Children and Youth Parliament against discrimination and social exclusion

The participants of the first session of the Children and Youth Parliament (SDiM), in a resolution adopted on Friday, are demanding actions to counteract social exclusion and discrimination.

This year's 24th Children and Youth session of the Sejm lower house (SDiM, scheduled traditionally for June 1, was postponed until September due to the sit-in protest by the disabled and their carers, held earlier at the Polish Parliament's building.

Meanwhile, an alternative parliamentary session was organised under a new name - the Parliament of Children and Youth - in the Auditorium Maximum of the University of Warsaw.

The participants of the Children and Youth Parliament adopted a resolution in which they demand to counteract discrimination of groups due to: poverty, disability, addiction, low level of education, inadequate care of parents or guardians, faith or lack thereof, sexual orientation, gender identity, different skin color, different political views, mental illness and disorders, and age. The resolution also calls for countering the disregard of young people's opinions and role in society.

According to the initiative, due to the "lack of understanding of the situation of people excluded from and discriminated against by society", support and promotion should be provided to people who, by their actions, strive to eliminate the phenomenon of social alienation, as well as organise and take part in charities aimed to help the excluded and discriminated.

The participants of the Children and Youth Parliament have also postulated that NGOs should financially support these activities as well as come out with their own initiatives.

Other activities that should be undertaken according to young parliamentarians include the establishment of a national day of "eliminating divisions in society and its particular social groups". The Day of Unity, as named by the participants of the parliament, would fall on May 28, the day when the protest of the disabled, their parents and carers was suspended in the Sejm.

The document also appealed to national and local media to "increase social awareness about democratic and tolerant attitudes" and to disseminate it among children and youth, through radio and television programmes, press articles and social campaigns.

The resolution adopted by the Children and Youth Parliament, like previous resolutions adopted by the Sejm of Children and Youth, is a non-normative act, and therefore it will have no legal force.

The Sejm of Children and Youth has been organised since 1994 and has 460 members of parliament. The SDiM deliberations are based on procedures existing in the Polish Parliament and are intended to bring participants closer to the principles of Polish parliamentarianism. The plenary debate and the commission work which precedes it, are held in accordance with previously passed electoral laws and the statutes of the Children and Youth Parliament.

The purpose of SDiM's session is to shape patriotic attitudes, spread national traditions and promote the knowledge of places of remembrance and their role in history, heritage and local identity. For this reason, this year, the task of students applying for the mandate of youth parliamentary member was to undertake activities geared towards increasing the significance of historical remembrance in the local community.