Children and young people in Lebanon share their concerns and recommendations for a brighter future

UNICEF urges recommitment to the Convention on the Rights of the Child to ensure that every child has full access to every right

Beirut, 19 November 2019The World Children’s Day (WCD) will mark tomorrow, 20 November, the thirtieth anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC). In this global day of action ‘for children, by children’ UNICEF Lebanon is echoing the voice of children and young people who have expressed their concerns and recommendations for the fulfilment of their rights and to contribute to the future of their country. UNICEF advocates to global and local actors to recommit to the Convention and the interrelated Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), by stepping up efforts to ensure that the rights of every child are realized.

Starting June this year, UNICEF and partners organised activities across Lebanon, to raise awareness on child rights, including local summits with children and young people, to learn more about their concerns and their proposals to address the issues that they identified. 170 children between the ages of 10 and 18 participated in these consultations, agreed on joint recommendations aimed at providing solutions and presented their conclusions to several Governorates.

Many issues were pointed by the children in these summits, from education, poverty, violence in schools and at home, bullying, discrimination, nutrition, pollution, mental health and no proper access to services like water. But also, a lot of solutions were proposed: creation of safe spaces, banning child labour and child marriage, ensuring food safety, providing free treatment and medicine, providing rehabilitation services for drug addicts, updating the school’s curriculums with integrated technologies, encouraging self-confidence in schools away from physical or psychological punishment and providing clean water at home. Learn more about the issues raised by children and their recommendations here.

In addition, UNICEF partners have been consulting young people, including some who joined the demonstrations in October, with regards to their priorities and needs. According to these young people, their focus continues to remain on socio-economic concerns, especially regarding jobs and education. They believe that their participation will make a difference and their voice will be heard. They see themselves as active citizens contributing to the economic, social and political changes towards new horizons that meet the aspirations of their generation.

UNICEF Representative in Lebanon, Yukie Mokuo, remarked that “in times of economic crisis and changes affecting the country and its children, UNICEF is actively listening to the voice of children and young people, who are expressing their concerns for a brighter future. We will continue working to further their rights and bring in their aspirations”. “As the world is celebrating the 30th anniversary of the CRC, the rights to participation, protection and quality education are vital to support a generation of children building their country to become a better place to live and prosper”, she added.

The Convention on the Rights of the Child

Thirty years on, it is perhaps hard for many of us to imagine a world in which children’s rights were not acknowledged. Its guiding principles – non-discrimination; the best interests of the child; the right to life, survival and development; and the right of children to express their views freely and to be heard – have proven over and over to be relevant across decades, geographies, societies and contexts.

In 1990, Lebanon ratified the CRC and has exhibited commitment to improving the conditions of the children and protecting their well-being. Over the past thirty years, there have been undeniable achievements. However, despite the progress, many children are still facing relevant challenges to fulfil their rights, as also children and young people themselves have ratified in the consultations conducted by UNICEF and partners.  

To accelerate progress in advancing child rights, and to address stagnation and backsliding in some of these rights, UNICEF is calling in this World Children’s Day for every stakeholder to listen to the voices of children and recommit to the CRC by stepping up efforts to ensure that the rights of every child are realized. UNICEF calls partners around the world for strong data and evidence, scaling up proven solutions and interventions, expanding resources, involving young people in co-creating solutions, and applying the principles of equity and gender equality in programming.

“The Convention stands at a crossroads between its illustrious past and its future potential. It is up to us to recommit, take decisive steps and hold ourselves accountable,” said Yukie Mokuo. “We should take our lead from young people who are speaking up and speaking out for their rights as never before, we must act now – boldly and creatively.”

About UNICEF

UNICEF works in some of the world’s toughest places, to reach the world’s most disadvantaged children. Across more than 190 countries and territories, we work for every child, everywhere, to build a better world for everyone. For more information about UNICEF and our work in Lebanon visit https://www.unicef.org/lebanon/

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