Representatives of the United Nations, the European Union, and the Palestinian Authority today joined Palestinian students to launch a 30-day awareness-raising walk along the Masar Ibrahim Al-Khalil Trail. The trail has been divided into 30 segments, with children from local schools, UN agencies, the EU, child rights organisations, and the public walking a different segment each day. A different article of the convention will be highlighted during each segment of the walk.
JERUSALEM, 23 September, “Children are some of the most vulnerable members Palestinian society and often face the greatest hurdles accessing the rights to which they are entitled. The walk today, and over the next 30 days, aims to highlight and raise awareness of these fundamental rights,” said the Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for the occupied Palestinian territories, Jamie McGoldrick.
This year marks the 30th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC). Thirty years ago, world leaders made a historic commitment to the world’s children by adopting the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) on 20 November 1989. This international agreement, signed by the State of Palestine in 2017, is now the most widely ratified human rights treaty in history and has helped transform children’s lives around the world.
''We stand united in our determination to protect and to promote the rights of all children everywhere. These rights are universal, undividable and undisputable. Every single child has the right to grow up in a safe environment – free from any form of violence, abuse, harassment or neglect. It is our collective task to do everything we can to ensure that these rights are respected and ensured for every child, everywhere. The 30-day walk initiative will help raise awareness about children’s rights in Palestine, where the challenges are complex and multi-layered. This is yet another reason for us to continue working with our Palestinian partners and leaving no child behind,” said the Head of Cooperation at the European Union Representative office in Jerusalem, Gerhard Krause.
In the last decade, major strides have been made to improve the situation of children in the State of Palestine. Some indicators, such as near-universal immunization rates, and very high primary school enrollment rates, including for girls, are amongst the highest in the Middle East and North Africa region. Despite these gains, however, children and young people continue to face many obstacles accessing basic services and fulfilling their rights. These obstacles result from a combination of factors, most significant of which are the very high levels of violence Palestinian children are exposed and subjected to due to the continuing conflict, and in their communities and schools. Children have a right to a life free from violence.
During today’s walk, from Ein Samya to Al Mughair village near Ramallah, children learned more about the convention and their rights, and the local history of the area.
“I am very pleased to be walking today for the children of Palestine to commemorate the CRC’s adoption 30 years ago. The CRC made it clear for the first time that children have rights that must be protected and promoted by adults. Awareness of one’s rights is the first step for every child to claim his or her rights” said the UNICEF Special Representative for the State of Palestine, Genevieve Boutin.
In the lead-up to World Children’s Day on 20 November, the United Nations in the State of Palestine will campaign with children and partners to raise the voices of children and young people, calling for further concrete actions to ensure all children in Palestine can realize their rights and meet their full potential.
Masar Ibrahim Al-Khalil is a long-distance cultural hiking route in Palestine. The trail is 330 km long and extends from the village of Rummana northwest of Jenin to Beit Mirsim southwest of Hebron. The trail passes through more than 57 cities and villages.
“My Heritage! My Identity!” is an EU funded project aiming to contribute in preserving and promoting heritage located along the Masar Ibrahim Al-Khalil trail, to enhance Palestinian citizenship and identity. The project is implemented by the Palestinian Center for Rapprochement between People, AFRAT Center, Bethlehem University Institute for Community Partnership, and Tétraktys.
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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.