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Mozambican artists come together to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child

© UNICEF Mozambique/T.Delvigne-Jean
World-acclaimed Mozambican painter Malangatana receives a special tribute for his contribution as an tireless advocate for children, at the CRC anniversary event in Maputo.

Maputo, November 20 2009 - On the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, UNICEF paid tribute today to a diverse group of artists who, through their work, have shown leadership in advancing the rights of children in the country and abroad.

Thanking the artists for their exceptional contribution, UNICEF Representative Leila Pakkala highlighted the important role artists can play as advocates for children. “With fame comes great responsibility,” she noted in her opening remarks.  “You are role models for many children and young people, and you can use your talent to change the world around you.”

The event brought together some of Mozambique’s most renowned artists, spanning several generations. The internationally-acclaimed painter Malangatana who, precisely 20 years ago painted a large mural in the UNICEF Maputo’s office to mark the adoption of the CRC, was the first to be recognised for his remarkable contribution as advocate for children on the national and international scenes.

With his mural as a backdrop, Malangatana was joined by a diverse group of artists who have worked with UNICEF and other United Nations agencies in recent years to raise awareness of child rights and other social issues.

The event provided an opportunity to recognise the contribution of the painters Naguib, Gemuce and Tchalata, who have continuously engaged children in their work, teaching them how to use paint and brushes to express their views on issues that affect them.

The commitment of long-time musicians Jose Mucavele and Elvira Viegas, who have dedicated several of their compositions to promote education and the well-being of children, was highlighted alongside the work of younger singers such as Stewart Sukuma, Mingas, Neyma and MC Roger, who have lent their image and voice to promote children’s rights on television and on the radio.

© UNICEF Mozambique/T.Delvigne-Jean
Cecilia Dimande, a child journalist from the child-to-child radio programme, speaks on behalf of children at the at the CRC anniversary event in Maputo.

Also being recognised was the work of the actors from the Theater of the Oppressed group and dancers from the National Dance Company, who have mobilised crowds across the country through their performances on children’s issues.

Together, the artists presented and signed a declaration reaffirming their commitment to promoting the realisation of children’s rights, and pledging to put children’s issues at the forefront of the public agenda.

Located near the stage, young journalists from the child-to-child radio programme, supported by Radio Mozambique and UNICEF, produced a live broadcast of the event from a mobile radio studio.

Concluding the celebration, Minister of Education and Culture Aires Ali said: “I take this opportunity to make an appeal to all the people present today to always have in mind the best interest of the child in all their actions, and to make children's rights a cornerstone for sustainable development and human progress.”
 
Mozambique ratified the CRC in 1994. Since then, the country has made significant progress to improve the legal protection of child rights. A key achievement is the adoption last year of the Children’s Act, which effectively translates the Convention’s articles into national child rights legislation, with the best interests of the child as its core principle.

The Children’s Act also outlines the responsibilities of the Government, families and communities, non-governmental organizations and other stakeholders – including children – for promotion, respect and fulfilment of these rights.

 

 
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