Nigerian children still not accessing health, nutrition, education as they should- UNICEF

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By Chika Onyesi

The United Nations Children’s Fund has launched a campaign to draw awareness to children’s rights by the Nigerian society

The organisation is unveiling a new initiative, tagged “Passport to Your Rights” – a pocket sized format of the Child Rights Convention, in a child-friendly language.

The global children’s charity says the campaign, being launched on Nigeria’s Children’s Day, comes at a crucial moment for child rights in the country, and for child rights globally.

The charity says despite efforts, Nigerian children are still not accessing health, nutrition, education and other rights to the extent that they should and must access.

“While there have been many advances over the last years, children in Nigeria are still not accessing health, nutrition, education and other rights to the extent that they must,”

According to UNICEF’s new Country Representative in Nigeria, Peter Hawkins, ‘‘it is the most disadvantaged children who are suffering the greatest challenge in having their rights fulfilled.”

Nigerian Children’s Day 2019 falls during the 30th anniversary of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), which is being commemorated this year around the world.

Having unveiled the ‘‘Pass to rights ‘’document for children, the UNICEF says it is working to see that every child in Nigeria owns a copy by the year 2030, incidentally, on a date that coincides with the deadline for the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals.

The organization says it has made the CRC ‘passport’ available in Hausa, Igbo, Yoruba and Pidgin languages, to help ensure access by millions of Nigerian children.

The child rights convention, established 30 years ago, was the brainchild of world leaders in efforts to ensure the protection of children and a better future for the world.

According to UNICEF Nigeria boss, Peter Hawkins, childhood a period separate from adulthood – a time in which children should grow, learn, play, develop and flourish,” said Peter Hawkins.

“Thirty years ago, something incredible happened. World leaders came together in a moment of unity for the world’s children. They made a promise to every child to protect and fulfil their rights, by adopting the UN’s Convention on the Rights of the Child’’. Peter Hawkins says

He says it is the hope of UNICEF that every Nigerian child has that kind of a childhood

The Child Rights Convention went on to become the most widely-ratified human rights treaty in history, with Nigeria ratifying it in 1991.

It has helped to transform children’s lives; inspiring legislative changes to protect children and enabling them to participate actively in their societies.

“Today, more children than ever live healthy lives; are learning in school and have a voice in their communities. But much more needs to be done as children’s rights continue to be unfulfilled and threatened daily around the world and in Nigeria.

There are still too many children being left behind, and too many childhoods cut short by violence, conflict, poverty and inequality,” said Peter Hawkins.

The children’s charity has called on Nigerians as it marks its Children’s Day, to look ahead to the future of childhood in Nigeria, and re-commit to urgent, specific actions to protect the rights of every child – now, and in future generations.”

“Child rights will only be fully realized when every government and every citizen is aware of and upholds children’s rights, and every child can claim those rights. It is for this reason that we are launching a campaign ‘For every child, every right’ and will work closely with the government to ensure that all Nigerians are aware of the rights that all children have. This includes in particular children themselves.” said Peter Hawkins.

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