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Friday, 19 November, 1999, 07:01 GMT
Children take over the Assembly
The events celebrate the UN Convention on Children's Rights

Schoolchildren from all over Wales are to explore the world of politics with help from the National Assembly and MPs.

Sixth formers are to hold a debate in the chamber of the the National Assembly as part of an event organised by the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF).

Younger children will be given the opportunity to ask their MPs questions about a range of issues, including education, health and the environment.

60 sixth formers will take over the debating chamber
A UNICEF spokesperson said that politicians have a responsibility to listen to children's views

The UN body has organised the debates as part of the celebrations marking the 10th anniversary of the Convention on Rights of the Child.

The document was signed on 20 November 1989 and has been ratified in every country in the world with the exception of the USA and Somalia.

The National Assembly chamber will host a regional forum of the European Youth Parliament with 60 Welsh sixth formers taking the seats of Assembly Members.

Traffic congestion, Europe and organ transplants are among the issues that are due to be discussed.

The Assembly's Presiding Officer, Lord Dafydd Ellis-Thomas AM, said he was delighted that so many young people are taking part in the event.

Pop star Robbie Williams has joined the UNICEF celebrations
It was announced on Thursday that Wales will be the first nation in the UK to have a Children's Commissioner.

The details were revealed in the draft spending proposals published by the Assembly Health and Social Services Secretary, Jane Hutt.

A total of 100,000 a year over each of the next two years will be spent in developing the post.

The UK branch of UNICEF has long campaigned for the appointment of children's rights commissioners to act as independent advocates for children

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See also:
28 Aug 99 |  UK
Campaign to celebrate children
20 Sep 99 |  World
BBC series champions children's rights
18 Nov 99 |  Entertainment
Robbie's millennium message of hope

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