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Hyderbad festival celebrates the rights of children in Pakistan

By Raabya Amjad and Zohra Nisar Hunzai

SINDH PROVINCE, Pakistan, 2 December 2010 – It was a rare day of celebration for hundreds of children from flood-affected areas – a day made possible by UNICEF and its partner Nutkhut Publications – when they came together recently in Hyderabad for a festival marking the 20th anniversary of Pakistan’s ratification of the Convention on the Rights of the Child Right.

VIDEO: 27 November 2010 - UNICEF's Natasha D'Souza reports on a children's festival celebrating the Convention of the Rights of the Child in Hyderbad district, Pakistan.  Watch in RealPlayer


Nearly 800 students from the Jamshoro, Tando Allah Yar and Hyderabad districts of the Sindh Province participated in the festival, including children from the flood-relief camps. “Though I have no new clothes for this occasion, I feel extremely happy to be here,” said Ahsan, 10, a boy from one flood-affected family.

© UNICEF Pakistan/2010/Mudabbir
Children listen to speeches at the festival celebrating the Convention of the Rights of the Child in Pakistan's Hyderbad district.

Children were encouraged to express themselves creatively through an art competition with a handwashing theme. “I learnt that how important is to wash hands with soap at the critical times to prevent ourselves from diseases which are life-threatening,” said Iqra, a 12-year-old girl at the event.

Training journalists

The Sindh festival was part of an initiative in which UNICEF is engaging public- and private-sector organizations in Pakistan to champion the cause of child rights. Among the objectives of this effort are: advocating for appropriate legislation; overseeing implementation of relevant laws at the community level; raising financial resources; and increasing awareness of issues affecting children.

© UNICEF Pakistan/2010/Mudabbir
A girl from a flood-relief camp in Pakistan's Hyderabad district sings onstage at the festival celebrating child rights.

The festival also highlighted a UNICEF-supported media training programme. In partnership with Nutkhut Publications, the programme aims to build capacity among journalists reporting on rights-based issues and child and maternal health.

This year, 40 young journalists have been trained on coverage of these topics in newspapers, magazines and electronic media.

‘Rights-based reporting’

“It gives me great pleasure to join hands with Nutkhut for highlighting the importance of rights-based reporting by media correspondents – especially of the children who have become more vulnerable in the aftermath of the devastating floods,” said UNICEF Field Office Chief Andro Shilakadze.

“We are all here to make Pakistan a safer and more secure place for these children,” he added.



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