During a session of the National Youth Parliament nine youths called for consultations and discussions regarding abortion and maintained the subject should not be treated as a taboo subject.
The participants, whose ages varied from between 13 to 35, called for the greater decentralisation of power in Gozo and proposed the political participation of immigrants and refugees who work in Malta and pay taxes.
In a resolution titled “sexual health and reproduction in Malta” the youth representatives said that annually a number of young women seek to have abortions in nearby countries, abortions that are illegal and carry a number of health perils. Their resolution said such abortion matters should be openly discussed and should not be treated as taboo.
The theme ‘Decentralisation and devolution of power in Gozo’ proposed the establishment of a regional council of nine people empowered to bring about regional political and legal changes in Gozo in conformity with national norms.
Another resolution concerned immigration and humanitarian protection. The youths condemned the Marsa Open Centre for immigrants and condemned what they deemed to be bad treatment by the authorities. In their resolution the youths requested that immigrants working and paying taxes in Malta should be given the political opportunity to make their concerns known.
Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said the Youth Parliament should not be regarded as an insignificant forum but one that helps determine the country’s agenda. He said that his party’s Electoral Manifesto contains many items that were raised in fora such as this. He also expressed satisfaction that in the Youth Parliament there was a gender balance unlike the national Parliament. He said he aspired that such a balance would also be achieved in the House of Representatives.
Opposition Leader Simon Busuttil congratulated the youths on the subjects they had chosen for discussions. He said the subject of sexual health and reproduction is a sensitive one because it also includes prostitution which he said is a form of female exploitation and all those who believe in equality and the rights of females should be against the legalisation of prostitution. Regarding immigration, he said the onus should not be borne by the people of Marsa but should be shared out to all localities.