There was a very special sitting of The House today in Belmopan. It was the Children's parliament. High school and primary school students from all over the country took over the National Assembly and assumed the roles of all the representatives in their respective areas. It is part of the celebration of the 30th anniversary of the signing of the UN Convention on the Rights of Child. It was quite a showing, and a suggestion of future possibilities, with a female Prime Minister backed up by 20 female representatives. Courtney Weatherburne has more.
This is the 2nd Child Parliamentary exercise in Belize.
What Next For Youth Parliament?
After the almost 3 hour long session with the child parliamentarians, we also spoke to two of the organizing committee members about the purpose of the initiative, the outcome, and possible future child-centered events.
Sharon Young, Organization Committee Member "Today was one of the main activities in the calendar of activities in celebration of the 30th year anniversary of Belize signing on to the UN declaration on children's rights and today's parliament was really the combination of two training sessions held over the last 2 months with all of the children that you observed here today and what we wanted to get from them was their perspective on the issues that are affecting our Belizean children. We are particularly delighted that their insights into the depth and breadth of the issues that they shared are well articulated and well researched. They went through several orientation sessions on especially the parliamentary process, but as you has observed some of the pressing things that came to the fore was that in relation was health and education and we cannot disagree more with them. We in fact fully support their proposals that they put forward. We do sincerely appreciate what they have said in recognizing all the efforts that have been made over the last few decades in advancing children's rights, but there is certainly quite a lot of work to do and so we are not as a government my firm belief is that we are not shying away from the issues, we want to hear from the children, because what they have to say is very important."
Dr. Susan Kasedde, Country Representative, UNICEF "We are hopeful as UNICEF that the partners that worked together to make this particular session happen including the national assembly, will continue to invite children on a regular basis to have the benefit of this platform to speak on behalf of and to the Belizean audience so that we can keep ourselves accountable. We know that this shared of responsibility is important, the mentorship and cultivation of leadership of this generation is critical for the achievement of the promises that we have set out in the CRC and all human rights conventions."