Posted by: APO | 16 June 2008

Sudan / On the day of African child, UNICEF in Sudan calls for children to be heard and better protected

Sudan / On the day of African child, UNICEF in Sudan calls for children to be heard and better protected

 

KARTHOUM, Sudan, June 16, 2008/African Press Organization (APO)/ — As countries across Africa commemorate the Day of the African Child today, UNICEF in Sudan is calling for renewed efforts to listen to the voices of children, and for more measures to protect them from harm.

 

“Every year, the Day of the African Child reminds adults of the importance to include children in the planning and decision making processes in Sudan,” said UNICEF Representative Ted Chaiban. “With an estimated 20 million Sudanese under the age of 18 – half of the population – it is vital that the views and aspirations of this generation form a central pillar in the recovery and development of Sudan, and that these children can live in an environment free of fear.”

 

In events staged across the country, focus is being placed on the need to put key child rights at the heart of the social and development agenda. In Southern Sudan, where the theme for this year’s Day of the African Child is ‘Children should be seen and heard”, public events already undertaken have included songs and drama presentations by street working children highlighting their views on life in Southern Sudan, school debates on children’s issues, and child journalists interviewing key government officials including the President of the Government of Southern Sudan, and the Ministers of Legal Affairs, Education, Gender, Social Welfare and Religious Studies.

 

Meanwhile, events in the northern states of Sudan are drawing attention to the ongoing threat of recruitment of children into armed forces and groups. In Kadugli, thousands of children are expected to attend a mass carnival, during which they will call for an end to recruitment of children into armed groups and protection of children from the consequences of conflict. The culmination of an ongoing sports tournament in Kadugli will also be staged in the town’s stadium, at which similar messages will be conveyed. In the evening, a theatre show is being held to promote the value of peace.

 

UNICEF estimates that there are still some 8,000 children associated with armed forces and groups across Sudan, the majority in Darfur. Since the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement in 2005, the Government of National Unity, the Government of Southern Sudan and some armed groups have committed to a programme of disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of such children – in 2007, more than 1,400 children were identified and several hundred supported into a programme of community reintegration, building on similar successes in earlier years.

 

 

Forthcoming key events for the media

 

Khartoum

18 June, 10.00 a.m: drawing workshop for children, and briefing on issue of children and armed conflict, Youth and Children’s Palace, Omdurman.

19 June, 08.30 a.m: children’s carnival, Nile Road by People’s Parks through Omdurman Bridge leading to the Youth and Children’s Palace, Omdurman.

19 June, 10.30 a.m: Official celebration, Youth and Children’s Palace, Omdurman.

 

 

Note for editors

 

The Day of the African Child marks the occasion in 1976 when children in Soweto in South Africa spoke out against the inferior quality of their education and demanded their right to be taught in their own language. Sadly, their complaints were met with a violent response, resulting in the deaths of hundreds of people and the injury of more than 1,000. The Day was established in memory of their sacrifice, and to provide an opportunity to draw the world’s attention every year to continued neglect of children’s rights in Africa.

 

SOURCE : United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF)


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