Tirana, 4 November 2015 – Parliament of Albania in cooperation with UNICEF Albania and Children’s Human Rights Centre of Albania organized today the first meeting of the Parliamentary Group “Friends of Children”. Present at the meeting were the speaker of Parliament, country director of UNICEF Albania, members of parliament, representatives of public institutions and civil society organizations.
Parliamentary Group “Friends of Children” is an ad-hoc group in the Albanian Parliament, and aims to be a strong voice for the protection and advancing for the rights of children and young people. The PGFC is composed by 20 MPs, men and women, who have been committed throughout the years to the advancing of human rights, children’s rights, the rights of women, etc, something that diversifies the work of PGFC making it more supportive under the framework of the rights of children, based on many professional perspectives and experiences, by proposing multi-disciplinary solutions to other lawmakers.
In his opening remarks, moderator and director of CRCA Albania, Mr Altin Hazizaj thanked the speaker of Parliament and chair of the PGFC, vice chairs Vasilika Hysi, Albana Vokshi dhe Olta Xhaçka for their work and dedication that they have shown for the advancement of children’s rights in the country.
Speaker of Parliament and Chair of PGFC, Mr Ilir Meta said that the protection of children’s rights is an irreplaceable human and constitutional obligation for the state and all institutions. "The respect for rights of individuals, their promotion and provision will always be a priority legislation, policies and institutions. “Moreover, the organization of roundtables and seminars with civil society organizations and children themselves will be in our focus”. "In order to achieve these commitments, the Parliament of Albania supported this initiative and the request of civil society organizations to create a group of MPs to protect the rights of children as a special advocacy group of parliamentarians in supporting and protecting the rights and freedoms of children in our country”.
UNICEF Representative, Ms. Antonella Scolamiero, praised the role of the Parliament’s resolution adopted on 26 November 2013, adding that the mechanisms for its implementation are underway. Furthermore, the representative of UNICEF in Albania added that many of the commitments undertaken by the Albanian Parliament’s resolution of November 2013 are ongoing, underlining as a unique case the establishment of the Parliamentary Group "Friends of Children".
Vice chair of PGFC, Mrs. Albana Vokshi said: "The issue of children's rights is very important for society and is an issue that should outweigh any political agenda. We should not misuse children’s rights for political gains”.
Vice chair of PGFC, Mrs. Olta Xhaçka said that the parliamentary group is well placed to fight for the rights of children, but also to undertake, in cooperation with civil society, policies and legal initiatives such as prevention of violence against children as well as to improve the quality of children’s lives.
The meeting continued with a series of interventions by representatives of parliament, civil society, state institutions, independent institutions, etc. At the end of the meeting some key actions were emphasized to be kept in mind by the participants, such as the need to share the strategic plan with all stakeholders the strategic plan of PGFC for suggestions and inputs; sharing with all civil society organizations that work with children a list of legislative initiatives they want the parliament should undertake; planning a two-day seminar to discuss what we can be done together with CSO in 2016; the creation of a children and youth group in the parliament as a consultative body for issues that affect them, etc.
For more information, please contact:
Mersila Ballo, CRCA Shqipëri, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org;
Blerina Metaj, CRCA Shqipëri, E-mail: email@example.com