On the International Women's Day: a promise yet to be honored!
Today the twentieth of November the world is celebrating the International Child Day that sees the adoption of the Declaration of the Child Rights by the UN General Assembly in 1959 and it is the same day on which the UN General Assembly adopted the Convention on the Child Rights in 1989. The International Child Day is designated in response to the recommendation of the UN General Assembly in 1945 calling on the member states to designate an International Child Day as forum to address all issues related to children and the challenges faced in all parts of the world.
The UN system, its specialized agencies and other international NGOs have laid great emphasis to the child issues and rights and therefore adopted various declarations, conventions, protocols and international instruments to address the child issues in all aspects and hence the UN Declaration on the Child Rights (1959), the ILO Convention concerning the Minimum Age for Admission to Employment (1973), the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Administration of Juvenile Justice ("The Beijing Rules") (1985), the Declaration on Social and Legal Principle relating to the Protection and Welfare of Children with special reference to Foster Placement and Adoption Nationally and Internationally (1986) followed by the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989) and its three Optional Protocols including the First Optional Protocol on the involvement of children in armed conflicts (2000), the Second Optional Protocol on the sale of Children, child prostitution and child pornography (2000) and the Third Optional Protocol on communication procedures (2011) besides a set of international instruments addressing the various the child rights. Above all these, the UN has created a specialized agency – the United Nations Children's Fund ("UNICEF") – to children cause in 1946 and it has made huge difference in children's lives across the globe.
Despite these international efforts, children around the world are still in need of consistent greater interventions. They continue to face formidable risks. The child survival, development, education, physical, psychological and mental wellbeing, protection from violence, involvement in armed conflicts, poverty, sexual exploitation, the harrowing consequences of displacement and the dangers of illegal immigration are challenges still looming large and faced by countless children around the world effectively violating their very childhood and rights. It is a stab in the conscience of humanity for without the wellbeing and development of children our very survival is much at stake.
Child issues have been given much prominence within the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) agenda post-2015. Despite the progress made towards achieving these goals e.g. reducing the global poverty rate, increased percentage of children joining elementary schools, reduced child mortality rates in addition to the sustained efforts toward fighting diseases. However, the armed conflicts spread around the world especially in the Middle East and Africa still pose greater challenge to the actors in the field of child protection and child rights. War is the prime enemy of children. Shocking reports continue to flood us with heart-wrenching tragedies faced by children in conflict zones. We, in Geneva Institute for Human Rights commemorate this Day while we continue to be deeply disturbed by the atrocious realities and violations encountered by the children. We hope this Day will serve as momentum to pool our efforts and work together to change the grim prospect of our children and provide them with the protection they needed. Yet, this cannot be attained unless we work side by side to ensure that the child rights enshrined in the national, regional and international covenants and espoused in our religious principles and norms and the various ethical systems are protected and safeguarded.
We in Geneva Institute for Human Right take this opportunity to underline our resolve to remain to be griped with the children' rights. We extend our congratulations to the world at large and we hope the International Child Day next year we will see that we have made considerable strides in the way forward in the protection and safeguarding the children' rights and their wellbeing.