With its initiative “Parliamentary Group for Children” National Network for Children for the first time in the history of democratic elections raises the issue of children in political programs and the need for all parties to unite for a better future of children in Bulgaria.
The future rulers are called upon to make the child and the family a priority and to work for them at the legislative and institutional level, by committing in the areas of social protection, healthcare, education and justice.
This practice of engaging MPs with children’s issues is not new to Europe – in 2019, a coalition of reputable international children’s organizations, including Eurochild and UNICEF, called on European Parliament candidates to sign such a declaration. There is such an initiative in connection with the upcoming elections in Germany in the fall.
We at National Network for Children hope that this campaign will turn the focus of public attention to children, make them a priority and speed up the best policy decisions in this area.
The initiative is with the idea of creating an informal association of public figures who are ready to advocate in Parliament and abroad for our children to grow up healthy, educated, free and happy, insisting on investment and concrete policies.
A declaration that in the future Parliament and as active citizens will support policies in favor of the welfare of children was signed by more than 150 candidates from seven political forces.
The declaration identifies key areas of concern – poverty and social exclusion, the need for investment in pediatric care and the National Children’s Hospital, the need for modern, child-friendly justice and protection from violence. The need for a comprehensive family policy that guarantees long-term and systematic solutions to problems and that considers the child in the context of the family is emphasized.
With the initiative we also express the position that the topic of children and their rights should not be politicized, because this hinders the solution of real problems and the creation of a modern system of protection.
“New governments need to start talking about children all the time, and any new policy or law needs to be assessed for their impact on children and families”, said Assoc. Prof. Dr. Velina Todorova, Deputy Chair of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, in an interview with the National Network for Children on the occasion of the initiative. She is one of the celebrities who supported the idea of uniting on behalf of the children. We also talked about the topic with the writer Georgi Gospodinov, the ombudsman Diana Kovacheva, the political scientist Parvan Simeonov, the actress Silvia Lulcheva, the musician and composer Petar Pisarski, the sports journalist Kamen Alipiev and professor Hristo Pimpirev to hear the point of view of authoritative personalities from different spheres of society.
After the elections and regardless of their results, the National Network for Children will continue to advocate for children’s rights and the well-being of families and will monitor the implementation of the commitments made by politicians.