UNICEF Goodwill Ambassadors Sir Roger Moore and Batyrkhan Shukenov call for inclusion of vulnerable children at event with Special Olympics Kazakhstan
Almaty, 19 November 2010 – UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Sir Roger Moore joined by UNICEF National Ambassador in Kazakhstan Batyrkhan Shukenov and UNICEF Representative Hanaa Singer, met with children and athletes of Special Olympics Kazakhstan in Almaty today.
Sir Roger and his wife Lady Kristina have come to Kazakhstan to enhance UNICEF efforts in raising awareness on the rights of the most vulnerable children and Youth, particularly those with disabilities, and to stress the importance of their social integration and meaningful participation in society.
UNICEF works closely with Special Olympics International and other organisations to advocate for health-care, education, recreation and employment policies benefiting all children with disabilities. The UN Convention on the Persons with Disabilities, which was also signed by Kazakhstan, has increased the status and visibility of disability as a human rights issue. Building on this platform, UNICEF currently partners with the Government and civil society in the preparation for the ratification and implementation of the Convention in the country.
Sir Roger Moore and Batyrkhan Shukenov had the opportunity to talk to children and their parents to learn about challenges that they face in everyday life. Despite the fact that much is being done to safeguard the rights of people with disabilities in the country, much still needs to be done to ensure that all children with disabilities have an equal access to education, health care and protection against abuse and neglect.
On the eve of the 21st anniversary of the signing of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, Sir Roger urged all states – including Kazakhstan - to protect the rights of all children, including the right to health, education, to be loved and to live in peace. “Kazakhstan has been a leader on economic reform,” said Sir Roger. “We now look forward to Kazakhstan also taking an equally strong leadership on social reform.”
During a press conference later in the day, Sir Roger stressed that when it comes to fulfilling children’s rights – everyone has a role to play. “We all have a responsibility of doing our duties as a human being and help the man next door – especially the child.”
“We have to be draw more the Government’s attention to social inclusion and more resources should be channeled to the programmes on inclusion of the most vulnerable children, including those who are HIV-positive or abandoned by their parents” said UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador in Kazakhstan Batyrkhan Shukenov.
Ms.Olga Bakhareva, who heads Special Olympics in Kazakhstan, stressed that their cooperation with UNICEF which is aimed at promoting social inclusion of all children with disabilities in the country and through this work Special Olympics “proves to parents of children with disabilities that their children do not have to be hidden at homes but they can and should enjoy the same rights like all children of Kazakhstan”.
The Goodwill Ambassadors share the belief that the most important is to change society’s attitude towards children with disabilities and people should understand that these children have the same rights as their peers do.
About the Goodwill Ambassadors
Sir Roger Moore - who is perhaps best known for his role as James Bond – has served as UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador for nearly 20 years. He works tirelessly on behalf of the world’s children and has travelled to many countries in the world to advocate for the rights of children. Sir Roger was born and raised in south London. He received a certificate from the Royal Society of Arts and was a member of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts and subsequently the Cambridge Arts Theatre.
Mr. Batyrkhan Shukenov is the first UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador in Kazakhstan (since November 2009). Shukenov has participated in a number of UNICEF events, including the first Adolescents and Youth Forum (Astana). He meets adolescents and volunteers at the Youth Friendly Services Centre (Astana). He attended a special event to decrease stigma and discrimination of HIV-positive people and also features in UNICEF information campaigns in Kazakhstan.
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