“Today is a joyful day for the Parliament of Montenegro, for the Government of Montenegro, for entire Montenegro, because the country has an opportunity to open the doors of its institutions to the best and most joyful part – the children,’’ said Ranko Krivokapic, Speaker of the Parliament.
At the beginning of the session the children presented the key problems they are faced with in Montenegro. Children especially emphasized the importance of creating conditions for inclusion of children with disabilities in Montenegrin society.
‘’Thanks to the ‘It’s About Ability’ campaign, initiated by UNICEF together with the Government of Montenegro and numerous partners, children with disabilities have become more visible and accepted. But we still do not know exactly how many children with disabilities are living in Montenegro. Unfortunately, there are still those who do not allow their children to be friends with us. There are still families who are not allowing their children with disabilities to go to school and participate in the society, as they are hiding them. A child with a disability is like any other child –he/she needs to grow up in a stimulating environment with a lot of support and love. For this reason, we appeal to families and the society in general, not to place children with disability in institutions, but to provide support to their families in every possible way,’’ said Miljan Loncar in his opening speech to the Parliament.
Minister of Labour and Social Welfare Suad Numanović spoke about the progress achieved in establishing a network of Day Care Centres for children with disabilities covering all municipalities.
‘’The ‘It’s About Ability’ campaign which has achieved many great results, has made us, has obliged us to intensify the work on what we had previously recognized as an obligation. These days, we will open a Day Centre in Plav, and I invite you to join me in Plav. I also invite all interested to join me in opening a Day Centre in Berane by the end of the year,’’ said Suad Numanovic, Minister of Labour and Social Welfare.
Participants dedicated a lot of time discussing the Recommendations of the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child, which the Government received last year.
‘’One of the recommendations from the previous session of the Committee in 2010 was that Montenegro needs to reduce the number of children living in children homes and to increase the number of children living in families, including foster care or other family style arrangements that are alternative to placement in institutions,’’ said Benjamin Perks, UNICEF Representative for Montenegro.
The children’s session of the Montenegrin Parliament lasted for two and a half hours and it was broadcasted live on the public service television TVCG.