Children to choose what they want to see in new commissioner

Malta still has not removed reservation on banning corporal punishment as laid down in Convention for the Rights of the Child

Family Minister Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca
Family Minister Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca

Children will be asked what they want to see in their new Commissioner for Children, family minister Marie Louise Coleiro Preca announced today.

Taking the occasion of the International Day of Children, Coleiro Preca said the new commissioner would be chosen from a survey of around 400 students who will participate in an activity next Saturday to select the new commissioner.

With the help of former commissioners for children - so far, Sonya Camilleri, Carmen Zammit, and present commissioner Helen d'Amato - the students will be asked to select the values and qualities they want to see in a new commissioner. The children will participate in workshops organised by PSD teachers. 

"Their opinion will be formulated into a consultation document that will be presented to the Prime Minister. The values and qualities the children ask for will be taken into consideration when the Prime Minister chooses the next commissioner. This is a government that listens," Coleiro Preca said.

The minister also said that the national commission for children is developing a comprehensive legal framework that will gather all laws pertaining to children's rights, in one act, as well as introduce a charter of rights and national policy.

Asked by MaltaToday on the fact that Malta still carries a reservation on the prohibition of corporal punishment as laid down in the Convention on the Rights of the Child, Coleiro Preca said that the new legal framework will be dealing with all loopholes affecting childrens' rights.

"It won't happen overnight... the government doesn't just want to be a signatory to conventions but also ensure their enforcement. It's a tall order."

The activity 'A voice for your voice' which will take place next Saturday, is the third consultation carried out with school children. The previous consultation processes regarded poverty and care orders. 

"The recent experiences showed the exercise was a worthwhile consultation. Through these processes, children speak for themselves. They mention aspects and threats that policy makers may not have foreseen or taken into consideration."

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