UNICEF urges protection of children’s rights

The United Nations Children‘s Fund (UNICEF) has called for a commitment to strengthen protection mechanisms for all children in Nigeria.

UNICEF Country Director Peter Hawkins made the call on Thursday, in a statement on the occasion of this year’s Children’s Day celebration.

While commemorating Nigerian Children’s Day, he said it comes at a difficult time for children’s rights in the country and around the world, with the COVID-19 pandemic threatening development progress. children.

“It has been a difficult year for all of us with the COVID-19 pandemic – and most importantly, Nigerian children – and I would like to commend the efforts being made at all levels of Nigerian government and society to protect education services. , health and protection in response to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on children.

“As we rightly celebrate Nigerian children today, let us also remember that the COVID-19 crisis has been a child rights crisis – in Nigeria and around the world.

Poverty is on the rise, inequalities are on the rise and the pandemic has often disrupted essential services that ensure the health, education and protection of children and young people.

“The longer the pandemic lasts, the more intense the impact on women and children. On this Nigerian Children’s Day, let us all agree that we cannot let one crisis aggravate another.

“Violence is perpetrated against one in four Nigerian children – and one in three Nigerian girls are sexually abused. This has only increased during the pandemic.

“Now more than ever, we must commit to strengthening protection mechanisms for all children. But we also learned from this pandemic. One thing we have learned is that education doesn’t just happen in schools – children can and should learn both inside and outside of school,” he said.

Hawkins noted that a learning continuum is essential, so that all children continue to receive an education, regardless of their circumstances, location or the pandemic.

“Nigerian children are resilient, talented and aspire to do great things. And it is our responsibility to give them the platform and the encouragement to do so.

“We know that protecting children and investing in women and families is not just the right thing to do – it has proven to be a smart economic move and a cost-effective tool for national development.

“As we celebrate our children today, we must act in their best interests and deploy innovative solutions to accelerate learning and health services to build back better, for every Nigerian child,” he added. .

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