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Ensure a better world for our children

Published : Monday, 12 February, 2024 at 12:00 AM  Count : 721

Ensure a better world for our children

Ensure a better world for our children

‘Every child you encounter is a divine appointment.

Children are innocent and they need to have a happy home and family to be nourished with love and care.

Unfortunately, ravages of war, hunger and basic necessities are lacking for millions of  innocent children worldwide.Think of  Gaza, Syria, Ethiopia tragic.

According to UNICEF, there are 153 million orphans and millions of homeless children around the worldfacing hardships and many challenging issues. Almost 385 million children around the world live in poor living conditions and an estimated 8,600 children die from malnutrition.

Apart from poverty, there are many other factors which affect children negatively like lack of education, poor sanitary conditions, child labour, sexual abuse, trafficking, child pornography, neglect and war.

Children have the right to live a healthy lifewith the basic necessities of life such as food, health and education. A carefree life of innocence is their birthright. Furthermore, their rights also include thelove and care of a family; protection from violence andindiscrimination; the right for their voices to be heard.

After World War II, the United Nations created a new agency to provide food, clothes and health care for the innumerable children suffering in Europe. In 1953, UNICEF became a permanent part of the UN and began a successful global campaign against yaws, a disfiguring disease, affecting millions of children which could be cured with penicillin.

To address these crucial issues affecting children the United Nations General Assembly on December 14th, 1954 recommended all the countries to establish a Universal Childrens Day. This day later became known as World Childrens Day. The UN General Assembly adopted the Declaration of the Rights of the Child on November 20 in 1959. Its also the date,in 1989, when the UN General Assembly adopted the Convention on the Rights of the Child. During the Convention, the specific rights of children were proclaimed. This Convention was the most widely approved international human rights treaty in history.

Presently, UNICEF works in more than 190 countries and territories, trying to reach the most vulnerable and excluded children everywhere focusing specially on their benefits everywhere.

The Convention has changed the way children are viewed and treated. They are now viewed as human beings with a distinct set of rights of their own.  Much has been accomplished since the adoption of the Convention, from declining infant mortality to rising school enrolment, but much remains to be done.

Every child has the right to healthcare, education and protection. Sadly, millions of children are deprived of these rights due to certain factors like country of birth, culture, tradition, gender or circumstances under which they are born. One out of sixchildren lives in extreme poverty around the globe. Despite great progress in school participation more than 175 million children don get enrolled in pre- primary education.

In the past, during war children were recruited in the army. More than twenty years ago, the worldunited to condemn and act against this brutal act against children. Since then, thousands of children have been released as a result of action plans mandated by the UN Security Council. Other actions aimed at ending and preventing recruitment and use of children by armed forces and groups have also been undertaken. However, the threat still remains.

According to statistics, in 2019, 1.6 billion children were living in a conflict-affected country, and approximately 426 million children were living in a conflict zone. Millions of children weredisplaced by armed conflict. These children are easy targets of grave violations.  Action is urgently required to alleviate the sorry plight of these children by the concerned states where they have been displaced or have taken refuge.

Even though, the right of children to protection from violence is present in the Convention, billions of children still remain victims of emotional, physical or sexual violence every year.   Violence against children takes place in institutions, in schools, and at home. It happensirrespective of culture, class or education.  Children exposed to violence live in isolation and fear. They don know where to go for help and are afraid to ask for help in fear of retaliation from the perpetrator.

In 2006, the UN Study provided a set of recommendations to end violence against children.Based on those, steps have been taken to ensure their effective follow-up and to monitor implementation.

There has been some real progress with many states having legislation to prohibit physical, mental and sexual violence and support victims.Awareness campaigns on the negative effects of violence against children are taking place.

These are significant developments, yet more needs to be done.  The worlds commitment to end all forms of violence against children is transparent in the inclusion of the specific target (16.2) in the 2030 Agenda.The work needs targeted attention to ensure the materialisation of this humane vision for every child.

Immense progress has been made in reducing preventable child mortality, ensuring enrolment of more children into schools, reducing extreme poverty and ensuring access to safe water and healthy food.

However, progressin addressing discrimination, promoting inclusive economic growth, protecting children from violence and combating climate change needs more attention.

With the adoption of the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in September of 2015, world leaders have committed to end poverty by 2030. But unless accelerated efforts are mademortality rate of children, poverty, number of drop out of children from schools, child marriages (specially of girl child) remains a matter of great concern.   

Theseinequalitiesendanger the future of individual children bycreating a vicious circle of discrimination and threaten the stability of societies and the security of nations everywhere. There can be no keener revelation of a societys soul than the way in which it treats its children- Nelson Mandela- Our children are the future of this world. Its not about what we can get out of them. Its about how we can empower them.

The world needs to mobilise all its powers to stop violations against children worldwide.  Letspromote and celebrate childrens rights to help build a better, beautiful tomorrow, where our future generation can thrive without fear and live a happy carefree life.

Don you think they deserve it? Lets give it to them.

The writer is a multilingual poet, columnist, op-ed and fiction writer, translator, educator  andtraining consultant. She is the Director of Continuing Education Centre, Bangladesh.

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