Double Celebration of Two Decades of the Convention on the Rights of the Child and Four Decades of UNICEF in Nepal
Kathmandu, Nepal, November 20, 2009: Today UNICEF is celebrating four decades of work in Nepal with a special event at UN House in the presence of the President, the Right Honourable Dr Ram Baran Yadav. Today also marks the 20th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC).
To mark the day, UNICEF Nepal will launch a special edition of “The State of the World’s Children” report, celebrating 20 years of the CRC. The Convention is the most widely ratified human rights treaty in history. It is a succinct document, which in 54 short clauses summarises all civil, political, social and economic rights for children. Nepal became a signatory to the CRC in 1990.
Over the past four decades, UNICEF has contributed towards many of the development strides the country has taken, from the provision of basic services and immunisation in the 60s and 70s; early childhood rights, education and protection in the 80s; empowering communities, more so women, to be more self sufficient in the 90s; and an emphasis on protection during the conflict period in the 2000s. The current three-year programme is focused on the poorest and most excluded.
Although there have been significant improvements in living conditions for children in Nepal over the past 40 years, challenges still remain. “Nepali children still face poverty and discrimination, lack protection and are still vulnerable to malnutrition,” said Ms. Gillian Mellsop, UNICEF’s Representative in Nepal. “With the opportunity afforded by the development of the new Constitution, Nepal has the potential to give children and young people a chance to build a democratic, peaceful and prosperous country.” She indicated that the new Constitution could become the most child-friendly in the world if it respects the commitments made by Nepal in ratifying the CRC. “But the Constitution is only valuable if its good intentions are converted into real action for all Nepali children,” she added.
The celebrations are being attended by children from all parts of the country and, in addition to the President, the Minister of Women, Children and Social Welfare, the Honourable Mr Sarbadev Prasad Ojha, and Mr Kul Gautam, former Assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations and Deputy Executive Director of UNICEF will address the event.
The programme will also launch the “UNICEF Nepalmaa” booklet celebrating four decades of UNICEF in Nepal, “The Naya Sambidhanma Hami Balbalika ka Adhikar” booklet and the new UNICEF Nepal website at www.unicef.org/nepal. UNICEF’s regional offices in Biratnagar, Bharatpur and Nepalgunj will hold similar events throughout November and December.
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