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Young parliamentarians pose tough questions to their adult counterparts

© UNICEF Uzbekistan/2008/Turdiev
A young parliamentarian (standing) asks adults about child care reforms in Uzbekistan.

By Bobur Turdiev

TASHKENT, Uzbekistan, 11 July 2008 - Representing every region of Uzbekistan, young parliamentarians recently met with their adult counterparts, asking tough questions about what they have done to improve the well-being and rights of Uzbek children.

The children know exactly what their problems are. They are concerned about child labor, and want to know what are the Government’s actions to stop it. They also want to get a clear picture on how a recently approved national law, which reinforces the rights of each child, is being implemented.

The meeting was held at the lower house of the national parliament. During the two days of hot debates and discussions between children and adults, the youngsters studied the key ILO Conventions to understand what the conventions have said about the minimum age for employment, and the worst forms of child labour.

“The children's parliament has become a rightful place for children from diverse backgrounds to work together, voice their concerns and propose solutions,” said Professor Akmal Saidov, Chair of the Parliamentarian Commission about the unique initiative supported by UNICEF.

Another important topic at the session was advocacy - how to let all children know about the existing laws created to protect their rights. “Our parliamentarians will be explaining the importance of the law to every school and every community,” declared the Speaker of the children’s parliament Shohruh Rustamov.

"I was surprised by the seriousness of the issues raised and suggestions made by children,” added Professor Saidov. “It shows that the children's parliament has become a platform for young people to effectively participate in both national and regional initiatives."



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