Members of the House of Assembly on Wednesday, November 20, 2019, joined millions of persons around the globe in observing World (Universal) Children’s Day. Minister of Social Services and Urban Development, the Hon. Frankie A. Campbell, told House Members that Wednesday’s observance provided an opportunity for children and adults to advocate for, promote and celebrate children’s rights across the globe. The day is also set aside to promote international togetherness, awareness among children worldwide and improving children’s welfare. “It is important for our children to be taught about their rights and their value to society. If our children know their rights are valued and they are treated with respect, they are more likely to see themselves in this light, and to treat others the same.”
World Children’s Day was first established in 1954 as Universal Children’s Day and is celebrated annually on November 20 in observance of the anniversary of the adoption by the United Nation’s General Assembly of the Declaration of the Rights of the Child in 1959, and the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1989. The Convention on the Rights of the Child sets out a number of children’s rights including the right to life, the right to health, the right to education and to play, as well as the right to family life, to be protected from violence, to not be discriminated, and to have their views heard. The convention was signed and ratified by more nations than any other human rights treaty, attesting to its global significance and the underlying universal values it upholds.
Minister Campbell said every year hundreds of children around the globe become victims of violence or face various forms of abuse, neglect, and exploitation. “Their ethnic background, religious affiliation, and social status do not protect children from suffering from the atrocities of war, poverty, discrimination and disease,” he said. The Social Services Minister applauded the collaborative efforts of the various departments and divisions that comprise the ministry, and the many government agencies and non-governmental organizations that collaborate on cross-sectoral efforts, and the National Child Protection Council (NCPC), their partners and stakeholders who are all working “to protect the children of The Bahamas.”
“I wish to express my deepest gratitude to all those who partner with the ministry and its departments to advocate on behalf of the children of The Bahamas; to those who provide solutions to the challenges faced by children, and also those who bring awareness to children of their rights to live in a friendly and safe world where they can reach their full potential. “Mr. Speaker, I wish to echo the sentiments expressed by United Nations Secretary-General, Mr. Antonio Guterres, in his message to commemorate this 30th anniversary, and I quote: ‘As we mark the 30th anniversary of this landmark Convention, I urge all countries to keep their promise to them (the children). Let’s build on advances and re-commit to putting children first. For every child, every right,’” Minister Campbell concluded.