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Listening to the Voices of Children and Young People Uzbekistan Joins Commemoration of the World Children’s Day
Ramuzada, a 13-year old girl from the Republic of Karakalpakstan speaks to her friends from all regions of Uzbekistan with a lot of passion. She shares her experience in addressing the issues of children with disabilities, and the challenges they face in their everyday lives in Karakalpakstan. Her friends and she have discussed an idea of creating a peer-to-peer friends club for children with disabilities. This club will provide an opportunity for children with disabilities to speak about their issues and learn from others’ experiences.
Ramuzada is one of the members of the Young Generation Council assembled in Tashkent to engage with the Parliament and other key decision-makers to voice their views about issues that affect their lives.
Every year, UNICEF celebrates the World Children’s Day on 20th November. This is the day when the Convention on the Rights of the Child was adopted in 1989. To date, this has been the most widely ratified human rights treaty in history.
This day celebrates the progress made for children, and it is also an opportunity to take stock of what still needs to be done.
This year, the main focus of the World Children’s Day is the right of children and young people to express their views on all matters affecting them. Children and young people have the opportunity to actively engage with media, politics, business, sports, schools, music and entertainment to raise awareness about the most deprived children, and discuss how their rights can be fulfilled.
“Participation is a human right. It is not a gift or privilege bestowed by adults on children. It is the right of every child capable of expressing a view – especially the most vulnerable in the society,” said Sascha Graumann, UNICEF Representative in Uzbekistan. “However, while some children and young people are beginning to actively exercise their rights and become agents of change, the voices of many remain unheard.”
Children and young people engage with decision-makers on key issues affecting their lives
The roundtable discussion to present recommendations for youth participation in community decision-making was organized in the Lower Chamber of Oliy Majlis. Members of the Young Generation Council shared their experiences about addressing issues in their regions. They presented their successes and challenges, and provided recommendations on how the participation of children and youth can be enhanced at all levels of decision-making.
“Guaranteeing the rights of children and young people does not only imply a legal or moral responsibility, it also has implications for economic and social policies, and, consequently, for the allocation of the country’s financial resources,” said Sascha Graumann, UNICEF Representative in Uzbekistan. “Uzbekistan is at a critical demographic juncture with a large child population growing up and moving into the labor force over the next decade. With the right investments now, today’s bulging youth population can be the generation that takes Uzbekistan to the next level of socio-economic development,” he added.
Later in the day, young people engaged into discussion with the National Human Rights Center around the draft Law on Ombudsperson for Children and Young People. Based on a series of consultations with children and young people in their regions, members of the Youth Generation Council presented views on how the draft law could incorporate their opinions.
These events were organized by Association for Support of Children and Families, Youth Union, Federation of Trade Union, National Human Rights Centre and the Parliament. UNICEF supported the efforts to further improve participation of young people in decision-making.
“Establishing a separate Ombudsperson for Children and young people will not only address one of the keys recommendations of the Committee on the Rights of the Child, it will also enable better implementation of programmes for children’s wellbeing; monitoring the situation of children’s rights; and enhancing participation of children and young people,” said Inkilob Yusupova, Chair of the Association for Support of Children and Families.
On the same day, the Youth Union of Uzbekistan hosted an Interactive Dialogue with Youth. Members of the Young Generation Council interacted with the decision-makers in an informal setting to further express their ideas on how children and young people could contribute to the development of the country in a meaningful way.
The outcomes of the discussions will contribute to further strengthening of the youth policy of Uzbekistan.
Children and young people engage with media
National Association of Electronic Mass Media organized the first-ever telethon developed by children and for children. Broadcast on the MY5 TV Channel on the 20th November, the telethon features children reporters and TV presenters who discuss critical issues related to children’s well-being with their peers, decision-makers, influencers and celebrities. Young people expressed their views and suggested solutions on how to take realization of their rights forward.
Children and young people engage with the private sector
UNICEF worked closely with Korzinka.uz, a chain of supermarkets to host an event with a group of young people, including children with disabilities. After the tour around one of the supermarkets, children voiced their opinions on how the stores could be made more child-friendly in the meeting with the chain’s senior management.
“We were glad to meet children who visited one of the supermarkets korzinka.uz and our office. It was interesting to hear their opinion about the work of our team,” said Alisher Khoshimov, Commercial Director. “The children gave very useful recommendations for improving our work, some of which were even unexpected for us. Once more we realized that children must be listened to and adults should respect their points of view.”
UNICEF and its partner Ucell mobile operator also organized an interactive engagement with children and young people - who were curious about how the telecom operator functions. Young people learned about the innovations Ucell implements in Uzbekistan, and shared their ideas on how the company could benefit more children in the country.
“Our children are our future. That is why ensuring the well-being of the younger generation is our key task. By well-being I mean both the physical condition of our children, the environment, the conditions for their growth and development, online security, and the support of the spiritual and emotional development, the opportunity to be heard and understood, said Tonu Grunberg, Ucell CEO. “In this regard, we are happy to be part of the UNICEF’s interventions that emphasize the voices of children around the world. This is an important component of development and progress. We are always open and happy to support children, their aspirations, hopes and initiatives,” he added.