My name is Ramazani. I am 16 years old and for the last several months I have been with Young Reporters of Goma. Today, I want to tell you about the recent visit of two ambassadors, Mrs. Gufran Al-Nadaf (Swedish Ambassador for children and armed conflicts) and Mrs.Maria Håkansson (Swedish Ambassador in the DRC).
We have the right to speak out
The two ambassadors came to visit the North-Kivu Children’s Parliament on 23 May. At least 30 children were in attendance: members of the Parliament, Young Reporters and others from the town.
We, the children, are human beings with rights and are our own actors. We have the right to speak out, to be informed and to meet. That is what we are doing in North-Kivu, and that is why the two ambassadors came to meet with us.
During our meetings with the two ambassadors, we showed them how the children’s participation structures work in the Province of North Kivu. The Children’s Provincial Parliament and Young Reporters work in tandem. We, the Young Reporters, are the communication channel for the Children’s Parliament. We write articles, produce videos and advocate for children’s rights.
Children deprived of their childhood
This meeting was of major importance to us, the children of North Kivu. Indeed, it was a chance for us to talk about the situation children in the Province of North Kivu, where a large majority of the children are victims – directly and indirectly – of the conflicts ravaging our region.
Many of the children have joined armed groups or are separated from their families. Too many children in our province are out of school, lack access to proper sanitation, are unhealthy, etc. The North Kivu children cannot have a proper childhood because of the climate of many years of conflict.
We hope that through our meeting and discussions, the two ambassadors now know about the disastrous impact that the conflict has on mothers and children. We also hope that our discussions will result in an improvement in the children’s situation in the province. We, the Young Reporters and the Children’s Parliament, will never stop seeking the attention of decision makers and the community to have the rights of every child respected. Together, we can obtain a better future for children.
The support of Sweden in DRC
Sweden and UNICEF have a last standing collaboration in the DRC, in particular for children affected by armed conflict as well as in humanitarian assistance. Sweden is an important humanitarian partner of UNICEF. In order to build peace and ensure respect for the rights of all children – including the most vulnerable – it is essential to provide people affected by conflict and crises with the necessary humanitarian assistance and to strengthen the resilience of communities. The Swedish contribution to humanitarian assistance is important to support people affected by conflict and crises, to facilitate the return to normalcy and to ensure peace and stability.