Children Urged to Speak Out

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By Wezi Tjaronda

WNDHOEK

The second session of the Children’s Parliament opened yesterday with calls on the junior members of parliament to raise their voices on meaningful issues affecting Namibian children.

The 39 participants to the Children’s Parliament will in the next three days deliberate on three main themes, namely education, increasing cost of living and the Millennium Development Goals.

Clad in their school uniforms, the children from all the 13 regions under the leadership of Sharonice Busch as Speaker and Timotheus Angara as Deputy Speaker, listened to speeches that urged them to use the opportunity of the second sitting to express themselves to meet the unmet needs of the rights of Namibian children.

UNICEF Officer-in-Charge Rushnan Murtaza said, “This is the month for you to give suggestions and new input on the work the Namibian Government is doing to improve children’s access to basic services such as education, health, nutrition, care and support, rights and protection.”

She said children were active participants and they should be given a chance to practise their citizenship and their rights in the community by providing them with information and establishing formal mechanisms that enable them to express themselves on issues affecting their lives, development and their future.

Speaker of Unam Parliament, Clever Mupaura, also encouraged the participants to fully apply themselves to better national and personal growth. Mupaura said by decentralising the decision-making powers to children, the Government realised that children are an important asset to the nation because they are Namibia’s future leaders.

“In this context the Children’s Parliament is expected to channel the concerns of the children through appropriate political structures of the Government,” he said.

Mupaura also said when the product of the discussions is channelled to the relevant Government offices, the views and rights of the children of Namibia would easily be realised.

Opening the Children’s Parliament, Speaker of the National Assembly, Theo-Ben Gurirab, said the sitting of Parliament was a chance for the children to change their lives for the better. Gurirab reminded the participants of the many opportunities that both the poor and the rich have now because the world is a global village.

“These days, youth and children have unheard of opportunities and choices for self-betterment, unlike in the past. Connections with the whole global community have grown and spread in all directions.

“It has really become a self-help people’s market offering many helpful choices, if any of you are keen and determined to become forward looking and successful,” he added.

The Speaker emphasised on the Millennium Development Goals, which will form part of the Parliament’s discussion, saying the public wanted to know about the status of the implementation.

The world has eight years in which to meet the eight MDGs, which they adopted in 2000. Gurirab said the Parliamentary Standing Committees would ensure that Namibia does not only live up to its promise but also does more to ensure that 2015 would be a year of celebration.

“Let us think about making a difference in the remaining eight years,” he added.

The second session is being held under the theme: “The People’s House and Guardian of Children’s Rights and Future”.

The inaugural session, which took place between May 14 and 18 last year adopted 17 motions relating to HIV/Aids, social economic rights and malnutrition.

The participants are expected to adopt a final communiqu??????’??

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