SUVA, FIJI – Children in the Pacific region on Saturday join millions more around the world to celebrate World Children’s Day, together with government ministries, schools, and communities, as part of UNICEF’s global day of action for children, by children.
“I am happy to be one of the children in the world to stand up for our rights. Not every child gets the chance to have a childhood with all the things they need, like to feel safe, to have enough food and to be able to go to school,” said Teanna Kei Asher, 10, from the Federated States of Micronesia. “You need to see us, you need to hear us, and you need to include us.”
The anniversary of the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, World Children’s Day highlights critical issues affecting children’s lives and supports the engagement of children and young people as advocates for their own rights.
This year, World Children’s Day once again takes place during the global pandemic, but this time with a glimpse of hope. In the year that we commemorate UNICEF’s 75th anniversary, UNICEF has been on the front-line delivering vaccines and is advocating for children to be prioritised in pandemic recovery plans. To date, UNICEF has delivered more than 500 million COVID-19 vaccines through the COVAX Facility to countries around the world.
“World Children’s Day is more than a day to celebrate children everywhere. It is an ongoing commitment to ensure all children are able live in a safe and protected world where they are able to freely access and express their rights,” said UNICEF Pacific Representative, Jonathan Veitch. “The current global pandemic does put a strain on these child rights. Many children are still not able to access education in classrooms, they are feeling stressed and under pressure. This is where we need to put more work and effort in partnership with governments, communities and families to ensure that children remain their top-most priority.”
Across the Pacific Islands, there are several actions taking place from Saturday and into the following weeks:
In Fiji, we join thousands of students in Years 12 and 13 as they celebrate the return to school. After more than half a year of learning at home, not being able to interact with their friends and accessing the much-needed resources and support coming from a school environment, these children are now able to enter their school classrooms and fully access their right to education.
In the Federated States of Micronesia, children will be taking to social media to advocate on the importance of valuing child rights as well as ‘going blue’ for World Children’s Day. There will also be a launch of the Presidential National Advisory Council for Children.
In Solomon Islands, children are taking over on advocating on key issues including nutrition, mental health and education. They will be asking UNICEF about how we can all ensure that children are able to grow and live to their full potential.
In Vanuatu, children and youth will be invited to participate in a challenge to draw and write about a better world they want for ni-Vanuatu children as the country is on the path to enacting a Child Protection Act.
In Kiribati, a U-Report Pulse Survey will be launched on COVID-19 topic areas highlighting education, social protection and child protection. U-Report is a social messaging tool and data collection system developed by UNICEF to improve citizen engagement, inform leaders, and foster positive change.
UNICEF has been an unstoppable force for change in the lives of children around the world for 75 years, working tirelessly for child rights and for the well-being of every child, whoever they are and wherever they live.