Marking the International Day of Children’s Right

“Only one day is not enough” is the slogan of the EU funded campaign, implemented by the Association VESTA Tuzla, on the occasion of 19 November, the World Day for Prevention of Child Abuse and 20 November, International Children’s Rights Day.

The campaign was also supported by the non-governmental organisations: “Zdravo da ste” from Banja Luka, Foundation for Creative Development from Sarajevo, the Association “Kult” from Sarajevo, “CARE Netherland” from Sarajevo and “Save the Children UK”. The objectives and activities of the campaign were presented at the press conference which took place on 19 November 2009 at the premises of the European Commission Delegation to BiH in Sarajevo.

“This campaign was aimed at raising awareness among the general public and all relevant institutions and organisations about the state of play in the area of children’s rights in BiH and the necessity to establish the appropriate mechanisms for protecting the children» - stated Marijana Ivanović from Association “Vesta” at the begining of the press conference and informed the participants that the activists from the NGOs participating in the campaign have distributed to the parliamentary representatives the campaign pamphlets with the following text “Children do not need pity but an efficient, expert and timely protection, organised in the framework of an efficient state system”.

This was the quote from the joint statement prepared by the NGOs given by Ms Amra Selesković, Director of the Association Vesta.

«According to the information provided by the NGOs dealing with the rights of children, in the past few years there was an increase of the juvenile delinquency, narcotics users, physical and sexual abuse of children in Bosnia and Herzegovina, which ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Children. Bearing in mind that Bosnia and Herzegovina has a very complex structure and is faced with numerous transition difficulties, the commitment to the rights of the children is on the margins of the decision makers. Therefore the NGOs give the following recommendations for the following actions to be taken by the BiH national authorities:

- to recognise clear objectives deriving from the signed international protocol and its enforcement;

- to implement the undertaken obligations related to the establishment and functioning of the child protection institutions;

- to prevent discrimination and segregation of the children in education, health protection and other areas;

- to provide an adequate budget for the compulsory forms of children protection;

- to reinstate all the institutions foreseen to deal with children and respect of their rights; and

- to focus their activities towards the building of peace and promotion of security in BiH as a precondition for the full respect of all children’s rights»

- stated Ms Selesković and emphasised that: «The children are the most vulnerable group that require protection and that the mankind owes the best it can provide to the children».

Ms Erna Ribar, representative from UNICEF BiH supported the foreseen activities and stated that a lot has been achieved in BiH when it comes to the protection of children but that there were still a lot of problems in the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

«The NGOs request from BiH institutions to make the necessary steps. We believe that the responsibility for the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child lies with all those with moral and legal obligation to implement it. Therefore we hope that all relevant institutions, from state to the municipality level, will do all that is possible to improve the current situation, as one of the components of the Convention is a broad partnership in the fight for children’s rights, a partnership between the NGOs, state institutions and international organisations ” – stated Ms Ribar. She informed the participants that the current key issue for UNICEF was the fight against child poverty.

«Not only in the economic context, where the data show that 4% of children live below the line, while 18% of children lives on the poverty line, but also in relation to other rights being deprived, , such as the right to healthy food, right to health protection, normal living conditions etc.

Ms Aleksandra Babić – Golubović, representative from the “Save the Children UK”, emphasised that their campaign was aimed at the fight against the child abuse and announced that, as a part of the campaign, the children will visit the ministers of education and social protection in Mostar and Banja Luka.

«The children will nock on the ministers’ doors tomorrow and tell them what they think how the children can be protected from the abuse. These children have implemented a number of projects and analysis in their schools and concluded that 80% of primary school children were directly exposed or witnessed an act of violence”- stated Ms Babić – Golubović.

«Children are abused not only by adults but also by other children of the same age, and our current priority is the delinquency of children of the same age.” – stated Ms Nada Metilović from the Association “Zdravo da ste”. However, in order to show that not everything was so black, Ms Metilović gave an example that “the children today are much more aware of their rights but also more aware of the possibilities to report it ”.

Mr Adis Gusto, representative from the NGO “Kult” informed the participants that they are preparing a draft Law on Youth in order for youth to be educated to fight for their rights. Mr Jasenko Osmanagić from the Foundation for Creative Development emphasised that the inequality and the violence is present in the education system and that the education system in BiH is unequal and inaccessible to every child in an equal and same way.

After the press conference, the journalists participated in the distribution of flyers and yellow ribbons symbolising commitment to the prevention from child abuse as a global priority to the citizens of Sarajevo.