UNICEF marks International Children's Day with Model UN Conference and Infant Race
YEREVAN, 1 June 2010 - Over 60 high school students gathered on the 1st of June, International Children’s Day, for debates over the issues of child poverty, education for all and child trafficking held as part of the United Nations Model and organized by UNICEF Armenia Office and the Armenia UN Association.
“Globally millions of children are suffering from child poverty, child trafficking and many are still deprived of the right to go to school. Problems like those I have mentioned erode childhood, strip children of their basic rights embedded in the Convention on the Rights of the Child,“ UNICEF Representative in Armenia Laylee Moshiri said, welcoming young delegates who represented schools of Yerevan.
Acting as delegates of UN member-states, children simulated the discussions of the UN General Assembly and Security Council, and drafted and adopted two resolutions under the overarching theme “Towards the World Fit for Children”.
“Governments, of course, do bear primary responsibility for accomplishment of children’s rights, as well as communities where those children live and parents. However, if children themselves do not speak out for their rights, if they remain passive holders of their rights and not active right claimers, hardly any government, community, or parent will be able to properly consider children’s needs and aspirations,” UNICEF Representative stressed, calling on children to be pro-active and bold in expressing their views and opinions on issues affecting them.
Attending the conference were also Minister of Education and Science of Armenia, representatives of the Armenian Branch of “People in Need” Czech NGO, the Armenia UN Association and Andrea and Vahé Keushguerians who co-sponsored the event.
In his address to young Armenian delegates UN Secretary General Ban ki-Moon said: “We need to harness the spirit of youth around the world to address the tough challenges we are facing. Extraordinary times create extraordinary opportunities for change. This is such a moment. Help us meet the trials of our age and shape the world for good.”
At the end of the conference all participants were awarded joint UNICEF-Armenia UN Association certificates and memorable gifts.
On the same day about 30 children aged 0-2 years and their parents and grandparents raced in a sport competition titled “My First Victory” and organized by UNICEF and “Clear Water” company.
The funny event conveyed important messages on the importance of newborn care and early childhood development to the public.
“Today’s event is just another opportunity and forum for all of us to pay more attention to children’s health, to remind every parent, present and future, of basic recipes following which parents can ensure that their children grow healthy and learn quickly. UNICEF and Clear Water want to remind you that regular visits to a skilled health worker before, during and after pregnancy, exclusive breastfeeding of newborns for up to six months, timely vaccination of newborns and children are crucial factors in ensuring the best start for your children,” Laylee Moshiri emphasized.
During the event Facts for Life messages were used in quizzes organized for parents and grandparents of younger children.
UNICEF and Clear Water partnered in 2009 to promote newborn health and early childhood development in Armenia. Funds donated by Clear Water from the sale of bottled drinking water are used by UNICEF to procure essential newborn care equipment for maternities in disadvantaged communities of Armenia.