Youth Assembly Shines Spotlight on Children's Rights

Session: Session currently unavailable

Date: 24 February 2023

Reference: SO 06/22/23

The Youth Assembly focused on the rights of children and young people at its fifth plenary sitting today (Friday 24 February). Members specifically examined and reflected on the work over the past eight years of the outgoing Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People, Koulla Yiasouma.

Speaker Alex Maskey who chaired today’s sitting said: “The Youth Assembly was created to give young people a voice and to provide opportunities for them to have their say on issues that affect them. This sitting will do just that, by offering Youth Assembly members the chance to explore issues and discussions around children’s rights that are relevant to them and their peers.

Speaker Maskey continued: “I am really delighted that the Youth Assembly have been given the role of considering the Children’s Commissioner’s final report. Koulla has been a tremendous support to the Assembly Commission in developing the Youth Assembly and has been one of its most loyal supporters. I know that Koulla will be keen to hear their thoughts and will address in her response, the issues raised by the members of the Youth Assembly.”

Speaker Maskey concluded: “Working with the Youth Assembly is one of the things I am proudest of from my time in office. I am therefore very pleased to have had the chance to introduce the Speakers and Presiding Officers of Westminster and the other devolved legislatures to the Youth Assembly.”

Prior to the plenary sitting, Youth Assembly members participated in discussions with the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission, met with The Speakers and Presiding Officers from Westminster and the three devolved legislatures, and received a briefing from Assembly Research on the areas the Committees are focusing on – education, environment, rights and equality, and mental health.



Notes to Editor:

  • Koulla Yiasouma took up appointment as NI Commissioner for Children and Young People (NICCY) in March 2015.
  • The Speakers and Presiding Officers from Westminster and the three devolved legislatures are holding their first quadrilateral meeting since the pandemic to reflect on common parliamentary issues. The four Speakers/Presiding Officers are:
    Northern Ireland Assembly, Alex Maskey, Speaker
    House of Commons, Rt. Hon Sir Lindsay Hoyle MP, Speaker
    The Senedd, Rt Hon Elin Jones AM,  Llywydd
    The Scottish Parliament, Alison Johnstone MSP, Presiding Officer
  • The Youth Assembly held its first plenary sitting (virtually) on Friday 2 July 2021. The second plenary sitting was held in person in the Great Hall of Parliament Buildings on Saturday 6 November 2021. The third plenary sitting was held in the Assembly Chamber on Saturday 5 March 2022. The fourth plenary sitting was held in the Assembly Chamber on Saturday 5 November 2022.
  • There are four Youth Assembly Committees – Health, Education, Environment, Rights and Equality.
  • The Youth Assembly consists of 90 members, aged between 13 to 17.
  • Each Youth Assembly mandate lasts for two years. The current mandate is 2021-2023.


For all media enquiries:

Caroline Moore

The Communications Office

Northern Ireland Assembly

Mobile: 07900 278992


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