A Yemeni children’s Parliament that was set up lately with the help of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) held on Monday a session that was attended by several cabinet members and even members of armed groups.
The parliament, formed by children from all social layers, raised a number of issues of concern to children’s wellbeing. According to Jamal Al-Shami, the head of the Democratic School, which is the Yemeni non-profit umbrella organization for the Children’s Parliament, officials from the Defense, Interior, Education, Justice, Endowment and the Information departments have all accepted to attend the event and talk about their role in protecting childhood from all kinds of violations and crimes. Other issues such as minors’ marriage and other childhood crimes were raised.
In Yemen, the child soldier phenomenon is quite common and the militia groups are said to use children as human shields or kamikazes.
At the end of the session, pledges were made to fight the practice of childhood conscription and to protect children from crimes and theologians were urged to use mosques to sensitize the public to the danger of juvenile marriage and motherhood.