Government of Guyana committed to protecting, promoting children’s rights, President says
World Children’s Day celebrated in Guyana
GEORGETOWN, 20 NOVEMBER 2020 – On World Children’s Day (WCD) today, UNICEF’s global day of action for children, President of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana, His Excellency Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali, renewed his government’s commitment to children’s rights, saying in a message that this is a priority. Guyana joined global WCD celebrations with State House - the official residence of the President and First Family, and United Nations House, being lit up in blue in support of children’s rights.
“The foundation for a better tomorrow must be built on promoting greater respect for and enforcement of children’s rights, providing adequate protection, care and strengthening children’s education. The Government of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana is committed to promoting the rights of every child,” said President Ali in his message, which was shared with UNICEF Guyana. His Excellency highlighted that Guyana is a signatory to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of the Child and the Convention on the Rights of the Child “and we wholeheartedly are committed to the rights and principles enunciated therein.”
The theme of re-imagining a better world for every child was included in messages from government ministers and other dignitaries in Guyana.
Highlighting that WCD challenges everyone to re-imagine a better future for children, President Ali said that the protection and care of children must be of foremost priority. Observing that the COVID-19 pandemic has adversely affected children’s lives, His Excellency said the government has moved to mitigate the impact with education being a key element to ensure a better future for children. “As we celebrate World Children’s Day 2020, I urge all Guyanese to join with our government in helping to promote the rights of the child, provide improved protection and care for them and to strengthen their education,” said President Ali.
UNICEF Representative a.i Irfan Akhtar welcomed the Guyanese President and government’s renewed commitment to children, highlighting that UNICEF’s ‘Re-imagine’ campaign calls on partners, governments, and all UNICEF supporters to build a better post pandemic world. “Children and young people must be included in decisions that affect their future,” said Akhtar. He called on all partners to accelerate action for children in several areas including ensuring that all children learn and closing the digital divide. He also urged measures to keep children healthy by ensuring access to primary healthcare and make vaccines affordable and available to every child as well as support to protect the mental health of children and young people and bring an end to abuse, gender-based violence and neglect in childhood.
The UNICEF Representative also highlighted areas for action to increase access to clean water, sanitation and hygiene, address climate change, reverse child poverty and ensure an inclusive recovery for all. “We have a critical window of opportunity to reverse this child rights crisis and re-imagine a better future for children,” said Akhtar.
Minister of Human Services and Social Security Dr Vindhya Persaud, in her message, called on all to re-imagine a world where every child is invested in, where their safety is guaranteed and where they know their future is limitless. The minister outlined the work her ministry will be doing to meet these goals. Minister of Legal Affairs and Attorney General Mohabir Anil Nandlall said that investment in children is a priority in the country’s developmental agenda. He highlighted that Guyana’s Constitution recognizes the welfare of children as paramount and binds the State and all government and State agencies, when considering the interest of children, to ensure that the welfare of the child receives the top consideration.
Chairperson of the Rights of the Child Commission Ms. Aleema Nasir urged all to ensure that children’s rights are observed and to listen to their children, especially during this time of the COVID-19 pandemic. First Lady, Her Excellency Arya Alli, in her message, also echoed the call to re-imagine and design a world for children that is more just and more resilient. Young Guyanese from across the country, meanwhile, shared their vision of the future they wish to see, in illustrations and in video messages sent to UNICEF Guyana.
World Children’s Day is UNICEF’s global day of action for children, taking place every year on 20 November, the anniversary of the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. On this day, UNICEF advocates and raises awareness for the most pressing issues facing children. This year, WCD is taking place during one of the most extraordinary and challenging moments in history as the coronavirus pandemic and the related upheavals transform the lives of children everywhere. UNICEF’s ‘Re-imagine’ campaign calls on partners, governments, and all UNICEF supporters to build a better post pandemic world and urge that children and young people must be included in decisions that affect their future.
UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing 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.
For more information about UNICEF and its work for children, visit www.unicef.org.