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TASHKENT, 6 November 2014 - Promoting the rights to play, education and development were important outcomes of close collaboration between UNICEF, the British Council and the National Library of the Republic of Uzbekistan, in organising two important education events in October 2014 – the ‘INFOLIB-2014’ national information library week, and the ‘Learning English Family Campaign’.
At the event’s conclusion on the 31st of October, UNICEF Representative in Uzbekistan Robert Fuderich underlined two key outcomes of these weeks. Firstly the programme has encouraged parents to have a better understanding of a child’s right to development, in particular through learning and play. Even more importantly, the campaign also makes sure children are aware of their rights, and are empowered to ensure they are met.
“It’s very important to us at UNICEF that this campaign has been aimed towards stimulating parents and caregivers in engaging children’s education and development, increasing awareness of the CRC among children and adults, and reinforcing their knowledge of the rights of the child,” Mr. Fuderich said at the closing ceremony. In his statements, Mr. Fuderich also emphasised the importance of the involvement of all children in ensuring their rights are protected.
“I would like to encourage all of us – parents and caregivers, service providers, and especially policy makers, in promoting the participation of children. We need to listen to all children, including the most vulnerable – children living with disabilities, HIV-positive boys and girls, children living in remote and isolated areas, and children living in institutions,” he added. “More than just listen, we need to take their opinions to heart and consider them seriously.”
Encouraging young people to share their ideas and perspectives was the focus of an interactive workshop attended by 37 children fr om Tashkent’s School #50 on the 29th of October, which focused on interpreting the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. At the workshop, children were encouraged to share their ideas about what child rights mean to them, and to discuss how they can make sure these rights are respected.
One workshop participant, 11-year-old student Valeriya, shared what she had learnt at the workshop with UNICEF staff – “Every child has rights – the right to education, to live in a family, and to make choices,” she said. “For example, I have the right to choose what I want to wear, and I also have a right to choose a school and to say wh ere I want to study.”
Valeriya’s classmate Feruza also talked about an important facet of the convention – children’s right to have a say in decisions that affect them. “I have a right to express my opinion,” Feruza said. “When my parents say something I can choose to say something different. I have a choice.”
These jointly-undertaken education programmes are a component of UNICEF Uzbekistan’s on-going work to draw attention and advocate for the Convention on the Rights of the Child. 2014 is an important year for the convention for two reasons – This year is both the 25th Anniversary of the convention, and it has been named ‘The Year of the Healthy Child’ in Uzbekistan. UNICEF Uzbekistan and its national and international partners have focused their efforts in making sure every parent and child understand the rights and their importance.