Children campaigning for their seat in Yemen’s children parliament prioritised improving education and renewable energy, Save the Children and the Democracy School said today.
In the 9th round of election since its inception in the year 2000, around 240.000 children have participated in the children’s parliament in voting, campaigning or supporting the campaigns of other children in an inclusive process that saw participation from children from different governorates, diverse backgrounds and vulnerabilities.
In 2021, more than 193 children from 9 regions took part in the latest round of elections and a total of 38 children have been elected. Among them 18 girls will represent Yemeni children in their parliament.
Its role is to create awareness among children about their rights and enable them to use their own voices in order to bring meaningful change and contribute to the peacebuilding process. In the past, they drew the attention to several issues related to their rights forcing the recognition of these problems as serious threats for the children that have direct impacts on their lives. During the election’s campaigns, children focused their demands on better access to education, which have been a target of attacks from parties to the conflict.
Xavier Joubert, Save the Children Country Director for Yemen, said:
‘Children in Yemen are the most affected by the war. They have been targeted by all parties in this conflict, they have been left to starve and pushed out of education. We need to hear their voice and empower them to advocate for children’s rights.’
‘Save the Children is been supporting the Child Parliament for the last 21 years as it’s one of the few opportunities for Yemeni children to be heard in higher levels and draw the attention to issues they currently facing. Adults have the responsibility to create spaces where children can contribute to public debates and in the decision-making processes. This is the least we can do for them.’
Sami H. Alfakih, Democracy School’s programme manager, said:
‘Despite the difficulties and compelling circumstances that the children in Yemen are going through, the turnout and enthusiasm to participate was remarkable, especially from girls.’
‘There are no words to describe what we saw. We saw light in the eyes of those children as the Child Parliament is the last stand for Yemeni children to be heard. From this standpoint comes the importance of continuing to work on this type of capacity building opportunities in order to keep the Yemeni child parliament as a child rights governance beacon for all the children of the world.’
Following the 9th round of elections of the representatives of the Child Parliament of Yemen, Save the Children and the Democracy School congratulates all elected members.
Some of the issues that the Child Parliament has tackled in the past are child trafficking, child labour, access to education, early marriage, displacement, corruption and the involvement of children in the conflict.
The Children’s Parliament has been supported by Save the Children in collaboration with the Democracy School since 2000.
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Note to editors
The Children Parliament in Yemen is one of the attempts that granted a bigger participation for the children in expressing their views regarding their issues and questioning many governmental and non – governmental parties on their rights.
Activities of Yemen's Children Parliament have been banned in areas under the control of the De-Facto Authority, therefore elections were not held in those areas.
Members of the Children Parliament were able to meet many governmental and non–governmental officials and draw the attention to several issues related to their rights forcing the recognition of these problems as serious threats for the children that have direct impacts on their lives, health and stability including children in conflict with the law, child trafficking, child rights in national legislations, compulsory education; fighting against corporeal punishments in schools and other child-related institutions; corruption and its impact on children, the status of displaced children, the rights of children with special needs, and the urgency of increasing children share of the state general budget.
The Children Parliament has presented the first shadow report about the children situation which was prepared by the children themselves and conducted various field inspections that ended in detailed reports about child related issues including registering life events, the status of children in detention, the status of children in health centres and hospitals.
Members of the Children Parliament have also discussed reports prepared by the government in relation to the extent to which the obligations under the International Child Rights Treaty (ICR) and the two protocols are applied.