In Senegal, students and officials call for an end to violence against children as the Convention of the rights of the child turns 20
Dakar, Senegal, 20 November 2009 - Hundreds of children gathered under tents at their school in the Point E neighborhood of Dakar, Senegal on November 20th.
Hundreds of children gathered under tents at their school in the Point E neighborhood of Dakar, Senegal on November 20th. They were preparing for a formal celebration of the 20th Anniversary of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Senegal's Minister of Education, Mr. Kalidou Diallo, and UNICEF country representative, Mrs. Mariam Coulibaly Ndiaye, sat beside the students as they began the anniversary events with a short skit about the right of a child to be protected from violence and abuse.
In another skit, the children stood up to an abusive teacher and recited their rights according to the U.N. Convention. Later, the Minister of Education spoke about his experience as a young student with an abusive teacher. He urged the children to continue to stand up for their rights, and to educate their parents and other adults about the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Dozens of students shared paintings they had created to illustrate the Convention on the Rights of the Child. One student, 10-year-old Fatou Bintou Ba, painted a scene about the right to live in a clean environment. “It's important to keep your surroundings clean,” she said, “because if you don't, you can easily get sick.” Abdouleye Tall painted a colourful umbrella stretching over two people to represent a child's right to protection against violence and abuse.
Protection from violence is the country's theme as it embarks on continued activities and events in order to spread knowledge and advocate for the rights of children all over Senegal. Child abuse remains a problem in the West African country, and though the country has made considerable progress in reducing female genital cutting as well as child mortality, Mrs. Ndiaye reminded those in attendance that there is still much work to be done.
Rights of the Child in Senegal - Statistics:
Standard of Living: 1 person out of 2 in Senegal lives below the poverty line, surviving on less than US $1.25 per day
The Right to Health: Less than 31% of children under the age of 5 sleep under an insecticide-treated mosquito net facing an increased risk of malaria
The Right to Education: 88% of boys and 92% of girls are enrolled in primary school. While enrolment rates are promising, only 58% of children complete primary school. By secondary school, only 2 out of 5 children attend school regularly.
The Right to Protection: More than 1 of 5 women between the age of 15 and 49 have been subject to female genital cutting (28 % nationally and up to 90% in some regions)
The government of Senegal in partnership with UNICEF worked together to prepare the event. UNICEF engages local politicians and community leaders to form a strategic approach to improving the lives of children all over Senegal. The event in Dakar was one of 160 events that were taking place worldwide to honor the 20th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
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