Llywydd, Elin Jones AM, to discuss children’s rights and the Welsh Youth Parliament with Hillary Clinton
As part of her visit to Swansea University, Hillary Rodham Clinton will have an opportunity to discuss the National Assembly for Wales’ plans to establish a new Welsh Youth Parliament with the Llywydd, Elin Jones AM.
Hillary Clinton is due to receive an honorary doctorate from Swansea University, deliver a lecture and bestow her name on the Law School, which will be known as the Hillary Rodham Clinton School of Law.
The honorary doctorate recognises Hillary Clinton’s commitment to promoting the rights of families and children around the world. Swansea University, which is home to the Wales Observatory on Human Rights of Children and Young People, shares that commitment and has played a part in shaping Welsh public policy on children’s human rights, including the development of policy for a Welsh Youth Parliament.
In October 2016, the Assembly unanimously agreed a motion to establish a new youth parliament for Wales. The Assembly Commission consulted with over five thousand young people between April-June this year and an overwhelming majority voted in favour of the proposals outlined.
Last week, the Commission agreed to progress the plans and are finalising arrangements to empower children and young people between the ages of 11-18 to elect 60 members to represent their views as Youth Welsh Parliament Members.
The Llywydd, Elin Jones AM, said:
“Wales is rightly proud of its record in advancing the children’s rights agenda and I’m pleased to be able to share with Hillary Clinton how the National Assembly for Wales is contributing to this. The establishment of the Children’s Commissioner’s office and the impact of the Rights of Children and Young Persons law, which requires the Welsh Government to have due regard to the rights and obligations in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), have positioned us well on the international stage.
“Now, we’re planning for the election of the first Welsh Youth Parliament, having consulted with thousands of young people from communities across Wales about the kind of youth parliament they want to see.
“Young people in Wales are currently not able to vote in National Assembly for Wales elections until they are 18. This age threshold, and whether it should be lowered, is actively being considered by an expert panel commissioned by the National Assembly at this time. Despite this, we absolutely believe that young people are citizens whose voices must be heard at the heart of Welsh political debate.
“Following our consultation with young people, I’m pleased to announce the key features of our new Welsh Youth Parliament.”
The details include:
40 Youth Welsh Parliament Members will represent Wales’ electoral constituencies and 20 will represent specific groups;
YWPM will be elected for a two year term and be allowed to stand for election more than once;
The Welsh Youth Parliament will be independent from all political parties;
The Welsh Youth Parliament will empower young people to bring about change on the issues that matter to them; and
It will represent the views of the young people of Wales and ensure young people are influencing the work of the Assembly.
Elin Jones added: “I want the Youth Parliament to reach young people in communities across the nation, in particular those who do not usually get their voices heard. Youth Welsh Parliament Members will go out and listen to other young people, and provide them with an opportunity to express their opinions and empower them to be more active citizens in their nation.”
Vice-Chancellor of Swansea University Professor Richard B Davies said: “We are delighted to present an honorary award to Hillary Rodham Clinton, a figure of enormous international significance and one synonymous with human rights, particularly the rights of children and young people. It is tremendous that she has chosen Swansea University for her first public appearance on this visit to the UK. It shows that we are being noticed for our excellent research and teaching, and the impact that we are making globally.”
Jane Williams, Associate Professor and Co-Director of the Wales Observatory on Human Rights of Children and Young People at Swansea University said:
“All of us at the Wales Observatory – both at Swansea and Bangor Universities – are thrilled that the Llywydd is able to join us in celebrating Hillary Clinton’s association with our work on children’s human rights. The Llywydd’s leadership and her engagement with the young people who worked so hard to campaign for a Welsh Youth Parliament are proof that we really can work together across all ages to build a better Wales – and a better world - for everyone.”