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Somalia, 20 January 2015: The Convention on the Rights of the Child ratified by the Somali President in front of hundreds of school children

UN /2015/ Ahmed
© UN /2015/ Ahmed
A student in Mogadishu watches the President of Somalia, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, ratify the Convention on the Rights of the Child at a ceremony at her school on 20 January 2015.

By Mohamed Yalahow

20 January 2015, MOGADISHU, Somalia – Crowds of enthusiastic students gathered at Hamar Jajab primary school to watch their President, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, ratify the Convention on the Rights of the Child guaranteeing them binding rights. After signing the Convention, the President made a speech in which he directly addressed the children and underlining his commitment to their welfare.

“Sometimes, documents don’t seem very important. Sometimes their connection with our everyday lives is not very clear. But today, I am happy to say, this document is one of the most important that I can sign as President of Somalia, he said. “This piece of paper is all about you- all about the children of Somalia and the children of the world.”

UNICEF’s Executive Director, Antony Lake applauded the ratification of the Convention.

“By ratifying the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the government of Somalia is making an investment in the wellbeing of its children, and thus in the future of its society,” he said in a press release. “The central message of the Convention is that every child deserves a fair start in life. What can be more important than that?”

The President said he was working to create a safe, peaceful Somalia for children to grow up in. He outlined his Government’s achievements including working with UNICEF on the ‘Go To School’ program’, to re-open schools, train teachers and put children into the classroom.

The school where he was speaking, Hamar Jabjab Primary School, was built with the support of UNICEF through USAID funding and UNICEF continues to support the payment of incentives to some teachers and the headteacher under the Global Partnership for Education Fund.

UNICEF/2015/Yalahow
© UNICEF/2015/Yalahow
UNICEF Somalia Representative Steven Lauwerier at the ratification of the Convention on the Rights of the Child at Hamar Jabjab school Mogadishu on 20 January 2015.

The UNICEF Somalia Representative Steven Lauwerier told those at the ceremony that it was a great day for Somali children.

“Somali children deserve the same rights as all children in the world and the ratification of Convention today is important step forward in this vision, he said. “The ratification of the Convention provides the instruments and tools for the Somali Government to promote and protect children’s rights.”

The Convention of the Rights of the Child was ratified by the Federal Parliament of Somalia on 13 December 2014. The Convention provides a framework for the Federal Government of Somalia to promote and protect legally binding rights for children. It is the most widely ratified human rights treaty in the world.

The Federal Government of Somalia says it will now work on drafting and adopting child friendly policies and systems, and implement measures to target child survival, development, participation and protection, and provide regular reports on its progress to The Committee on the Rights of the Child. The ratification process will be finalized once the Government deposits the instruments of ratification with the UN in New York.

The President ended his speech urging everyone to work together to create one future.

“We cannot allow the past to bind us. If and when you hear stories about Somalia in the past, you must not be held captive to that,” he said. “You must think of the Somalia you want in the future, and then you must make that happen.”

Read more:

Press release: The President: “Advancing and protection children’s rights advances and protects Somalia’s future”

Speech by the President of Somalia, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud [PDF]

 

 
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