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Tanzania, 20 November 2014: ’23 Million Children: Let’s Talk about their Rights’

On the 25th anniversary of the Convention of the Rights of the Child, UNICEF, the EU, Save the Children and Plan International take stock of progress in realizing children’s rights in Tanzania

20 November 2014, Dar es Salaam, TANZANIA – Today, UNICEF, the European Union, Save the Children International and Plan International organized the ’23 Million Children: Let’s Talk about their Rights’ Talks to mark the 25th anniversary of the Convention of the Rights of the Child (CRC). The event brought together inspiring speakers from government institutions, academia, donor agencies, the United Nations, private sector and children for a discussion on the main achievements Tanzania since the CRC came into being 25 years ago.

“Until the Convention on the Rights of the Child was conceived and adopted 25 years ago, the rights of the world’s youngest citizens were not explicitly recognized by any international treaty, nor was there an acknowledgment of the intimate connection between the well-being of children and the strength of their societies,” said Dr. Pindi Hazara Chana, Ministry of Community Development Gender and Children Deputy Minister, at the event. “This is why the Convention was such an important milestone – and why the occasion of its twenty-fifth anniversary challenges us all to find new ways of pursuing its universal mandate for every child, as the global community charts its course in the post-Millennium Development Goals period.”

On this important anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, Tanzania has good reasons to celebrate. Infant mortality rate has declined dramatically; school enrolment is high; the law of the land is friendlier to children; and children, especially girls, have better opportunities. Yet, Tanzania is facing challenges in fulfilling the promises to all 23 million children, or half its total population. Progress for children has been uneven; quality of education is poor; early marriage of girls is common; and old issues have combined with new problems to deprive many children of their rights and the benefits of development.

“We should heed the advice of Joaquim Chissano, the former president of Mozambique who recently lamented the practice of classifying money spent on children as expenditures and that on roads as investments. Dr. Gulaid agreed that “money spent on children is an investment,” said Dr. Jama Gulaid, the UNICEF Representative of Tanzania.

Taking into account rapid social and economic changes occurring in the country, the national responses to children’s issues call for new ways of thinking while sustaining local strategies that have worked well in the past.

The Talks also addressed key drivers of change for children in the next 25 years: looking at urbanization and demography, rapid economic growth, Internet and a changing donor environment.

“While investments in productive sectors like infrastructure, agriculture and industry are important, investments in children are so in equal measure, as children are the basis for a productive adult workforce and for skilled, capable entrepreneurs,” said Eric Beaume, Head of Development Cooperation of the European Union Delegation in Tanzania.

“The Baraza believes that no child should be left out of development and that the best way forward for Tanzania is to invest in children. As we look into the future, we hope that we will be able to make significant progress in fulfilling children’s rights and supporting children’s participation through Barazas from the village, district, regional and national levels. If we continue to work in partnership with the Government, development partners and the private sector – I think we will be able to achieve our goal,” said Ummy Jamal, Chair of the Junior Council of the United Republic of Tanzania (the country’s Children’s Parliament, also called ‘Baraza’), as she talked about future opportunities and youth engagement.

“Children from across the country were consulted in the Constitution review process and our recommendations were submitted to the Constitution Review Committee. And we are happy to see that the final draft has an article focusing on child rights, Article 50, which also recognizes a child as a person under the age of 18,” she added.

Ruan Swanepoel, Head of Mobile Financial Services at Telecommunication company Tigo, called on the Government, development professionals, businesses 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.

For 25 years the CRC has offered a vision for the world’s children. Let us all continue our efforts to fully achieve this vision, now and into the future. We need sustained political commitment and strategic investments to bring children’s rights to life. For without action – and the results only action can achieve – the best aspirations codified in the Convention on the Rights of the Child will remain only words on paper.

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About UNICEF:
UNICEF promotes the rights and well-being of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.

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For further information, please contact:

Sandra Bisin, UNICEF Tanzania, Mobile: +255 787 600079, sbisin@unicef.org

Jacqueline Namfua, UNICEF Tanzania, Phone: +255 754711073, jnamfua@unicef.org

Kulthum Maabad-Issa, European Union Tanzania, Phone: +255 767954679, Kulthum.MAABAD-ISSA@eeas.europa.eu

Emmanuel Kihaule, Plan International, Emmanuel.Kihaule@plan-international.org

Ellen Okoedion, Save the Children International, Ellen.Okoedion@savethechildren.org

 

 
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