the HRD public council on children’s and youth rights to attend the regular cabinet session of the Government of Armenia. As noted by the Prime Minister of Armenia H.E. Nikol Pashinyan, the invitation was on the occasion of the anniversary of the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, usually marked on 20 November.
During the session, members of the council were invited to ask questions at any time throughout the proceedings. They raised a number of issues with the Prime Minister and members of the Government, calling for more targeted support for refugee children and their families, further improvement of education services, especially for students with disabilities, and tackling bullying in schools. The members of the Council discussed provision of housing support and benefits to refugee children and their families who sought refuge in Armenia at the end of September, as well as accessibility of e-governance platforms for refugees to use. Various aspects of the ‘Academic City’ initiative were also discussed, with the members of the Council raising concerns over accessibility and the range of services for young people to be provided.
The Human Rights Defender places great importance in the active participation of children and young people in matters concerning the protection of their rights and in decision-making processes. To this end, the members of the HRD Public Council on Children’s and Youth Rights hold regular discussions with the Defender and HRD staff, presenting their questions and issues of concern and their feedback on matters concerning protection of children’s rights across Armenia.
“This Monday was World Children’s Day – an occasion we usually proudly mark by celebrating children. This year, we felt like it may be more appropriate to find other ways of marking this day – the world today clearly still remains far from ideal for children,” noted Mrs Christine Weigand, UNICEF Representative in Armenia. “I would like to thank his Excellency, the Prime Minister of the Republic of Armenia, for the opportunity to witness this milestone session where the Council members could take part and have their voices heard, as well as his cabinet and the Human Rights Defender’s Office for the partnership in working to improve the lives of children in Armenia.”
In the past seven years, UNICEF closely cooperated with the Human Rights Defender’s Office, supporting the establishment of a specialized child rights unit in 2017 and the establishment of the HRDO Public Council on Children’s and Youth Rights last year – both being instrumental for continued monitoring of child rights across Armenia. Since then, the members of the Council have represented Armenia at the European Network of Young Advisors (ENYA) and European Network of Ombudspersons for Children (ENOC). In 2023, the Public Council issued an independent Alternative Report for the Committee on the Rights of the Child.
UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.
For more information about UNICEF and its work for children, visit www.unicef.org.