“Children are the hands by which we take hold of heaven.” Henry Ward Beecher
“We were all children once. And we all share the desire for the well-being of our children, which has always been and will continue to be the most universally cherished aspiration of humankind.” We celebrate on the 20th of November Universal Children day. What is this year’s program? Is Lebanon following the rules of declarations and conventions related to children?
In 2012, the Secretary-General launched a new initiative called Education First. The Initiative aims to raise the political profile of education, strengthen the global movement to achieve quality education and generate additional and sufficient funding through sustained advocacy efforts. Achieving gains in education will have an impact on all the Millennium Development Goals, from lower child and maternal mortality, to better health, higher income and more environmentally-friendly societies.
The reality in Lebanon is horrifying, According to official numbers from the Social Affairs Ministry, 850 cases of child abuse – ranging from emotional abuse and neglect to physical and sexual violence – have been reported so far this year. Though Law Number 422/2002 of Lebanon’s penal code protects the rights of children, “it lacks the necessary mechanisms allowing for its implementation, particularly in terms of shelter and foster care,” lawyer Lara Dagher told us on today’s episode. “In reality there are not enough social workers and proper institutions that can handle cases of abuse victims,” she said.
Lebanon has signed the Convention on Children’s rights that sets out in 54 articles and two Optional Protocols. It spells out the basic human rights that children everywhere have: the right to survival; to develop to the fullest; to protection from harmful influences, abuse and exploitation; and to participate fully in family, cultural and social life. The four core principles of the Convention are non-discrimination; devotion to the best interests of the child; the right to life, survival and development; and respect for the views of the child. Every right spelled out in the Convention is inherent to the human dignity and harmonious development of every child. The Convention protects children’s rights by setting standards in health care; education; and legal, civil and social services.
As Ghandi once said, if we are to achieve a sense of peace in the world, and if we aspire to live war free, Children are our only hope. Let us then educated car and protect the most valuable asset humankind will ever have.
Helwi El Hayet
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