Human rights activists welcome establishing of youth parliament in Salihorsk

2013 2013-11-30T15:11:48+0300 2013-11-30T15:11:48+0300 en The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
Photo by Andrei Lliankevich

Photo by Andrei Lliankevich

In early November, many state-run media reported about Salihorsk’sjoining aUNICEF international initiative called “Child Friendly Cities.” Local human rights activistswelcome this idea and are willing to give full support to its implementation.

The main peculiarity of this initiative is the mandatory participation of children and young people in decision-making processes that affect their own lives. This principle is implemented through the creation of special youth councils at local authorities. Salihorsk isno exception. Local authorities announced the creation of the system of school self-government and a youth parliament.

“Creating a youth representative body under the auspices of the United Nations Children's Fund, of course, is a very good initiative. Its full implementation would not only help schoolchildren and students defend their interests, but would give them a practical understanding of the democratic process,” sayslocal representative of the Belarusian Helsinki Committee Leanid Markhotka.

Another local human rights activist Aliaksei Valabuyeustresses that the main aim of the initiative is the realization of children's rights enshrined in the UN Convention. The right to education, the right to preserve their identity, the right to non-discrimination, the right to freely express their views, opinions and the right to be heard, the right of the child to freedom of thought, conscience and religion, freedom of association and peaceful assembly. All of these rights are, unfortunately, in varying degrees, periodically violated by Salihorsk authorities.

“Suffice it to recall the prosecution of local youth opposition leader Ivan Shyla for his membership in an unregistered organization "Young Front", followed by unlawful expulsion from school. There were hundresd of cases of detentions, fines and arrests received by local young activists in recent years in attempts to implement the above-mentioned rights. Therefore, I sincerely want to believe that the implementation of this international initiative will help change the situation for the better,” says Aliaksei Valabuyeu.

Local representatives of the Belarusian Helsinki Committee, in turn,are planning to contact the project participants and to provide any necessary legal and methodological assistance for the successful implementation of the project.