Since the adoption of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) 25 years ago, many challenges remain. Child rights are still violated every day everywhere. On the occasion of the anniversary of the UNCRC, the International Children's Day is being marked, when Save the Children and its partner organisation in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia will implement series of activities aimed at drawing attention to the obligations deriving from the Convention for the signatory states.
In Bosnia and Herzegovina, activities are led by the network of child rights based non-governmental organisations “Stronger voice for children”, which addressed a letter to the relevant institutions demanding faster process of signing and ratification of the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on a communications procedure. The Network calls on authorities to allow children to have available mechanism with which they can seek justice at the international level when they feel that state mechanisms didn’t adequately respond to their complaints. In order for children to have this opportunity, it is necessary that their country is signatory of the UNCRC and this Protocol.
In addition, representatives of child-led groups active within the network addressed a letter to the BiH Council of Ministers in which they stress that adoption of the Optional Protocol would enable better protection and safety of children in BiH, as well as contribute to country’s progress towards to EU, have impact on reducing the number of cases of violence against children and enable better implementation of the UNCRC.
“We appeal to you, as you are the only one that can help us in this. Since you keep saying that we (children) are the future, try to see us as the present as well,“ said representatives of the child-led groups in this address.
In Serbia, Save the Children was invited to participate in the Public Hearing “25 years of ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child – resolving the issue of street involved children”, held in the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia. Save the Children, as an important actor in addressing and promoting the rights of this specific group of children, presented its work and key steps forward in dealing with this issue.
„Child begging is a complex phenomena which is often a form of exploitation of children, but also, we must not forget that it is often a survival strategy for the children. One thing that everybody agrees on is that, no matter its causes and reasons, this must not be phenomena before which we close our eyes. Also, it is evident that, besides all the efforts invested by various actors, there are many shortcomings and obstacles in dealing with and prevention of children being involved in begging,“ stated in her address to the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia Save the Children Director Andrea Zeravcic. She added that future focus needs to be on determining the true causes of street involvement of children and optimization of preventive measures. Also, position of this group of children and existing resources demand provision of services for the children at the local level.
Save the Children marks the anniversary all over the world with slogan “See my rights through my eyes“.