Children feel 'hurt' on their national day
The commemoration of National Children's Day turned sour Wednesday with the government refusing to allow children to read out their demand for the establishment of a special ministry of their own.
The request is the last point of a six-point declaration, titled "Voice of Indonesian Children", drafted during the just-concluded 7th Indonesian Children's Congress in Bogor, West Java.
The restriction, viewed as a denial of freedom of expression, took place right under the nose of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, who was among the state dignitaries attending the celebration at the Taman Mini Indonesia park in East Jakarta. It remains unclear if the President has been informed about the censorship.
Representatives of the children said the event organizers had forbidden them from reading out the sixth point for "political reasons".
The event was organized by the Social Services Ministry.
"We feel hurt by the restriction. What we know is that the declaration is just an expression of our ideas, so we should have been allowed to speak out," said Ajat Sudrajat, who was among the children who signed the declaration.
"We don't care if the ministry could only be established in the next 10 years or so. We just want to be heard."