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Iraq Commences Celebrations of the 22nd Anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child

BAGHDAD, 20 November 2011 – In commemoration of Universal Children’s Day and the 22nd anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child on November 20th, Governorates all over Iraq are commencing a week-long celebration of children’s rights in Iraq. Government authorities, community leaders and thousands of children are taking part in this year’s celebrations.  


Appealing to all Iraqis, UNICEF’s Representative a. i. to Iraq, Osama Makkawi, said: “If we all – governorate, national and international stakeholders – start uniting to invest more in the most deprived children in Iraq, we will see not only children that are healthier and happier but soon an Iraq that will once again reclaim its rightful place as a stable and prosperous member of nations.”


Building on last year’s Universal Children’s Day events, where several of Iraq’s 18 Governorates publicly announced the establishment of Child Rights Committees within Governorate Councils, this year UNICEF is calling on each Governorate to urgently start making additional investments in the most deprived children.


“By focusing on the most deprived children, development and prosperity all over Iraq will be accelerated for the country’s 15 million children,” Makkawi said.


Amongst the events planned for the celebrations, Najaf Governorate will be organizing on November 21 a march with 400-children to the governorate’s celebration hall where the Governor will announce a Child Rights Award for 2012. The Child Culture House (Ministry of Culture) in Baghdad will mark the anniversary with 150 children contributing to drawing competitions and plays about Child Rights and a week of festivities and workshops on Child Rights is planned in the Governorate of Dohuk. A TV, radio and newspaper campaign with renowned singer and UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador to Iraq,Kadim al-Sahir will also be launched on the day.


As the Convention on the Rights of the Child enters its 22nd year, UNICEF notes the progress Iraq has achieved in the past year to ensure that Child Rights are guaranteed. The creation of a Child Welfare Committee to draft a federal Child Protection Policy, the preparation of a draft regional Child Law in the Kurdistan Region and the resolute steps taken towards the development of a Federal Child Law are clear signals that Iraq is on its way to becoming more fit for children.


UNICEF is working with the Government of Iraq as well as many other duty bearers across the country and in the international community to ensure Iraq’s commitments to its children are upheld.  As the analysis of Iraq’s fourth Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS) is being finalized, a rich knowledge-base to understand the situation of children in Iraq will be available which will inform policy recommendations to promote equitable development and better protect the rights of all children across Iraq. The results of MICS 4 will allow all stakeholders to better address the needs of the most disadvantaged children who have been left behind from regular development efforts.


About the Convention on the Rights of the Child:

The Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) represents one of the most significant milestones in a historic effort to achieve a world fit for children.  It is the first legally binding instrument designed to protect and promote the rights of people under 18 years old.  Its adoption by the UN General Assembly on 20 November 1989 is celebrated annually as Universal Children’s Day.  It has now achieved near-universal acceptance, with 193 Member States of the United Nations having agreed to it being universal, for all children, in all countries and cultures, at all times and without exception.


The Convention has transformed the way children are viewed and treated throughout the world by setting out rights that children enjoy as human beings and also identifying the special rights and protections they require during this vulnerable phase of their lives.  It articulates a set of universal children’s rights such as the right to an identity, a name and a nationality, the right to an education, to the highest possible standards of health and to protection from abuse and exploitation, so that they can grow up with every possible opportunity to realize their full potential.  These and other rights in the Convention are predicated on the principles of universality, non-discrimination and accountability. This means that they apply equally to every child, including the most disadvantaged.


The Convention creates a moral imperative, determined by the world leaders and governments who drafted and subsequently joined the Convention, including Iraq in 1994, to ensure that efforts to protect and promote children’s rights must be equitable. Every child, no matter how disadvantaged by parental income or family circumstance, geography, disability, race or gender, has an equal right to enjoy the protection of the Convention and the rights it sets out.


For more information about the Convention on the Rights of the Child visit:


About UNICEF Iraq

UNICEF has been on the ground in Iraq since 1983 working to ensure Iraqi children survive and realize their full potential.  UNICEF is supporting the Government of Iraq to develop child friendly policies, build the capacity of institutions that deliver essential services to children, and convene all duty bearers to realize the full rights of Iraqi children.  Via a network of staff and partners UNICEF’s programmes continue to improve basic health services, safeguard a quality education, rebuild water and sanitation systems, protect children from abuse, violence, and exploitation, and meet the needs of the most vulnerable in crisis situations.


UNICEF is on the ground in over 150 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence.  The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS.  UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments.  For more information about UNICEF and its work visit:


For further information please contact:

Salam Abdulmunem, UNICEF Iraq, +9647809126782,



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