|© UNICEF Kazakhstan/2009|
|UNICEF Representative in Kazakhstan Hanaa Singer at a news conference with UNICEF Kazakhstan Ambassador and musical artist Batyrkhan Shukenov (right).|
ALMATY, Kazakhstan, 23 November 2009 – Well known Kazakh musical artist Batyrkhan Shukenov was named the country's first-ever UNICEF Ambassador during the commemoration last week of the 20th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC).
UNICEF Representative in Kazakhstan Hanaa Singer and Mr. Shukenov signed a special agreement declaring the appointment during a news conference in Almaty on 20 November. “Marking the ‘CRC at 20’ today, we are taking this opportunity to nominate well known and much-respected Kazakh singer Batyrkhan Shukenov,” Ms. Singer said, adding that Mr. Shukenov “will make an invaluable contribution to UNICEF programmes in Kazakhstan.”
For his part, the new UNICEF Ambassador said it was “a thrilling moment.... I am very honoured and I recognize the burden of the new responsibilities that I will have. I believe that through our united efforts we can change the situation of children in Kazakhstan to the better, and it is the responsibility of every citizen to take care of children.”
Fighting for child rights
Also on 20 November, UNICEF Kazakhstan took part in the global launch of a special edition of the flagship report, 'The State of the World’s Children', focusing on 20 years of child rights since the adoption of the CRC.
Among the remaining challenges to the Convention in Kazakhstan, Ms. Singer pointed to the high number of children in institutions, the rates of child and maternal mortality, malnutrition, the stigmatization of children living with HIV, and the issue of inclusion of children with special needs in educational and developmental programmes.
Kazakhstan ratified the CRC in 1994. In August 2004, it adopted its national Law on Child Rights; UNICEF made a significant contribution towards the adoption of this legislation.
Support for CRC implementation
Support from UNICEF and other partners also furthered the establishment of a national group for implementing the CRC and laid the basis for reforming the child protection system in Kazakhstan. And UNICEF helped develop the 'Children of Kazakhstan' national programme, which focuses primarily on the needs of orphans and vulnerable children.
In 2006, the Committee for Child Rights Protection was set up under the Education and Science Ministry. The committee is now operating in all regions of the country.
CRC @ 20