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Officials, civil society mark World Children’s Day

By Ana V. Ibáñez Prieto - Nov 20,2017 - Last updated at Nov 20,2017

Children and Jordanian pop stars sing songs about children’s rights at the World Children’s Day celebration in Amman on Monday (Photo by Ana V. Ibáñez Prieto)

AMMAN — UNICEF Jordan on Monday celebrated World Children’s Day in Amman, in partnership with the National Council for Family Affairs (NCFA) as a commemoration of the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) by the UN General Assembly on November 20, 1989. 

Hundreds of children from schools and Makani centres attended the event, along with several government officials, members of civil society, diplomatic corps, private sector representatives and the media. 

Seventeen influential personalities in Jordan took part in a “take over” event, where young girls and boys played the roles of officials to speak up on what they would do for children if they were to take over their office for a day. 

“I would like to start a ministry for childhood to respond to the needs of children in Jordan,” said 16- year-old Inoor Alawneh who “took over” the role of Prime Minister Hani Mulki.

UNICEF distributed the first Arabic simplified version of the Convention on the Rights of the Child to the attendees, with the aim of further enhancing awareness among children and caregivers. 

A comprehensive handbook for adults including the official CRC document and the Sustainable Development Goals in Arabic was also disseminated at the event. 

“We are here today to commemorate the day when governments got together in a room like this one to make sure that every child, regardless of his/her nationality, gender or religion, has the right to have an education, healthcare and participation in the national life,” said UNICEF representative Robert Jenkins at the event. 

“UNICEF would like to thank the Government of Jordan, including the NCFA, ministries and the civil society for their continued commitment and efforts towards children; and the support from our donors,” Jenkins continued, expressing his “happiness over organisations and people from all walks of life coming together with and for children”. 

“Therefore, while we celebrate these achievements with and for children, let us also make a commitment to strive stronger together towards ending violence, achieving universal kindergarten and inclusive quality education, providing adolescents with the right kind of skills, and empowering the most disadvantaged girls and boys in Jordan to access these services,” he added.

For his part, NCFA Secretary General Fadel Al Hmoud stressed that “while Jordan has achieved a lot for its children, efforts must continue, especially through stronger collaboration with all sectors,” adding that “the NCFA, chaired by Her Majesty Queen Rania, is deeply committed in its mandate for children and their protection through partnerships with the different governmental and non-governmental institutions, UNICEF and donors”.

Social Development Minister Hala Lattouf was also present at the event, where she thanked “UNICEF, the NFCA and every single person who contributed to the creation of the child-friendly Arabic version of the CRC”.

“As the Ministry of Social Development, it is our responsibility to provide every child with all the services they need, and, although we have made progress, we have a lot of work ahead,” the minister continued, noting that “we cannot keep on treating children the traditional way, and we shall listen to them and change the ways in which we work.”

The ceremony wrapped up with a performance by a choir comprised of children and Jordanian pop stars, who sang a song about children›s rights that said: “If you can’t see hope tomorrow, listen to my voice; I am a child, look at me, I am your hope, your peace. Take my hand in yours and comfort me.

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