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Vietnam celebrates 30 years of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child

Wednesday, November 13, 2019, 14:50 GMT+7
Vietnam celebrates 30 years of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child
Children study at a school in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, in this file photo taken in 1994. Photo: UNICEF Vietnam

Celebratory activities are set to take place in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City on the weekend to mark the 30th anniversary of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), against the context that Vietnam has improved the lives of millions of children over the past three decades, UNICEF Vietnam and the Vietnamese Ministry of Labor, War Invalids, and Social Affairs (MOLISA) said in a press release on Tuesday.

Thirty years ago, in 1989, world leaders made a historic commitment to the world’s children by adopting CRC – an international treaty on childhood.

Adopted by 196 nations, the convention is the most widely ratified human rights treaty in history.

Vietnam was the first country in Asia and the second in the world to ratify the CRC in 1990.

On the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the CRC, celebratory activities are being carried out in both Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City by the government, UNICEF, and development and corporate partners to review the progress, identify the challenges, and renew commitments to fulfil all the rights for every child.

In Hanoi, celebration will take place in Hoan Kiem Lake on November 16-17, including a celebration ceremony, a photo exhibition with the theme 'Lighting up the Smiles of Vietnam,' the inauguration of a child-friendly CRC library, and various entertainment activities engaging children and young people.

Pedestrians will also have a chance to witness the iconic Pen Tower (Thap But) and The Huc Bridge lighting up in blue symbolizing the hope and opportunities that every child should enjoy.

A National Solution Summit will also be convened at the United Nations International School Hanoi at the same time, where children from select provinces will discuss and develop solutions to the issues that they are facing.

In Ho Chi Minh City, the Landmark 81, Vietnam’s tallest building, will be lit up with smiles to celebrate 30 years of the CRC.

Children and their families are invited to join the celebrations, to inspire hope and opportunity for every child.

The CRC is based on a profound idea: children are not just objects belonging to their parents or small adults in training. Rather, they are human beings with their own rights.

The convention says childhood is separate from adulthood, and lasts until 18; it is a special, protected time, in which children must be allowed to grow, learn, play, develop and flourish with dignity. 

Children pump water at a school in Long An Province, southern Vietnam, in this file photo taken in 1993. Photo: UNICEF

Children pump water at a school in Long An Province, southern Vietnam, in this file photo taken in 1993. Photo: UNICEF Vietnam

The CRC requires that all children – without discrimination in any form – benefit from social services and protection measures, grow up in safe, clean, supportive and caring environments and can have their voices heard and participate in their societies.

“Over the past three decades, Vietnam’s strong political commitment and leadership on child rights have led to improvements in the lives of millions of children in the country,” according to the press release.

“More children are benefiting from a protective legal framework, more children are surviving at birth with access to quality health care, more children are learning knowledge and skills for the future starting from pre-school, and more children are benefiting from social welfare policies.”

Thirty years on, the rights set out in the CRC remain acutely relevant.

Despite remarkable progress, in too many countries children and their childhood are under threat.

The world is seeing more children exposed to conflict; separated from their parents; or challenged to do things differently by emerging areas such as the rise of digital technology, environmental change, urbanization, or migration.

The convention calls for progressive realization of children’s rights, and that means globally and here in Vietnam, actions are needed to realize the Sustainable Development Goals for children, to enhance the protection of children from abuse, and to ensure threats to children’s rights are addressed effectively.

Looking to the future, addressing the challenge of human capital development must start with a focus on children – on investing in quality services that protect and give children the strongest health, nutrition, education and protection possible.

Economists point to this investment as having the greatest rate of return for economic growth, for peace and development of societies in the future.

“We therefore must commit to urgent, concrete action to protect and promote the rights of every child in Vietnam, now, and in future generations,” the press release reads.

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Viet Toan / Tuoi Tre News

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