July 02, 2017

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Heed children’s voices — Delivery on promises, children urge future parliamentarians

Children shout words of encouragement to future lawmakers to improve the lives of children in Myanmar at an event in Yangon.
Children shout words of encouragement to future lawmakers to improve the lives of children in Myanmar at an event in Yangon.

Children met with  parliamentarians from political parties that won seats in the 2015 general elections yesterday, urging them to fulfill earlier pledges made to advance child welfare in Myanmar.
Children also proposed their own recommendations to the newly-elected politicians about possible policies for improving the lives of children.
They also called for an end to the violation of child rights, such as forced labour and exploitation.
“Increased commodity prices are linked to child labour and school drop-out rates,” said Ma Swe Zin Htike, a children who took part in the event. She said that a reduction of commodity prices would allow children in poor households to remain in school.
Adequate legal protection must be available for children who are forced to work for their survival, said a young person called Wai Yan Paing Min.
“Politicians need to turn their commitments into actions; not only for the children but also for the country,” said Mr Bertrand Bainvel, UNICEF Representative to Myanmar. He said he hoped that the rights of all children in Myanmar will be a focus among the country’s new parliamentarians.
In August this year, UNICEF called on campaigning politicians to put children at the centre of their election pledges.
A roundtable event was also held to strengthen public understanding and adherence to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, improving children’s health and access to education and to eliminate child labour.
A monitoring process is set to be launched on whether the commitments made by politicians before and after elections are followed through, said U Myo Myint Tun, programme manager for child rights and protection at Plan International (Myanmar).
Yesterday’s event was held at Novotel Yangon Max in Yangon was jointly organised by UNICEF, the NGO Child Rights Working Group (NCRWG), and Myanmar National Human Rights Commission, in cooperation with the Union Election Commission.
According to UNICEF, more than 4.4 million children between 5 and 18 years of age do not attend school in Myanmar – which represents 34 percent of all Myanmar children. Another 1.6 million children aged between 10 and 18 are labourers and 10 million live in poverty.

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