Odisha celebrates commitment to child rights on World Children’s Day

Bhubaneswar: Odisha joins the world on 20 November to celebrate World Children’s Day, 30 years since the Convention on the Rights of the Child was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly.

As part of celebration of CRC@30, UNICEF supported Odisha Child rights alliance to facilitate a children led child rights situation analysis(CRSA) across the state. 11876, 6565 girls and 5311 boys participated from 273 villages and 19 wards covering 30 districts to express their opinions on what best can be done to help them realise their rights. Children will share their testimonies as defenders and champions of child rights in their communities and present the key findings from CRSA to Ministers Women and Child Development, Education, Minister of State, Home, ADG- CIB Crime UNICEF and CSO representatives at IDCOL Auditorium.

The KALLOLA Awards 2019, a short film contest on child rights of Nutrition – Every child’s right for a healthy life will be organized. A short film contest conducted annually by UNICEF in partnership with Department of WCD, GoO focuses on one issue that impacts or furthers the realization of rights of the child. The award giving ceremony will be attended by Ms. Nandita Das as Chief Guest, Ms. Archita Sahu, and Mr. Akash Das Nayak as ambassadors for right nutrition for children.

Speaking on the occasion, Ms. Monika Nielsen says it’s an important day for us in UNICEF; children will hold all stakeholders accountable and ask as to what we all can do for them?

Celebration of CRC@30 was not a onetime event for us in UNICEF but a yearlong celebration to reiterate the importance of child rights and recognition of the progressive realization of the rights of child. Theme of CRC@30 was integrated in Suravi – Annual Children’s Day festival organized from 14 November 2019 – 16th November by Department of Education with participation of 30000 children. Performances in the themes of ending child marriage, hygiene practices, shadow assembly on health education, mid-day meal are key high lights.

Theme of CRC@30 focused in ‘Muskurate Indradhanush’, international day for persons with disabilities will be observed on 3rd Dec enhancing participation and inclusion of children with special need in partnership with department of social security and empowerment of people with disability, Government of Odisha.

A Reading festival in Puri as post cyclone Fani response for children is planned with CRC@30 lens in December 2019 partnership with Bakul Foundation and district administration.

RAYAGADA district administration is celebrating world children with participation of 1200 children integrating themes of CRC @30 and SDG for an enabling sustainable environment.

Theme of CRC@30 layered in “Sargiful” 19th to 21st December 2019 – a state level children participation forum by SC&ST Development Department, Government Of Odisha. Workshop with children on puppetry, theatre, creative writing, posters, best of waste, wall painting, child reporter on CRC@30 has been planned. Over 160000 children statewide and thousands of parents and functionaries will participate in this week long event.

CSO partners have been oriented on CRC and principles on child rights so that they could use this information during their programmes and integrate child rights as an important component of programming. This was with an intention to ensure that we continue to give children the best potential to realise their rights. In some senses this requires to become a habit amongst all of us.

With this in mind, UNICEF Odisha has strongly and consistently advocated with all partners, both government and civil society partners to use give visibility to CrC in all programmes. Towards this we have had orientation of all programme partners including our media partners to discuss and deliberate about our programs and how they contribute towards realizing the rights of children. Our CSO partners; programmes in remote locales have meetings have references made to CrC and the mechanism in which programmes lead to realization of the rights of the child.

This year, World Children’s Day is particularly special since it marks 30 years since world leaders united around a common cause for children and adopted the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), an international agreement on childhood, that has helped transform children’s lives.

India ratified the CRC in 1992 committing to a range of measures and has made major strides in helping children realize their rights. For example:

• Fewer children under-five die as the national mortality rate fell from 117 per 1,000 live births in 1990 to 39 in 2016.
• More children have access to improved drinking water, rising from 62 per cent in 1992-1993 to 92 per cent in 2019.
• More girls go to primary school as attendance rates for girls 6-10 increased from 61 per cent in 1990 to near universal today

There have been many achievements and these achievements are proof that where there is political will, public support and collective determination, children’s lives improve. As we celebrate these major victories for children, we must also reflect that much remains to be done”.

Thirty years on, child rights have not changed, they have no expiry date. But childhood has changed. Children must also contend with new threats that have emerged as the world has undergone rapid environmental and technological changes. In 1989, there was no world wide web, climate change was not fully understood and there were fewer protracted conflicts displacing populations.

UNICEF works with government at all levels, civil society and communities as well as young people and children themselves to tackle the persistent challenges to children’s rights, especially among the poorest and most vulnerable. Millions of children still lack adequate healthcare, nutrition, education and protection from violence.

UNICEF is inviting everyone to show their support for child rights by taking a pledge to become aware and take small, yet significant, actions to help realize every right for every child including education, gender equality, access to sanitation and drinking water, ending child labour and ending child marriage, among others Across India people are signing up online to show their commitment to child rights.

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