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PNHOM PENH, 20 November 2019 – The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) turns 30 today, and to celebrate this monumental occasion, key stakeholders came together in a massive event at The Factory warehouse in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. This event marked the launch of a three-month national, joint campaign on child rights by European Union, UNICEF, Save the Children, USAID and Child Rights Now. The campaign aims to accelerate progress towards fulfilling CRC and translating rights into realities for Cambodian children.
The CRC is an international legal framework that has played a critical role in improving the lives of children around the world The CRC is the world's most ratified human rights treaty. It aims to ensure every child has their rights to health, education, play, protection, social and political participation. It defines every human being below 18 years of age as a holder of human rights, while taking into account both the protection and empowerment necessary to make this notion a reality for every child.
Cambodia ratified CRC in October 15, 1992 and since then has made remarkable progress in improving children’s lives. Over 97 per cent of girls and boys are enrolled in primary school – more than ever before. The infant and under-five mortality rates have decreased by over 70 per cent and access to improved water sources has tripled since 1990.
But not every child gets to enjoy a full childhood and too many are still cut short. In Cambodia, malnutrition rates are among the highest in the region. Children aren’t achieving the standards of learning needed for their age groups. Protection issues are prevalent with one in four children reporting to have experienced some form of violence.
The 30th Anniversary of the CRC presents a unique opportunity to put children’s rights at the forefront of the national and development plans.
Dignitaries, including the EU Ambassador to Cambodia and from the ministries of Education, Ministry of Social Affairs, Veterans and Youth Rehabilitation, opened the event with remarks along with public addesses from major stakeholders, event sponsors and officials including UNICEF, Save the Children, and USAID.
“2019 marks the 30th anniversary of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), the most widely ratified human rights treaty. It represents a unique opportunity to speak about the children's rights as a consensus, as well as raise awareness that children's rights cannot be taken for granted. The European Union is joining forces with the Royal Government of Cambodia to celebrate the tremendous progress achieved in child rights and to reiterate the joint commitment for every child in Cambodia to develop to their full potential, a precondition for inclusive and sustainable development”, said Carmen Moreno, European Union Ambassador to Cambodia.
“UNICEF is proud to partner with the Royal Government of Cambodia to support progress towards the fulfillment of the rights of every Cambodian child. The CRC and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) go hand in hand. Children’s rights cannot be realized without the successful implementation of the SDGs and vice versa. Therefore, the Convention has never been more relevant than it is today in reaching those children who are so often disadvantaged, excluded, and marginalized”, said Cristian Munduate, UNICEF Representative in Cambodia.
“This special occasion gives us an opportunity to reflect on the significant achievements made in Cambodia over the past 30 years to protect the rights of children, and to create a better future for all people,” said Mrs. Elizabeth Pearce, Cambodia Country Director for Save the Children. “On this anniversary, Save the Children would like to reaffirm our strong commitment to upholding child rights in Cambodia through sustained collective efforts and supporting children’s holistic development. We applaud the strong collaboration across government ministries, development partners, non-governmental organizations and others to support the realization of children’s rights in Cambodia.”
The aptly named #everyright4everychild event, was action-packed with fun-filled activities for children and families. Running from 12 noon until 6pm, attendees enjoyed live music and performances by: MC DJ Nana, MC Sok Serey, Tiny Toones NGO, other partner NGOs and Phare Ponleu Selpak Circus.
Upon arrival, each child was presented with their very own kite, symboliziing hope, play and achievement. Throughout the event, they were able to cutomize their kite in the arts and crafts creation zone. Upon arrival, each child was presented with their very own kite, symboliziing hope, play and achievement. Throughout the event, they were able to cutomize their kite in the arts and crafts creation zone.
Children also participated in an array of exciting workshops, games and activities throughout the day including face painting, balloon twisting, magic tricks, puppetry, arts and crafts, kite flying, and fun circus skills workshops with Phare circus and dance workshops and dance battle competition with Tiny Toones Cambodia NGO. Children showcased their workshop skills in entertaining on-stage performances.