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Prime Minister and UNICEF Representative host a reception for CRC@20

© UNICEF Montenegro / 2009

PODGORICA, MONTENEGRO, NOVEMBER 20, 2009 – Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic and UNICEF Montenegro Representative Noala Skinner hosted a reception in Villa Gorica at the end of a week of celebrations marking the 20th anniversary of UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

The “Voices of Montenegro’s Children” were presented through an exhibition of main results of a major youth opinion poll, and the airing of five one minute films made by children themselves. 

“We are used to listening to adults from the government, international organizations or civil society about the situation on child rights. However, this evening we get an insight into what children themselves are thinking and saying about their lives and their rights,” said UNICEF Representative in Montenegro, Noala Skinner. 

Skinner introduced youth opinion poll results conducted by Centre for Examinations and with UNICEF’s support among 4 670 Montenegro’s children 13-18 years old in April 2009. The preliminary results were presented to key decision-makers in order to remind them of the importance of listening to the voices of children and young people providing them with an opportunity to do so on the 20th anniversary of UN CRC.

© UNICEF Montenegro / 2009

Selected preliminary results of the youth opinion poll show that:

• 76% of Montenegro’s children are almost always happy and most often when they are with their families, friends and when they get good grades

• 60% of children think in future Montenegro will be a better place to live in and most of them think so because there will be a better economic situation and less unemployment

• 85% of children think it is important to help others and do that whenever possible

• Respecting others, telling the truth and not stealing are three most important principles that children think their families taught them

• 12% of children say they know nothing or little about their rights

• It is the perception of Montenegro’s children that children from poor families and children with disabilities as the most unfairly treated groups

• 77% of children consider the place where they live to be safe; only 8%  say they have been a victim of violence and the most common forms of violence that they have been victims of are fights and insulting

• Montenegro’s children admire the most sportsmen and musicians

• 47% of children think their opinion is taken into consideration when a decision is made in relation to them at home, and 50% believe their opinion could be taken more into consideration when local authorities make decisions relating to children.

Montenegro’s children want the government to make more parks and playgrounds; they would like a zoo; provide more sport and extracurricular activities for them; make more available information on their rights; provide access to quality education and social protection for children with disabilities, children without parents, RAE and poor children as well as for those in institutions.

Skinner also presented the global Agenda for Action for the CRC @ 20. The Convention on the Rights of the Child demands global solidarity for the rights of children. Today, realizing the rights of children requires us to leverage the contribution of everyone. The next twenty years of the Convention’s implementation require us to marry governmental accountability with societal responsibility. What this opinion poll suggests is that Montenegro’s children and young people are ready to take up that challenge as the present and future of this country”.

Two children,  Muhamed Berisa and  Marijana Blazevic, presented their one minute videos on child rights made by Montenegro’s children with support from UNICEF during November 2009. Marijana reminded everyone that Louis Braille was 15 years old when he designed the Braille alphabet, but that it wasn’t taken up until after his death, 30 years later. "Always carefully listen to children, they are also sometimes right, and sometimes you can learn something from them," said Marijana Blazevic, student at Institution for Professional rehabilitation of disabled children.

"My home is poor, but freedom lives in it … because I am Roma," said Muhamed Berisa, one of the students from one minute junior workshop held in Budva as he was introducing his video on child rights and raising a plea to stamp out discrimination.

Suad Numanovic, Minister of Labour and Social Welfare said that government will continue to work on improving the life of children in Montenegro. "Children in Montenegro are future citizens of Europe. I believe we will have full support from all international partners in order to improve all the issues and rights concerning children," Numanovic said.

The Convention on the Rights of the Child is the most widely ratified human-rights treaty in history. 193 state parties, including Montenegro, have ratified it.



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