The Coalition of NGO’s for Protection of the Rights of Children in Kosovo (KOMF) called on the local institutions and political entities and candidates running in the 3rd November 2013 – Local Elections, to stop using children in their campaign activities.
“Based on available information and field reports, we understand that by holding their electoral activities in school premises, besides impeding the regular education process, the political parties also use children to promote their political platforms and candidates“, states KOMF in a public statement issued on October 15, 2013.
The great number of children used from different political parties for campaigning is considered a violation of their rights and harmful to them. The Youth Initiative for Human Rights (YIHR), comments that the use of elementary school students and children under the age of ten is a form of abuse and manipulation of children.
Sociologist Shemsi Krasniqi told the public service broadcaster KTV that it is bad for the image of children and can have negative effects on their personality if they are used and manipulated by political entities, at such tender age, to achieve political goals.
Krasniqi added that political parties, in the attempt to promote and cover-up their failed ideas and policies, use the enthusiasm of children to make loud and dynamic campaigns.
So far, there have been several reactions to the practice of using children to cover a part of election campaigns conducted by political parties running in the Elections. Reports show that almost all parties running for the November Local Elections use children to cover their campaigns. Such a phenomenon is being noted in all towns of Kosovo.
Earlier, the Parents’ Council of Kosovo also reacted to this practice, noting that they consider the use of children in electoral campaigning was a form of abuse. The Council called on school principals, teachers and faculty staff of elementary schools to respect their teaching schedules avoids losing classes for the purposes of political campaigning.
In its Report on the first week of the Election Campaign, the Democracy in Action NGO Network, which actively monitors the Campaign for the coming Local Elections, among other noted irregularities and flaws of the campaign, listed also the use of children for campaign purposes.