Universal Childrens Day

Date: 20 November 2014

In 1954, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution, recommending all countries to observe nationally, a universal children’s day dedicated to promoting the ideals and virtues symbolizing the protection of children and their rights in all countries. Following extensive efforts to formalize these ideals as universal values, the General Assembly on the 20th of November 1959 adopted the “Declaration of the Rights of the Child”, one of the founding documents that defined the universal nature of the rights of the child. Subsequently in 1989, the General Assembly adopted the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Today, we must acknowledge the important strides made since the Maldives acceded to the Convention in 1991. The Maldives has been successful in reducing infant mortality rates and improving access to education. It has also reiterated its international commitments to the Convention, by signing its two optional protocols. However, we note that too often children in the Maldives are still not able to enjoy the full rights afforded to them under international human rights law, and the accompanying standards and norms on the protection of the rights of children. Today, twenty-five years after the Convention on the Rights of the Child was embraced by the international community, significant steps still need to be taken nationally to ensure that our commitment to the protection the rights of the child are concrete. ARC hopes that the new draft bill on the Rights of the Child sitting before the People’s Majlis will include measures to address today’s challenges in realizing those basic rights enshrined in the Convention, and provide a much needed update to the current Child Rights Protection Act (9/1991). Legislation is particularly crucial to tackle the plight of the most vulnerable of our children. Furthermore, equal commitment from the Government, civil society, the judiciary and the general public to truly guarantee the rights of our children and to secure the prospects of future generations. On this important occasion, ARC would like to reinforce the message that the world has made a solemn vow to children when all countries, including the Maldives, embraced the Declaration of the Rights of the Child. It is a promise that we must do all in our power to promote the rights of children to survive and thrive, to learn and grow, to make their voices heard and to reach their full potential.

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