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Egypt launches its first National Child Rights Observatory

Cairo 19th January 2009- International and national experts on child rights and public policies, attending a conference on child poverty, witnessed today, the launch of Egypt’s first National Child Rights Observatory (ENCRO).

The ENCRO's website functions as a knowledge portal that manages and disseminates statistics and research-based information on the economic and social situation of Egyptian children. It is a one stop shop to help promote child-friendly policies.

The Observatory also offers a platform for innovative thinking and exchange of experiences through organizing a series of bi-annual conferences titled “Child Rights, Social Justice and Equity".

Both the ENCRO and its inaugural bi-annual conference "Child Poverty and Disparities: Public Policies for Social Justice" are the result of the partnership between the Egyptian Cabinet Information and Decision Support Center (IDSC), the National Council of Childhood and Motherhood (NCCM) and the United Nations Children’s Fund in Egypt (UNICEF),

 “It is important to clarify that poverty isn't only about being deprived from income, it also includes the resulting deprivation of the child from his right to receive adequate social, health and cultural services. As well as depriving the child from his right for protection from violence and discrimination, besides other forms of deprivation which eventually lead to discrimination between citizens within the same country and inequality of opportunity in the future, without those children having any hand in that.”  Said Ambassador Moushira Khattab, Secretary General of the National Council of Childhood and Motherhood (NCCM).  “This cannot be stopped unless policies to achieve social justice are formulated to ensure every child the minimum of rights which are not subject to discussion and which have been stated in the constitution, national laws, including child law, as well as international agreements on child rights, and that have also been called for by all divine religions for which we have all due respect and appreciation. However, we don’t show enough respect to them when we carry out violent practices against children, exploit and abuse them and discriminate against them. Eliminating poverty among children speeds up economic and social growth rates.”

Over the two-day conference, 23 papers are presented by renowned international researchers, as well as national academics, policy makers and university students, discussing the multidimensional nature of child poverty.

According to Dr. Magued Osman, Chairperson of the Egyptian Cabinet Information and Decision Support Centre, This comes within the framework of the role of the Information and Decision Support system as a brain trust for the Egyptian Council of Ministers to support the decision-making process and the formulation of policies, and to suggest alternative solutions for the decision-maker concerning the various economic, political, and social issues, including child issues.

Several side events were organized during the two-day conference; an award ceremony for an essay competition for children between 10 and 18 years on their perception of child poverty; a brain storm session on the establishment of a regional research network on child rights in the Middle East and North Africa region by Childwatch International Research Network; and demonstration sessions on DevInfo, a powerful database system which monitors progress towards the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDG).
The conference was well attended by representatives from the government, the civil society and academia who debated the importance of scientific social science research for evidence-based and child-friendly public policies in Egypt.

 “The Observatory offers a platform for innovative thinking and exchange of experiences; UNICEF works on strengthening national capacity to advocate for, monitor and evaluate, evidence based public policies, This will be done through the exchange of experiences with other Observatories supported by UNICEF in different countries.” said Dr. Erma Manoncourt, UNICEF Egypt Representative.




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