Child rights avdocates call for the respect of "all rights for all children" in Benin
Cotonou, Benin, 21 November 2009 – UNICEF in partnership with Plan Benin and the Ministry of Family and National Solidarity, marked the 20th anniversary of the CRC with a free concert organized at the International Conference Center in the capital of Benin.
Amongst the participants were more than 600 of the most vulnerable children. Girls and boys who lives in shelters run by NGOs supported by international humanitarian organizations.
In all performances, the motto “All children, all rights” was relayed by strong advocates of child rights such as UNICEF National Ambassador Zeynab Habib, the Choir of the Children of Benin, young poets, and Togolese singer King Mensah.
The commemoration took place in the presence of the representative of the Ministry of Family and Solidarity, Olivier Adjai, UNICEF Deputy Representative, Isabelle Bardem, representatives of PLAN Benin and the European Union and heads of diplomatic missions. Local and international NGOs, members of the National Olympic Committee, and others partners involved in the promotion of child rights also joined.
In his introductory remarks, Mr. Adjai stressed the significance of the CRC. He asserted that “It is time to put the children at the heart of the MDGs”. He hailed the fruitful partnership built around children as an important achievement that will be strengthened in the years to come. Mr.Adjai praised the considerable progress made in the fields of child survival, education, protection, and participation of children since Benin ratified the CRC in 1990. However, “much work lies ahead to realize all children’s rights” he observed.
In their performances, young singer Méola, the Choir of the Children of Benin, and young comedians/acrobats addressed such issues as discrimination, poverty, the hard life of street children, child trafficking and school dropping.
Through her lively tunes, Zeynab focused on ending violence against children. Several children spontaneously joined her on the stage to dance.
Togolese singer King Mensah carried the audience away with heartrending songs on children whose rights are denied in their family, school and community.
Another champion of the cause of children, King Mensah sang in Mina and Ewé - two local languages of Togo, and called for “urgent action in favor of the most vulnerable”. “Every child deserves to have a chance in life”, he insisted.
In a moving duet, Zeynab and King Mensah invited everyone to “respect the rights of the child”. The cheerful audience sang along, and gave them a standing ovation.
The ceremony also welcomed 72 girls who played in a football tournament especially organized for the CRC anniversary to promote gender equity through sport activities. They were heartily acclaimed, rewarded with prizes and, the captains of the winning teams received trophies.
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