Tuesday 07 December 2021

Manifesto demands national strategy for children

A manifesto with 99 proposals reflecting the voices of thousands of children and young people has been compiled urging politicians to drive the change to make children feel heard, happy and safe.
The hundredth goal of the manifesto is for the proposals to be included in a national strategy for children, through the creation of a specific Department for the Rights of the Child at government level.
Launched to mark World Children’s Day today, the document was presented by young representatives from the Children’s Council within the Malta Foundation for the Wellbeing of Society outside Parliament Building in Valletta.
Children’s Council representative Maleck said: “I believe this manifesto is a crucial process in understanding children’s wishes and implementing them children effectively.
The manifesto was drawn up following years of work, discussions and consultations by the Children’s Hub with thousands of children to ensure their aspirations for society were heard.
It is split into five pillars — community and environment, health and wellbeing, education, diversity and inclusion, as well as children’s rights and active participation — and each proposal is a recommendation by the children themselves.
The 99 proposals are wide-ranging from greener, safe open spaces, to childhood obesity campaigns, to cutting back burdensome curricula and refocusing on job skills, promoting unity in diversity, as well as putting in place a functional young people’s parliament.
In the run-up to the election, the Children’s Council plans to meet the leaders of the different political parties to ensure their voice is placed prominently on the national agenda.
MFWS chair Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca said World Children’s Day was a time for reckoning; a time for society to reflect on its responsibilities to secure its own future.
“This important manifesto is a clear example of what child participation can deliver. Malta urgently requires a strategy for children because despite ratifying the UN Convention for the Rights of the Child 30 years ago, it has yet to be inscribed in our legislature.
“Child participation structures – that involve children in decision-making processes and policies, especially those that affect them – should become the norm. We should give children the voice they deserve, and which is theirs by right in a non-tokenistic approach,” Ms Coleiro Preca urged.
She called on Maltese and Gozitan youngsters to be inspired by this manifesto and to send in their own suggestions and to become members of the Children’s Council by calling on 2148 4662, or sending an email to info@mfws@gov.mt.

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