28 January 2009

Timor Aid Meets With Prime Minister on Establishing of a National Youth Parliament

Tuesday 27th January, 2008



At 12:30pm today, Timor Aid is meeting with Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao at Government Palace, in a historic presentation of the Commission for the Establishment of Youth Parliament’s guidelines and recommendations for a Youth Parliament in Timor Leste.

The Commission for the Establishment of Youth Parliament members are Timor-Leste National Youth Council, National Resistance of Timor-Leste Students, Timor-Leste Advocacy Association, and Timor Aid. The Commission elected Timor Aid as the leader of the process to conduct the activites for establishing a National Youth Parliament and was a result of Timor Aid’s four year Civic Education project funded by DFID and partnered with INGO Mercy Corps.

Timor Aid will present to the Prime Minister a report of the Youth Parliament’s activities, the formal guidelines for the process of Youth Parliament as well as the recommendations made by the Youth members during their Parliament discussions.

Director of Timor Aid, Alex Gusmao stressed the importance of this process for three reasons, “ A national Youth Parliament is necessary not only to give Young people a voice and a way for their voice to be heard, but also as a training ground so they are prepared as our future leaders. Finally it is important the Youth Parliament is independent and is free to lobby the government.”

The Youth Members were elected by a three stage process facilitated by Timor Aid in 8 districts. Firstly at the district level, all youth organisations and groups were identified and asked to send one representative to a District Assembly. From the District Assembly, four members, 2 male and 2 female were elected to create the District Congress. The elected district Congress Members then represent in Parliament and are therefore the Youth Parliament members. The establishment of Youth Parliament also included intense training on Parliamentary processes and understanding, roles and responsibilities of governance and the rules and functions of the Sovereign bodies in Timor Leste.

During a Youth Parliament meeting, youth voiced their concerns about issues in the whole community as well as the future of Youth Parliament. These recommendations are also being formally presented today including their thoughts on areas such as education, unemployment, sport, infrastructure, health and security.

For any further information or interviews please contact: Alex Gusmao or Anna McGeoch & Veronika Luruk Director, Timor Aid External Relations, Timor Aid Mobile: 731 4480 Mobile: 740 8641

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