Jun 12, 2008, 5:29 AM
The Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) adopted on 20th November 1989 by the United Nation General Assembly represents a major milestone in the historic effort to achieve a world fit for children. As a binding treaty of international law, it codifies principles that Member States of the United Nations agreed to be universal - for all children, in all countries and cultures, at all times and without exception, simply through the fact of their being born into the human family.
The treaty has inspired changes in laws to better protect children, altered the way international organizations see their work for children, and supported an agenda to better protect children in situations of armed conflict.
According to the Chairperson Board of Director of Young People in the Media, The Gambia, Mrs. Fatou Camara Saidy, the 20th anniversary of the CRC reminds us, most of all, of what we have left to do. The Convention demands a revolution that places children at the heart of human development - not only because this offers a strong return on our investment (although it does) nor because the vulnerability of childhood calls upon our compassion (although it should), but rather for a more fundamental reason.
She added that whilst great progress has been made on child rights protection and promotion agenda in the past 20 years, much work still remain to be done. Over the years Gambia has done a lot in child right protection and promotion agenda this has been manifested in the increase level of young people actively participated in decision making process concerning their wellbeing, the children Act 2005, has also paved the way children and young people to be protected and participate active decision making process.
The seasoned veteran national newscaster added that the prosperity of our society tomorrow depends to a considerable degree on the situation of our children today.
"Children of poor families are amongst the hardest hit in times of economic crisis, and the lack of social protection measures will have lifelong consequences for them, and for the societies in which they live," she said.
The YPM Board Chairperson, maintained that now is the time to amplify the voices of the vulnerable and ensure that the world follows up on its pledges.
"With the right investments and concrete action, we can build upon the gains, fulfil our commitments, and ensure that every man, woman and child has the opportunity to make the most of their potential," she added.
Abdou Jatta, President of Young People in the Media, The Gambia said that the widely acceptance of the CRC can give the misleading impression that it is neither challenging nor new. Yet the very idea that children are the holders of rights is far from universally recognized. Too many children are considered to be the property of adults, and are subjected to various forms of abuse and exploitation. The recognition that children have a right to a say in decisions affecting them, articulated in Article 12, is not only disrespected on a regular basis; its very legitimacy is questioned by many, as we observe the 20th anniversary of the Child Rights Convention. The Spokesperson for Gambia noted that like all powerful ideas, the CRC reflects a demand for deep and profound change in the way the world treats its children. That the world fails to respect the rights of its children - even to deny that children have rights - is clear in the alarming numbers of children who die of preventable causes, who do not attend school or attend a school that cannot offer them a decent education, who are left abandoned when their parents succumb to AIDS, or who are subjected to violence, exploitation and abuse against which they are unable to protect themselves.
"We cannot claim that the Convention has achieved what needs to be achieved. Rather, it has provided all of us with an essential foundation to play our part in changing what needs to be changed," he said.
Background info on YPM Gambia
YOUNG PEOPLE IN THE MEDIA, in acronym YPM Gambia is a legal registered organization that aims to support and consolidate the efforts of young people working towards social justice, promoting the rights of the Child, grassroots democracy and peace. A joint project of children and young people. Young People in the Media is a non-political and non-profit umbrella organization, which was formed in early 2006, and officially launched by the Secretary of State for information, communication and Information technology and presided over by her Excellency the Vice President Dr. Aja Isatou Njie Saidy as part of activities making the International Children's Day of Broadcasting on the 9th Dec 2006 at the Sun beach Hotel, Cape Point, Bakau.