Jahangir Alam Sarker
Will the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) remain only a document? Bangladesh is bound to the world community to implement and build a useful world for the children. A lot of attention had been paid to satisfying the special needs and the wellbeing of the children throughout the last century from the social and political points of view.
An historical and farsighted international charter on the working plan for the children was framed in the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in 2000. But, although the member states consented to that plan, it remains a paper document for want of proper implementation.
At the opening ceremony of a special sitting of (UNGA) on May 8, 2000, Miss Andre Cheninti, representing Bolivian children, said: “We are children of the world, we are victim of exploitation and oppression, we live on the streets, we are war children. We are victim of HIV/AIDS and we lost our parents on account of HIV/AIDS. We are being deprived of developed healthcare. We are victims of political, economic, religion and environmental inequality. We are those children to whom none adheres to but today the time has come to think of us. We want a suitable world for children because a suitable world for children will be suitable for all.”
Miss Carol Belami, Executive Director of the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef), said: “After the promises, it is now time to take steps to implement them because the future of mankind depends on the children.” But implementation is still very slow.
Much less money is spent on looking after the interests of children in comparison to the large amount spent on arms by the developed states. In order to build up a suitable world for the children laws will have to be enacted to prevent exploitation and oppression by family and the society.
Live saving medicine and medical facilities have to be provided for all children. Steps to eradicate HIV/AIDS have to be taken. It is our duty to build a healthy and natural environment for the development of children. Along with a healthy life, education must also be ensured for children. The entire world will be suitable to live in for everybody if the rights of the children are established. We shall all have to cooperate in planning, implementing and evaluating the issues involving the interests of children.
The promises which were made in the world children’s session have not been fulfilled at the national and international levels as yet. There are manifest problems all over the world, which hinder upholding of children’s rights. More than 10 crore children, of which 60% are girls, cannot go to primary school. Almost 15 crore children in Third World countries suffer from various diseases. It is necessary to give priority to the rights of children in all initiatives of development. Time has come for the leaders of all the political parties to come to unanimity on one topic, and that is to consider the priority of children.
We have to promise to free children from the clutches of poverty. The most practical way to wipe out children’s poverty is through investment and implementation of their rights.
The government of Bangladesh has promised to participate with every member state in the struggle for establishing the rights of children. A decade has passed, yet no tangible change has taken place. All the promises made remain paper-bound in the UN Headquarter.
Writer: Lawyer and Human Rights Activist.