UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.

For more information, please visit: http://www.unicef.org/
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Posts tagged "human rights"

All people, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity, are born free and equal in dignity and rights. ‪#‎LGBT‬ rights are human rights.

Check out United Nations Human Rights’ Free & Equal, which launches today: https://www.unfe.org/en

Today, we launch a new report about female genital mutilation/cutting that looks at data from 29 countries over the past 20 years. Our main finding? Overall, support for the practice is declining - even in countries where FGM/C is widespread, such as Egypt and Sudan.

But there is still work to be done! In a few countries, the proportion of girls and women who want FGM/C to continue has remained constant.

Learn more:
Video: http://youtu.be/Pjy8jRRGHcU
Story: http://www.unicef.org/protection/57929_69881.html
Document: http://www.scribd.com/doc/155341977/Female-Genital-Mutilation-Cutting-A-statistical-overview-and-exploration-of-the-dynamics-of-change

Eveny* (age 17) was raped one Sunday afternoon by the son of her church’s pastor; he then threatened to kill her if she told anyone. Frightened, Eveny remained silent. But neighbours soon alerted her parents, who accompanied Eveny to the police to report the incident. She is now receiving counselling and other support from a local shelter, although its distance from her home makes frequent attendance difficult.

Eveny lives in Guatemala.

* Name changed

© UNICEF/Susan Markisz

To see more: http://www.unicef.org/photography

Children of Syria: Witnessing Pockets of Hope in the Midst of Turmoil
By Mark Choonoo - Emergency Specialist, UNICEF Middle East and North Africa

The following op-ed was published in the Huffington Post on 7 February 2013.

I have just completed a mission to Homs where I stayed for one month as part of a mission to assess the humanitarian situation in the governorate, review our programmes and to strengthen and build our relationship with local partners.

Almost one in three persons in Homs is a displaced person, our partners on the ground tell us, and according to them, two thirds of the displaced population are children. Explosions, the sound of shells landing and the crack of gunfire are all part of the day-to-day life here.

Less than a kilometre from the hotel where I was staying, fighting raged on with a ferocity that shakes the city. Even after 20 years of doing this type of work in some very dangerous areas of the world, every explosion still made me worry. Amid this, we as a humanitarian team had to keep focused on how to improve the lives of those affected by this two-year long crisis.

I walked around to see how children in Homs are living. In a convent that works with children, situated at the end of a line of fully standing buildings and right before the destruction and rubble begins, I was amazed to find children reading books, listening to teachers, drawing pictures and playing games. The drawings on the walls spoke of smiling faces, waving hands, laughter and messages about the need to forgive. A total contrast to the rubble outside that represents so many battered lives.

I also went to what is called the “towers” which are unfinished blocks of apartments turned into collective shelters for displaced families. There, I met a 14-year-old girl and her younger brother who have literally opened a classroom on their own for themselves and their peers. The two siblings, whose schooling was disrupted because of the conflict, have transformed their shelter into a learning space where children come to study text books together.

The common message I got from parents and all education practitioners I met was the need to make sure that children can continue their schooling. A significant part of the education infrastructure in Homs has been severely affected by the conflict, with many schools either damaged, or turned into shelters for displaced families.

Naturally, this is putting enormous pressure on classrooms that are still functioning and on teachers who are challenged to do more than their best to teach double and triple the size of their normal class.

Unicef is working with partners to provide remedial learning programmes to help more children continue their education. About 6,500 children benefited from this programme in Homs so far and we are working to reach more children in the coming weeks. We will also soon be providing formal schools in Homs with essential school supplies to allow more children to enrol and improve the quality of education.

In Homs, I saw and heard about much suffering and desperation, but I also encountered amazing stories of people who, in the midst of all this, are doing everything they can to cope with their circumstances and create pockets of hope in a world of chaos.

Our partner in Talbiseh town, in Homs Governorate, told us how women are coping with the shortage of clothes, in this harsh winter, by turning blankets donated to them into clothes.

We are providing winter supplies and non-food items for affected families, including packages of children’s winter clothes. Unfortunately, because of the ever growing scale of the crisis, there’s not enough to go around for every child.

Our partner in Talbiseh described how they will unpack the content of the boxes of children’s clothes that they receive from Unicef and distribute to mothers and children piece by piece, according to the need. “So for instance, we will give shoes to a child who needs them and give pyjamas to another child who has shoes but no clothes.”

During the last two weeks, Unicef relief supplies — which include family hygiene kits, blankets, quilts, food kits and high-energy biscuits for children — reached more than 67,200 people in Homs.

I cannot imagine the fear a little child experiences with each shattering blast that rocks the city. Most children I saw were showing some signs of distress. This is why it is extremely important that we set up child friendly spaces and provide psychosocial support for as many children as possible.

We met with some local organisations working on psychosocial projects to discuss how we can work together. They are groups of energetic young people who have never imagined that one day they would need to do such work in their own city. Given my experience as a counsellor, I was asked to help them set up a focus group of practitioners to help address the problem.

If we had more resources, and strong partnerships, there is so much more that we could do. I realize more and more the fear that has crept into communities, and into children’s lives. Our work in the area of psychosocial support will be extremely important to make sure that children can regain connection with their childhood, and grow up to become healthy members of their society.

Follow Mark Choonoo on Twitter: www.twitter.com/UNICEFmena

Photo caption: Children engage in fun activities in one of the UNICEF-supported recreational facilities in Homs.
Photo credit: UNICEF/Syria2013/Mouaz Mahfouz

PHOTO OF THE WEEK: 22 January 2013

A girl passes a wall that reads: “God loves children who say their ‘namaz’ [prayers].” She is on her way to her kindergarten, in the village of Bahl, Hormozgan Province. Article 14 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child guarantees every child’s right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion. UNICEF works worldwide to realize the fulfilment of all children’s rights.

Iran, 2011 ©UNICEF/Arfa

To see more: www.unicef.org/photography

Musician Emmanuel Jal on his music, his work as a peace activist and South Sudan

Join UNICEF podcast moderator Femi Oke speaks as she speaks with Emmanuel Jal about his music, his work as a peace activist, South Sudan and the need for education.

To hear more radio programs from UNICEF, please visit: https://soundcloud.com/unicef

For more information about UNICEF, visit: http://www.unicef.org/

PHOTO OF THE WEEK: 7 November 2012

Children on the island of Mindanao, Philippines.

Play is an essential and fun part of child development. It promotes healthy activity and exercise, fosters social skills and improves critical thinking. It is also a basic right – recognized in Article 31 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the world’s most endorsed human rights treaty.

UNICEF works worldwide to protect these rights for all children, including the most marginalized.

©UNICEF/Giacomo Pirozzi

To see more: www.unicef.org/photography

PHOTO OF THE WEEK: 6 September 2012

 A girl at a camp for migrant workers, in Adana Province, Turkey.

Today there are an estimated 214 million migrants worldwide, including workers who travel in search of greater income-earning opportunities. But, frequent mobility poses unique challenges to migrant children, who may face limited access to education or need to work to help support their families. UNICEF works globally to enable all children – including the most marginalized – to realize their rights.

©UNICEF/Roger LeMoyne

To see more: www.unicef.org/photography

A woman chops wood to sell for food on a hillside already affected by soil erosion, in the village of Chipumi, Malawi. The area is suffering from growing deforestation as people chop down trees for fuel and to make room for agriculture. Because of droughts and flooding, many Malawians were unable to buy seeds to grow their own food crops.

© UNICEF/NYHQ2002-0260/Ami Vitale


VIDEO REPORT: In Tanzania, engaging approaches to primary school improves learning

In 2009, the Government of Tanzania, with technical and financial support from UNICEF, launched a strategy for improving teaching in primary schools. The strategy challenged the traditional ‘chalk and talk’ teaching methods and encouraged a more interactive and participatory learning approach. Since then, thousands of children in Tanzania have benefitted from this new style of teaching, which has increased confidence, self-esteem, curiosity and enjoyment in the classroom. The benefits have been evident across the board – students are more engaged and teachers’ morale has received a boost.

Learn more: http://uni.cf/LbRtQL