Kazakh children discuss Ombudsman for Child Rights
Kazakhstan, 17 August 2005: Children at a Summer School in Tau Samal, Almaty oblast, have ended a week of debate on child rights by calling for the establishment of a Children's Ombudsman in Kazakhstan.
The Summer School on Child Rights, from 10-17 August, was organised by the National Debate Centre Public Fund with support from UNICEF, the Ministry of Information, Culture and Sport and the Ombudsperson’s Office in the Republic of Kazakhstan.
Children from four regions of the country – East, West, South and North -- have now written to the Parliament and the Ombudsperson of the Republic of Kazakhstan to establish the institute of Children’s Ombudsman, as an independent body headed by a selected socially active and respected person with legal background, whose nomination should be approved by Parliamentarians. “We have the right to know our rights, and we need someone to appeal to and protect us” – said the children.
"The Government of the Republic of Kazakhstan shall improve the policy of ensuring and protecting children’s rights within the frameworks of the international Convention on the Rights of the Child".
The voices of children at the Summer School.
Teams from 18 regions of the country – winners of local debating competitions -- took part in the Summer School where, in keeping with tradition, the 200 participants debated in English, Kazakh and Russian. They discussed the possibility of establishing an independent Children’s Ombudsman, analysing examples from the many other countries that have such Ombudsmen to protect and promote childrens' interests and rights.
The creation of such a position is a recognition that human rights start with child rights. Children are extremely vulnerable, despite their rights to protection from all forms of discrimination and it is vital that advocacy and protection for their rights is a priority for the entire human rights movement. Kazakhstan needs a large-scale civil forum to monitor the observance of child rights in accordance with the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and the National Law of 8 August 2002 Concerning Child Rights in the Republic of Kazakhstan. At present, Kazakh society has little awareness of the responsibilities of parents, guardians, government agencies, business structures and the non-governmental sector to uphold the rights of the next generation.
The Summer School was a good opportunity for school students from all over Kazakhstan to analyse and discuss the challenges to child rights, understand their specifics and propose solutions.
The first few days of the School were devoted to seminars and workshops, during which children listened to presentations by child rights experts from UNICEF and the Ombudsperson's Office in Kazakhstan. Then there was role-playing to analyse different situations and define childhood protection measures. The final rounds of the debate were held on 15 August, and champion teams were identified in the three language.
UNICEF sponsored a trip to the Summer School for interested media.
For more information:
Gauhar Abdygaliyeva, Communication Officer, UNICEF Kazakhstan (+ 7 3172) 32 83 07, firstname.lastname@example.org