Turkmenistan Children’s Forum Marks the International Children’s Day and Child Protection Week
Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, 31 May 2008About one hundred and fifty children from all over the country have come together in the capital city of Ashgabat to take part in the National Children’s Forum organized jointly by the United Nation’s Children’s Fund and the Government of Turkmenistan. This is the fourth year the Forum is being held in Turkmenistan to mark the International Children’s Day which is observed in many countries. It draws governments’ attention to child rights and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, and reinforces their commitments to build a world fit for children. During two days of the Forum, children aged 14-16 will be exposed to the concept and practice of child participation and have an opportunity to express their views about important issues affecting their lives.
The address of the President of Turkmenistan to the participants of the Forum and the participation of the high-level policy makers, the Director of the National Institute of Democracy and Human Rights, Chairperson of the Youth Organization and the First Deputy Minister of Education clearly demonstrate the high level commitment for children’s rights in the country.
As one of the girl participants from Dashoguz velayat, Jennet, 16 expressed “I am so happy to be engaged in the Forum because I have made a lot of friends from different parts of Turkmenistan. I have become aware of many important issues that can influence my life. I feel more self-confident because I better understand my rights and obligations as a young individual and a citizen of my country.”
Promotion of child participation is both timely and important in the context of the ongoing social reforms in the country. Children and young people are able to participate and enjoy the benefits of the protective environment, including access to quality education, healthcare, adequate information and pro-child legislation. “Our children are the greatest resource that we have. Investments made in children today will shape the future of the country. Turkmenistan is blessed with many natural resources, especially oil and gas. All evidence suggests that the country is making the right choices in converting the Black Gold (oil and gas) into Human Gold (its children)” said Dr. Waheed Hassan, UNICEF Representative to Turkmenistan.
The International Children’s Day is a part of Child Protection Week’s celebration that also included a children’s musical. UNICEF jointly with the Ministry of Culture and TV and Radio Broadcasting launched the musical “Children and Adults” to promote good care practices and education. UNICEF is actively partnering with national Ministries, agencies and public organisations to support awareness-raising and advocacy activities on the occasion of these events.