Children's voices heard by nation's leaders

Thursday 15 December 2016

Children representatives from 14 states and regions across the country have come together at the National Children’s Forum to raise their voices and call on parliament members to take legislative action on the problems affecting them.

The forum, organized by the NGO Child Rights Working Group (NCRWG), is a three-day workshop for children aimed at facilitating to express their opinions and discuss solutions to problems currently impacting their communities.

The final day of the workshop, which coincided with Universal Children’s Day, provided children with an opportunity to present statements to Members of Parliament from both Upper and Lower houses.

The statements covered a range of issues including:

  1. All children, including migrant children, to have access to quality education
  2. To eliminate drugs problems which impact children
  3. To regain peace in the conflict areas
  4. To access basic health services especially in the remote areas
  5. To stop labour and sexual exploitation on children

Ma Theint Honey Tun says that she is proud to be a child representative from Kayah State attending the National Children’s Forum.

“As children, we don’t always get the opportunity to express our views about the issues that impact us the most. To get the opportunity to come together in a place like this, and learn how to better express our views, meeting with the parliament members to submit our concerns, is something that I won’t forget,” Theint Honey Tun says.

“We came here to discuss the problems we face in our communities. I really hope that the MPs will take our views seriously and help us make changes – and take points we’ve raised through to the parliament.”

Universal Children’s Day commemorates the day in 1989 which saw the UN General Assembly adopt the Convention on the Rights of the Child.  The CRC was subsequently ratified by Myanmar in July 1991 - and it remains the most widely adopted human rights treaty in the world.

Ma Ei Khaing Win, a member of upper Myanmar NCRWG says that it is positive and fitting that so many Members of Parliament are participating in Universal Children’s Day today, by listening to children’s voices at the National Children’s Forum.

“Children are valuable for every nation and nurturing them means promoting our country’s future leaders. The future of our country can be changed by how our children are treated,” Ei Khaing Win, adds.

“The NCRWG are calling for more and better investment in social sectors for children across Myanmar. When believe that when we invest in quality services for our children, we ensure they survive, learn and are protected,”.

“We recommend that the government applies the recently adopted General Comments no. 19, produced by the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, as the go-to document on public resource mobilization, equitable budget allocation and effective spending on children - within open, inclusive and accountable governance.” says Ni Ni Hla, Head of Program, Child Rights Governance program, Save the Children. 

“We hope that this National Forum provides a dialogue on these issues – and that the voices these children will be heard now, and well into the future.”

 About NGO Child Rights Working Group (NCRWG)

The NGO Child Rights Working Group is led by Save the Children, World Vision and Pestalozzi. It was established in 2009 as the voice of children’s rights in Myanmar and was comprised of members from 17 international and local organizations. In 2016, NCRWG member groups have grown to now include 50 organizations as we continue to work for children’s rights throughout the country.