Mon, Nov 14, 2005 - Page 2 News List

Young thinkers attack problems

YOUTH SUMMIT The young delegates discussed war, poverty and abuse at the event, which aims to give children an idea of what rights they should be entitled to


The opening ceremony of the 2005 World Children's Rights Summit was held yesterday in Taipei, as 87 children from 19 different nations gathered to discuss the main theme this year -- how children can help children.

The event, organized the Children's Rights Association of Taiwan, is being held for the fifth time this year, and focuses on three issues that influence children all over the world -- war, poverty and abuse.

Huang Pi-hsia (黃碧霞), director of the child welfare bureau under the Ministry of the Interior, said that the summit provided an annual opportunity for children to discuss and understand different issues that affect them.

Children's rights are often overlooked by society, especially in cases of child abuse and when parents commit suicide with their children, Huang said. Children have the right to live and the right to be protected, she added.

"When the summit is over, these children will return to their respective countries and will educate other children, and hopefully, when they grow up, they will become parents who understand children's rights," Huang said.

The NGO Affairs Committee of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs also played a role in the summit, by helping to finance the event.

Oliver Liao (廖文哲), section chief of the committee, said that Taiwan has always emphasized the development of human rights.

"We hope that through this summit, human rights and children's rights can be promoted on a global scale," Liao said.

The Taiwanese participants underwent a selection process in which English was a major criterion, while participants from abroad found out about the program through Taiwan's economic and cultural affairs offices while in their own countries.

Henry Verall, a 12-year-old British student from the Taipei European School (TES), said that this was his second year attending the summit.

"Last year the topic was environmental protection, but this year the summit focuses on poverty, war and child abuse," Verall said. "To me, the most important children's right is a sense of security -- that children can feel and be safe wherever they go."

Jamie Whitcombe, who is also a TES student, said that they were asked to write an essay on children's rights before attending the summit.

"I really didn't realize the importance of the issues until I actually attended this summit," Whitcombe said.

"Now I know the real meaning of children helping other children," Whitcome added.

Igor de Oliveire Borges, a 12-year-old student from Brazil, said that he would most like to see the alleviation of child poverty all over the world.

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