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Namibia, 20 November 2014: Celebrating achievements on children’s rights since the UNCRC was adopted

20 November 2014, WINDHOEK, Namibia – Namibia today joined the world in celebrating 25 years of promoting and protecting the rights of children to survive and thrive, to learn and grow, to make their voices heard and to reach their full potential as articulated through the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC).

At an event in Windhoek to recognise the landmarks of UNCRC in Namibia, His Excellency, the President of Namibia, Hifikepunye Pohamba, represented by the Minister of Gender Equality and Child Welfare, Hon Rosalia Nghidinwa, reaffirmed the relevance of the UNCRC in achieving progress in the lives of children, who make up over 43% of the population.

“Our signing of the UNCRC in 1990 was a show of the country’s pledge for improvements in children’s lives through reducing infant mortality, increasing school enrolment and ensuring that services are in place for the protection of our children. We have achieved many milestones which we are proud of and it is this progress that encourages us to complete the good work that we have started.”

In Namibia, the UNCRC treaty has been translated into concrete and measurable successes in children’s survival, development and protection. Tremendous results in immunisation and nutrition of children has seen the total number of under 5 deaths brought down from 4,200 per year in 1990 to less than 3,000 in 2013. The country has also celebrated a near universal access to primary education and has therefore met the Millennium Development Goals and Education For All (EFA) target.

20th November 2014: Windhoek – Namibia today joined the world in celebrating 25 years of promoting and protecting the rights of children to survive and thrive, to learn and grow, to make their voices heard and to reach their full potential as articulated through the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC).

At an event in Windhoek to recognise the landmarks of UNCRC in Namibia, His Excellency, the President of Namibia, Hifikepunye Pohamba, represented by the Minister of Gender Equality and Child Welfare, Hon Rosalia Nghidinwa, reaffirmed the relevance of the UNCRC in achieving progress in the lives of children, who make up over 43% of the population.

“Our signing of the UNCRC in 1990 was a show of the country’s pledge for improvements in children’s lives through reducing infant mortality, increasing school enrolment and ensuring that services are in place for the protection of our children. We have achieved many milestones which we are proud of and it is this progress that encourages us to complete the good work that we have started.”

In Namibia, the UNCRC treaty has been translated into concrete and measurable successes in children’s survival, development and protection. Tremendous results in immunisation and nutrition of children has seen the total number of under 5 deaths brought down from 4,200 per year in 1990 to less than 3,000 in 2013. The country has also celebrated a near universal access to primary education and has therefore met the Millennium Development Goals and Education For All (EFA) target.

However, looking back on 25 years of progress also gives an opportunity to reflect on the unmet targets for children. More than 34% of Namibia’s children to poverty and struggle daily to meet their needs for health care, education, food and adequate. The proportion of children leaving school prematurely is also increasing.

Despite making progress in making water accessible to 84% of the population, the country is still has one of the highest prevalence of open defecation in the region in Eastern and Southern Africa with 52% of its population practicing open defecation. In 2013, newborn deaths accounted for 37% of child deaths in Namibia. This greatly compromised the country’s goal to meet MDG 4 on reducing child mortality.

“UNICEF will continue to support the Government in using cost effective and innovative solutions for tackling some of the most pressing problems still facing children,” said UNICEF Representative, Ms. Micaela Marques De Sousa. “The State of the World’s Children’s Report, which is being launched concurrently with the CRC@25 celebrations, demonstrates how innovations sourced from local communities can help reduce the inequities that prevent children from realizing their rights under the Convention on the Rights of the Child.”

Article 12 of the UNCRC encourages the participation of children in decisions and discussions which affect their lives. Namibia ‘s Children’s Parliament has become a recognizable platform for children and young people to represent themselves, the voices of their peers and to collectively identify ways of addressing the challenges they face.

“The children of Namibia have a stake in the development of the nation,” said Honourable Shaandre Finnies, Deputy Speaker of the Children’s Parliament. “Today I would like to challenge all of us here to take the issues raised through the Children’s Parliament seriously and urgently channel them to appropriate national decision making processes which are advancing the rights of Namibia’s children.”

The full realisation of children’s rights requires combined stakeholder involvement. The participation of Santam, a local insurance company, has demonstrated the indispensable relevance of the private sector in meeting the unmet needs and potentials of all children in Namibia. Santam supported the development of the 2014 Art for Children exhibition which adorned the event.

“We are here to demonstrate how the private sector can work actively in advancing children’s rights; and supporting children to find innovative ways to enhance child development”, said Mr. Franco Feris, Santam Chief Executive Officer.

The event coincided with the global launch of UNICEF’s annual flagship report “The State of the World’s Children Report – Reimagine the future: Innovation for every child” which calls on governments, development professionals, businesses, activists and communities to work together to drive new ideas for tackling some of the most pressing problems facing children – and to find new ways of scaling up the best and most promising local innovations.

 
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For more information, please contact:

Judy Matjila, jmatjila@unicef.org, +264 61 204-6253

Tapuwa Loreen Mutseyekwa, tmutseyekwa@unicef.org, +264 61 204-6108

Rochelle van Wyk, rvanwyk@unicef.org, +264 61 204-6264

 

 
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