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Children’s Day: UNICEF To Focus On Children’s Rights

Disturbed at what it called the denial of the right of children by the authorities in Nigeria, the United Nations Children Education Fund (UNICEF) has concluded plans to use the occasion of Children’s Day celebration to focus on such rights.

In a statement today, Sunday, ahead of the celebration tomorrow, May 27, UNICEF said: ´it comes at a crucial moment for child rights in the country, and for child rights globally. We will launch a campaign to draw awareness to children’s rights by all of Nigerian society. Sadly, it is the most disadvantaged children who are suffering the greatest challenge in having their rights fulfilled.”

 “While there have been many advances over the last years, children in Nigeria are still not accessing health, nutrition, education and other rights to the extent that they must.”

UNICEF’s new Country Representative in Nigeria, who took up his post today, said Peter Hawkins, was quoted in the statement as saying that Nigerian Children’s Day 2019 falls during the 30th anniversary of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), which is being commemorated this year around the world.

“As part of the celebrations, UNICEF is launching a “Passport to Your Rights” – a copy of the CRC in child-friendly language, in pocket format. UNICEF aims that every child in Nigeria has a copy by 2030 – the deadline for achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.

“The CRC ‘passport’ will also be available in Hausa, Igbo, Yoruba and Pidgin languages, helping to ensure access by millions of Nigerians.

“Thirty years ago, something incredible happened. World leaders came together in a moment of unity for the world’s children. They made a promise to every child to protect and fulfil their rights, by adopting the UN’s Convention on the Rights of the Child. The Conventon established childhood as a period that is separate from adulthood – a time in which children should grow, learn, play, develop and flourish,” said Peter Hawkins.

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“We want to see every Nigerian child have that kind of a childhood.”

The Convention went on to become the most widely-ratified human rights treaty in history, with Nigeria ratifying it in 1991. It has helped to transform children’s lives; inspiring legislative changes to protect children and enabling them to participate actively in their societies.

Peter Hawkins said: “today, more children than ever live healthy lives, are learning in school and have a voice in their communities. But much more needs to be done as children’s rights continue to be unfulfilled and threatened daily around the world and in Nigeria. There are still too many children being left behind, and too many childhoods cut short by violence, conflict, poverty and inequality.”