Marking of the Universal Children’s Day 2012 with a Series of Events Focused on Child Rights
Sarajevo, 23. November 2012. – Following the recent Recommendations issued by the Committee on the Rights of the Child for Bosnia and Herzegovina, UNICEF and partners have been marking the Universal Children’s Day with a number of events and activities focused on promoting children’s rights with equity with a special attention to the most vulnerable and excluded categories of children. “November 20th is an important moment to stress, together with partners, decision makers, friends and the general public that children’s rights need to be taken into account in every decision and every action we all take, especially in a context of crisis.” – said UNICEF Representative in BiH, Florence Bauer.
The Committee on the Rights of the Child recognizes education as one of the main priorities to be addressed by Bosnia and Herzegovina. “Recommendations from the Committee provide good inputs for the improvement of the education system towards inclusive and intercultural schools that will provide the best possible learning environment for nurturing diversities and equal opportunities for children from various ethnic groups.” – said Ms Bauer. Another strong recommendation is to strengthen family-based care instead of placing children in institutions. Harmonization of the social protection system and social benefits across the country is one of the most prominent recommendations, along with the concern to improve protection of children with disabilities. “Knowing that children with disabilities require special care and additional support, the Country is expected to improve the protective environment for such children enabling them to develop to their full potential and supporting their parents and families with appropriate services.” – stressed UNICEF Representative.
UNICEF continues to work with a large number of partners including governments at all levels, civil society, media institutions as well as with children, their families and communities in order to contribute to the implementation of the Convention of the Rights of the Child. “Through advocacy, capacity building, mobilization, partnerships, generation of knowledge and evidence, with a special focus on the most excluded children, UNICEF aims at contributing to a world in which all rights of all children are every day’s reality.” – added UNICEF Representative.
The main UNICEF-supported event this year has been a Roundtable organized on November 20th by the Ministry of Human Rights and Refugees, the Institution of the Ombudsperson and the NGO Network “Stronger Voice for Children” to discuss the Recommendations of the Committee on the Rights of the Child to Bosnia and Herzegovina. The event gathered main governmental institutions and bodies responsible for the implementation of the CRC recommendations and conclusions will be presented through media to the general public as well.
UNICEF, together with the Open Society Institute also supported the regional conference on “Standardization of Romani Language in Countries of Former Yugoslavia” organized by the Association “Kali Sara – Crna Sara” – Roma Information Center with the Ministry of Human Rights and Refugees of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Federal Ministry of Education and Science, Ministry of Education and Culture of the Republika Srpska and Ethnic Minorities Council with the Parliamentary Assembly of BiH, held on 19 November. The standardization of Romani language is key for the preservation of Romani in the region and for its institutionalization and inclusion in school curricula, in line with the Action Plan on Educational Needs of Roma and Priorities of the Roma Decade 2005-2015.
On November 19th Brcko district government and UNICEF organized the workshop on an integrated approach to social protection and inclusion of children for the representatives of relevant district departments and institutions. The objective of the workshop was to share the lessons learned during the implementation of the Programme “Enhancing the Social Protection and Inclusion of Children in BiH” and to explore modalities for expansion and promotion of social protection and inclusion ensuring a multi-sectorial cooperation in a sustainable manner.
Also as part of the Children’s week, on November 19th, the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare of the Republika Srpska presented the findings of the study on anaemia among children and future mothers in this entity, produced with the support from UNICEF. On this occasion, RS representatives expressed commitment to promote breastfeeding and continue improving the nutritional status of pregnant women and young children.
The week concludes with the presentation of the results of the initiative “From the Children’s Wishes Wall to Reality” promoted with support from m:tel company. Children from 10 municipalities across the country received support to respond to specific needs they identified in their communities or schools. The results were visible and encouraging: from refurbished school facilities to new sports equipment and advocacy actions to raise awareness about children’s rights.