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Pakistan observes Universal Children’s Day today
11-20-2010, 01:10 PM
Post: #1
Pakistan observes Universal Children’s Day today
ISLAMABAD: The United Nations’ (UN) Universal Children’s Day, which was recommended by the UN general assembly on December 14, 1954, is being observed today (Saturday) in Pakistan to promote international fraternity and understanding among children across the world. UNICEF, the United Nations Children’s Fund, promotes and coordinates this special day. The logo of UNICEF comprises an image of a mother and child, a globe, olive branches and the word “UNICEF”. All parts of the logo are in UN’s blue color, although it may be presented in white on a blue background. Many educational institutions make a special effort to inform children of their rights according to the ‘Declaration of the Rights of the Child and the Convention on the Rights of the Child.’

According to a press release, teachers stimulate their pupils to think about the differences among themselves and others and explain the idea of “rights”. In countries where the rights of children are generally well respected, teachers may draw attention to situations in the countries where this is not the case. In some areas, UNICEF holds various events to draw attention of the masses to children’s rights. hese events are held to stimulate interest in the media around the world or to start nationwide campaigns, for instance on the importance of immunizations or breastfeeding.

Many countries, including Canada, New Zealand and the United Kingdom, hold Universal Children’s Day, on November 20 to mark the anniversaries of the ‘Declaration of the Rights of the Child and the Convention on the Rights of the Child.’ However, other countries observe the day on different dates. Australia observes it on the fourth Wednesday in October while India observes it on November 14. Universal Children’s Day is not observed in the United States, although it observes National Child’s Day on the first Sunday in June.

On December 14, 1954, the UN general assembly recommended that all the countries should introduce an annual event from 1956 known as Universal Children’s Day to encourage fraternity and understanding among the children all over the world and to promote the welfare of children. It was recommended that the countries should individually choose an appropriate date for this occasion.

Many of the countries respected this recommendation and the Universal Children’s Day has since been annually observed. On November 20, 1959, the UN general assembly adopted the ‘Declaration of the Rights of the Child’ and on November 20, 1989, it adopted the ‘Convention on the Rights of the Child.’ Since 1990, Universal Children’s Day also marks the anniversary of the date that the UN general assembly adopted both the declaration and the convention on children’s rights. Federal Minister for Social Welfare and Special Education Samina Khalid Ghurki said in her message on the occasion that the government would bring ‘National Child Protection Policy’ and ‘National Commission on the Rights of the Children Bill’ soon to make Pakistan a ‘Child Friendly Country’. “It is a matter of immense pleasure for me to note that Pakistan is observing the Universal Children’s Day on November 20 with the international community,” she said adding the observance of this day reminded the Pakistan’s commitment to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNHCR), ratified by Pakistan in 1990.”

“Now, we are commemorating the 20 years of its ratification. Pakistan is also signatory to the regional instruments like SAARC Convention on Regional Arrangements for the Promotion of Child Welfare in South Asia; and SAARC Convention on Preventing and Combating Trafficking in Women and Children for Prostitution”, the minister maintained. She said that Islam taught to safeguard child rights and ensure protection and welfare of children. The Holy Prophet Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH), the minister said, was the most affectionate caretaker of children as he raised the status of children in general and of the female children in particular. She said that the Prophet (PBUH) had declared that all children were innocent and people should adopt merciful and sympathetic attitude towards them. In light of the Islamic teachings, she said, the government was fully cognizant of its role in this regard.

She said that despite numbers of challenges faced by the country, the government has taken several steps for the well being of children which demonstrated the government’s strong political will and commitment towards welfare of the children. She observed that there was a realization that all the stakeholders must put their sincere efforts towards making the society tolerant and ensuring healthy growth and development of children. Samina Khalid Ghurki said this was a national duty to protect the interests of children and provide them with equal opportunities without any discrimination. “I hope that the relevant UN agencies, corporate sector, civil society organizations and media will play proactive role in supplementing government’s efforts to create a proactive environment for children”, she said.
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