Il-ġimgħa l-oħra l-Kunsill Nazzjonali taż-Żgħażagħ sejjaħ laqgħa tal-Kumitat tal-Għaqdiet. Il-Kumitat tal-Għaqdiet isservi bħala spazju għall-għaqdiet tagħna biex jiġu flimkien, jiddiskutu u flimkien mal-Kunsill ikomplu jwettqu l-ħidma tagħhom għall-benefiċċju taż-żgħażagħ kollha li nirrapreżentaw.

Waqt din il-laqgħa xi wħud mill-membri tal-għaqdiet li huma membri fi ħdan il-Kunsill, qajmu l-punt dwar il-kundizzjonijiet fl-iskejjel tagħna. Bħala parti mid-deċiżjonijiet li ttieħdu f’dan il-kumitat, il-Kunsill Nazzjonali taż-żgħażagħ flimkien mal-għaqdiet li kienu preżenti għal din il-laqgħa qegħdin isejħu biex ikun hemm diskussjonijiet bejn il-gvern, l-MUT u anke mal-organiżazzjonijiet studenteski biex flimkien naslu għal soluzzjonijiet biex b’hekk il-kundizzjonijiet fl-iskejjel tagħna jitjiebu. Diskussjoni bħal din isservi biex issib dak li hu l-aħjar, kemm għall-għalliema kif ukoll għall-istudenti. B’hekk kulħadd iħossu rrappreżentat u parti mis-soluzzjonijiet li jinstabu.

The National Youth Council calls for more investment to encourage youths to participate and attend cultural activities.

As of this month, the Culture Pass will be rolled out replacing the Culture Card, as a Youth Council we feel that such a scheme should not be limited to those under the age of 16 but should be extended to all youths as to encourage attendance and participation in cultural and artistic activities.

Given the Strategy 2020 and that Valletta will become the European Capital of Culture in 2018, it is of great importance that such initiatives are promoted and extended so as to bring youths closer to arts at an early age. We call on the government to find ways and means which help our local art and cultural scene as well as to encourage youth to actively participate and support the scene.

To show its support for more investment in this sector the National Youth Council will be allocating €2000 of its annual budget towards the 'KNŻ Cultural Fund' which will serve in encouraging youths to participate and / or attend cultural activities.

The National Youth Parliament is an annual activity organised by the National Youth Council (KNZ). Year after year various youths have applied, came together and participated in this  activity which simulates the Maltese Parliament in its procedures and format.The aim of the National Youth Parliament is to bring youths together , where they would work in groups based on themes chosen by the National Youth Council. The participants are then to research, discuss, write a resolution and eventually debate their resolutions in a parliamentary session in which votes will be taken on their resolutions. Youths aged between 13 - 35 are divided into two groups, those aged between 13 - 18 years and those aged between 19 - 35 years old. The themes chosen for those aged between 13 - 18 years are the following; culture and innovation in Malta, Climate Change: Is there a solution? and Working Youths. Furthermore, the themes chosen for youths aged between 19 - 35 years are ; decentralisation and devolution of power in Gozo, migration and humanitarian protection, sexual health and reproductive rights in Malta.

Jasmine Farrugia, KNŻ’s National Officer, this morning in a press conference announced that the applications are now open. KNŻ shall be organising a number of events aimed at encouraging youths to participate in this year’s edition of the National Youth Parliament. This will include a number of workshops, information sessions and a live-in. This will be done to help the participants gain skills and confidence for the final session which will take place in parliament in September. The National Youth Council encourages all youths impassioned on an aforementioned topic to participate and contribute to the formulation of recommendations which will be later on presented to politicians and policy makers.

KNZ believes that the Transgender Day of remembrance is an annual day where one honors and stands with those who suffered and still suffer from transphobia. It is an international day which puts the realism that is transphobia in the limelight; abstract for some but a reality to others.

KNZ celebrates diversity as the holistic representation of different individuals that form a stronger society. As part of a European community, the Maltese Islands are open to different cultures and peoples which give our children and youths a firsthand experience of acceptance and belonging for them to grow even more as individuals.

However, one must understand that such progress is done only when one remembers what history has shown us. In the last years, the legislation for human rights in Malta boomed extensively, but unfortunately, no practical and parallel educational curriculum has followed to enhance a direct understanding of what the reality is showing us. Ample cases of both Transphobia and homophobia happen on a day to day basis, and whilst some make the news, other may suffer in silence.

The National Youth Council pushes for the need for an educational campaign and not only on legislation as a support for the need to learn how to live with one another, accept our differences and help each other flourish as individuals.

Malta is the leading country when it comes to LGBTI+ legislation, a good practice taken by European countries. The council recognizes such hard work and advocates for others states to reach forward in a practical effort for a more open society. KNZ will be installing gender neutral bathrooms at their offices in the near future and invites other businesses, organizations and public offices to follow suit.

As the umbrella organization for youth NGO’s and young people the council is fully committed to represents all facets of the society will continue to fight transphobia while remaining have an open door for all of those who want to voice their opinion and share their ideas.

Last September, KNŻ President along with the Presidents of ADŻ, FŻL, MŻPN, Pulse and SDM asked for a parliamentary debate on the right to vote for 16 and 17 year olds to be extended to all elections prior to the election which will take place in 2018, in a joint letter.

Since then, the KNŻ has written to all Members of Parliament to inquiry what are their thoughts on the motion which was presented late last year by Hon. Marlene Farrugia and Hon. David Agius so that youths aged 16 will be eligible to vote in all elections.

KNŻ has received an answer from both parliamentary groups and Hon. Giovanna Debono (the independent MP) on how they shall be voting once the aforementioned motion is presented in parliament and a vote is taken. Both the Nationalist parliamentary group and Hon. Giovanna Debono said that they shall be supporting the motion once it is tabled and a vote is a taken. Whilst Labour Whip answered in the name of the Labour parliamentary group saying that this year there will be a consultation process with the aim to analyse the extension of granting voting rights to 16 year olds to MEP elections and General Election.

KNZ calls once again, like it did last September together with all youth and student political organisations, for an immediate discussion on the subject in Parliament and for this proposal to be implemented before the next general election in 2018.

Whilst welcoming the recent proposals which are part of the National Children's Policy that of extending vote 16 to all elections and improving civic education; KNZ would like to reiterate its stand that it fully agrees that voting rights for 16 year olds should be extended to all elections. Furthermore, necessary measures should be taken so that our education system includes civic education to help in a better formation of our youths.

If at 16 years of age a person can work and contribute in NI and is mature enough to vote in local council elections, there is no need to wait until 2024 for full voting rights to be granted. We call on both the Government and the Opposition to extend voting rights for youths before the general election of 2018.

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