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Press release

New Afghan leadership urged to put children first

On anniversary of UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, Afghanistan’s children present their Manifesto to new leaders

KABUL, 18 November 2004 – On Saturday 20 November, the 15th anniversary of the establishment of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, Afghanistan’s children will ask their newly elected leaders to put child rights top of the agenda, with the presentation of a new Children’s Manifesto for Afghanistan.

The Children’s Manifesto is the result of a series of consultations and workshops with children from across Afghanistan, in a process that began in 2003. The Manifesto sets out the hopes, aspirations and demands of Afghan children as well as serving as a tangible reminder of both adults and children’s responsibilities in upholding children’s rights. The Manifesto is backed by a new Framework for Action, drawn up by leading child rights organizations working in Afghanistan, that sets out key actions and targets requested of the new President, his Government and its partners in the UN, NGO, donor and civil society communities to strive towards the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals as they relate to children.

Both the Children’s Manifesto and the Framework for Action are amongst the first public requests to be placed on the new Government agenda, underlining the importance of children’s rights in the reconstruction of Afghanistan. The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, which came into being on 20 November 1989, is the most widely ratified human rights treaty in history; Afghanistan ratified the Convention ten years ago, in 1994. The Convention sets out, in a series of Articles, the fundamental rights of all children and the expectations and obligations faced by Governments to uphold those rights.

The Afghanistan Children’s Manifesto places special emphasis on support for vulnerable and marginalized children, protection of children from abuse and exploitation, and the importance of providing adequate health care and educational opportunities for every child. The Manifesto draws upon the outcomes of consultations with children in Mazar, Kabul and Herat, as well as special conferences for street working children and other surveys and focus group discussions with children. The Framework for Action has been drafted by UNICEF, and NGOs Aschiana, Children in Crisis, Child Fund Afghanistan, EMDH and Save the Children Sweden and USA.

The Manifesto will be presented to His Excellency Vice President Amin Arsala by a group of children, alongside representatives of the child rights organizations, on Saturday 20 November, at the Vice President’s office (opposite Ministry of Foreign Affairs) in Kabul. Final timings will be confirmed shortly.

Embargoed copies of the Children’s Manifesto for Afghanistan, and the supporting Framework for Action, are available in English, Dari and Pashto.

For more information, please contact:

Edward Carwardine, UNICEF Media – Kabul : +93 (0)796 07400 ecarwardine@unicef.org

Mohammad Rafi, UNICEF Media – Kabul (Dari and Pashto): +93 (0)796 07403 mrafi@unicef.org




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