UNICEF Rakhine: Promoting and Protecting the Rights of Every Child
SITTWE, Rakhine State, Myanmar, 04 June 2014 - Today UNICEF Myanmar launched its 2-year multi-sector work plan for Rakhine State under the slogan Promoting and Protecting the Rights of Every Child. The Rakhine State Work Plan is part of the Programme of Cooperation between the Government of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar and UNICEF, to address the long term development needs of Rakhine State. The launch ceremony was attended by more than 150 Government officials from both State and Township level, as well as local civil society organizations, UN and INGOs.
On behalf of the Chief Minister for Rakhine State, U Hla Maung Tin, Dr Aung Kyaw Minn, Rakhine State Minister for Finance in his opening address, stated that “We welcome the close cooperation with UNICEF in Rakhine State, so we together can fulfil the rights of every child in Rakhine in the years to come”.
Rakhine State has some of the lowest social and development indicators in the Union of Myanmar, and is the second least developed state in Myanmar. Children in Rakhine are more likely to be malnourished than the average Myanmar child, with almost 50 per cent of children being stunted. According to a survey undertaken in 2010, i.e. two years before the massive displacements resulting from inter-communal violence, only 12 per cent of children are likely to be born in a health care facility, compared to the national average of 36 per cent. Almost 30% of Rakhine children are not enrolled in primary education, and only 5 per cent of children have access to pre-school education compared to the national average of 23 per cent. Children affected by conflict continue to live in poor conditions in camps with limited access to services. In addition, the region is prone to cyclones and other natural disasters.
New opportunities for partnerships are emerging with the ongoing reform and decentralization process in the Union of Myanmar. “With this State Work Plan, we aim to support the decentralization process by strengthening our strategic engagement at the State level and enhancing the capacity of Sittwe authorities to meet the needs of all children and sustain results,” stated Mr. Bertrand Bainvel, UNICEF Representative to Myanmar. “Increased attention on capacity building, technical support, and improved quality of services to all children across Rakhine State will be the key objectives in the coming years”, Mr. Bainvel continued.
UNICEF plans to expand its ongoing programmes to several new Townships across Rakhine to improve the quality and access to education, improve the health and nutritional status of children, and increase positive behaviours with regards to sanitation and handling of water to avoid unnecessary disease outbreaks.
“Children in Rakhine State are poorer and less likely to access basic services compared to children in other parts of Myanmar” emphasized Mr. Bainvel, “We need to prioritize the long term development needs of Rakhine, so that every child gets the best possible start in life, regardless of ethnic, religious, or legal status,” Mr. Bainvel concluded. [Ends]
UNICEF in Myanmar