The Malta Independent 10 December 2018, Monday

World Children's Day: Children are entitled to their rights - Pauline Miceli

Giulia Magri Tuesday, 20 November 2018, 11:24 Last update: about 20 days ago

20 November marks World Children’s Day. This day emphasises that every child is entitled to enjoy a life which guarantees safety, protection and the possibility of fulfilling their potential.

Contacted by this newsroom, Commissioner for Children Pauline Miceli stressed the importance of World Children’s Day, and said that all children are entitled to have their voices heard.

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She said that often, parents and child carers take authority over children’s decisions, when children would also know what is best for them. Many times children’s opinions are not acknowledged, she said, while adding that it is time for children to be aware that their opinion matters.

A storybook with a purpose

To commemorate the day, Michael Falzon, Minister for the Family, Children’s Rights and Social Solidarity, and the Commissioner for Children Pauline Miceli launched the child-friendly version of the National Children’s Policy. The launch was held at St Theresa College, Middle School and marks the beginning of a series of workshops which will be carried out in numerous schools. The workshops will work upon the implementations of the National Children’s Policy, which was launched last year.

Those children who were participating in the workshops will be presented with a copy of the Child-friendly version of the Policy. The Children’s Commissioner Office also distributed a number of age appropriate publications to schools on the Maltese Islands to promote children’s right and literacy, such as reading books, story books and a leaflet promoting Mental Wellbeing.

Miceli said that this year, over 70 schools, ranging from Primary to Secondary, State, Church and Private schools’ will be organising different activities to promote World Children’s Day. A number of schools will be organising workshops to promote the National Children’s Policy in a more approachable and child-friendly manner.

This is the first time that children’s policy has been turned into a storybook, making it easier for children to understand their rights. The storybook is about three children from different backgrounds, with one child’s parents being drug addicts, while another child is a transgender girl. Miceli explained that the story deals with characters which form part of our society, and therefore young readers can adapt to it much easier.

Some schools will also emphasise on digitalisation rights education. She said that children should understand the pros and cons of technology, to adapt to the positive usage of technology, whilst knowing the dangers such as cyber bullying.

A support system for both children and parents

Micelli also spoke of ongoing work for a better support structure and representation in cases of abuse, for both children and parents.

She also said that children suffering from challenging behaviour, especially adolescents, find it difficult to cope in terms of balancing studying, peer pressure and living at home, and in certain cases abuse their parents.

She emphasised that the Child Protection Bill is also very important, to provide special care and protection for children who are removed or separated from their parents and are placed in out-of-home care. All children are entitled to a lawyer and to seek consultation, just like adults are aware of their rights, she said.

To celebrate World Children’s Day, over 70 Primary, Middle and Secondary, State, Church and Independent schools’ and various Local Councils are organising different activities to promote the rights of children.

 

 

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